Success is like an Iceberg

Have you ever wondered why people, even the people closest to you, only ask “How DID he/she do it?” after you’ve hit a memorable milestone? Have you ever wondered why, when your success story is still in progress, nobody comes to meet you to ask you, “How ARE you doing it?”

That’s because success is like an iceberg, people know that there is more than meets the eye, but they only care about the floating bit they can see. They care about your success and the results of your struggles, but not the struggles itself. They don’t see your tears, disappointments, sacrifices, focus, persistence to stay on course, habits, and numerous rejections; all they care about is that you made it.

Unfortunately, this is the reason why a lot of people, even after asking, will fail to emulate the process that successful people took. If they can’t see the process and how you managed to stay on course to achieve your goals, how will they be able to follow through with it?

This is what sets the successful people apart from everyone else – their focus and dedication to the process, not just the results. Every successful person knows that it will not be easy. They know that behind the curtains, you will have to work hard to ensure that the show goes on perfectly. While others remain fixed on the RESULT of the practice and preparation for the show, they remain focused on the PROCESS to create the best show.

Every successful person has had to go through a lot of hardships to get to where they are today. And because success is transient and subject to change, every successful person works extra hard to hold on to their status of success.

To be successful, you need to first learn to think and act like a successful person. That means you need to change your view and mindset about success from seeing only the results and paying attention to the process as well. Start looking for the things that other people are missing. Start seeing the things that other people will not see. Start doing the things that no one else will do. That is what makes a person successful. Check out my list of motivational quotes for success that will inspire you to succeed.

I love this image above because it is a perfect description of what I am saying. The floating part of an iceberg is only about 1/7 to 1/8 of the entire thing – that’s not powerful enough to cause a collision with a ship. The power rests in the remaining 6/7 to 7/8 part that is not visible to the eye. And that is where you should be focused on.

Let’s analyze each point on the image:


“There can be no progress, no achievement, without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices.” – James Allen.

Success involves you stepping out of your comfort zone. It involves letting go of some things, no matter how dare or irreplaceable they may be to you. It involves letting go of your pride, possessiveness for material things, and comfort to develop a “whatever it takes” mindset. It means giving up what no one else wants to in order to live the kind of life that everyone wants to. It means giving up the “good” opportunities to chase the “great” ones. It involves saying no to the things you WANT because you know they are not the things that you NEED.

“You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment you will ever make.” – Gordon B. Hinckley.

Having to make sacrifices is one of the hardest things you can do – after all, you are letting go of things that mean something to you (it wouldn’t be a sacrifice otherwise). But in the long run, it pays. What will appear to be a great loss on your part today, will eventually be the best investment you will make for your life.


“You have to learn to take rejection not as an indication of personal failing but as a wrong address.” – Ray Bradbury.

Successful people are not afraid of rejection. That’s another thing that sets them apart from others. They don’t let the fear of rejection weigh them down. As soon as they get a no, they pick themselves back up, dust themselves – after all, you only lose 100% of the shots you don’t take.

“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.” – Mark Amend

If you want to succeed, you have to learn how to turn off your attention from that one person booing at you in the crowd and focus on the voices cheering you on. You have to learn how to find motivation from your rejections. Did someone tell you no? Instead of moping around and dwelling on your “failure”, why don’t you show that person that their opinion of you is full of crap? Show them how wrong they were to write you off. That is how successful people do it – by making believers of their naysayers, not bowing down to rejection. Check out my Motivational quotes for work to find motivation in difficult situations.

Staying Healthy

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” – Herophilus.

Everybody’s goal for success in life is different, as we all interpret success differently. But what we should have in common, irrespective of who we are and how we interpret or define success, is the knowledge that a healthy body and sound mind is important to truly live a successful life.

 “The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you are not as healthy as you should be, it becomes hard to push on or get a sense of fulfillment from what you have achieved. This is why you need to develop the habit of eating right, exercising, and eliminating stress so that you live optimally. You will keep your wits about you, see opportunities that others are missing, and your art will manifest itself.

Sleepless Nights

“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing, and dream while others are wishing.” – William A. Ward

As I’ve said before, success does not come by being comfortable with your lot in life. It comes by daring to do what others are too afraid to do. And that includes burning both ends of the candle. People who know what they are looking for in reality and know that reality will be better than any dreams they can have di not waste time sleeping and dreaming up that reality when they could be working hard to bring it to actualization.

“Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.” – Winston Churchill.

Instead of living in your head, ruminating about things that could be, you could use that time to work on things that will be.

A lot of successful people have had to burn the midnight candle to get where they are today. That’s what sets them apart from others – staying awake to work hard for their success while others keep dreaming about it.

Good Habits

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle.

Successful people don’t get that way overnight. there is a process that begins with the development of good habits. Everything that you will be, everything that you are, everything that you hope to accomplish is determined by the sets of habits that you develop.

Growth mindset

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius.

Do you want to know how successful keep going no matter how many failures and rejections they get? It is because no matter what happens to them, they know it is not final. They know that as long as they don’t quit the race midway, they will cross the finish line. A growth mindset is about remembering that no matter how bad it looks, the situation is still salvageable.

Meeting Targets

“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” – Orison Swett Marden.

When you have defined targets, it helps you focus your attention on the things that are important. The spirit of success is setting targets for yourself and hitting them time and time again without fail.


“Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it.” – Albert Smith

The road to success can be a hard, lonely and painful one. You lose things that are valuable to you, you will sacrifice some. Nobody will begrudge you crying your pain and struggles away.


“One of the secrets of a successful life is to be able to hold all of our energies upon one point, to focus all of the scattered rays of the mind upon one place or thing.” – Orison Swett Marden.

Focus is important because it is how you get things done. Your planning, decision making, execution, problem-solving, reasoning, learning, and perception skills are dependent on your focus. If you cannot do any of these things effectively, you might as well forget about whatever lofty dreams you have of being successful.


“Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.” – Napoleon Hill.

When you read the stories of successful people, one thing they always have in common is their persistence in chasing their dreams no matter how many times they fail. They never give up; they consistently show up. That sets them apart from others that tuck their tails in at the first sight if discomfort and give up on their dreams.

Daily Goals

“Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination, and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms, carry out your plan.” – Paul J. Meyer.

Success is the big picture. But before you can finish painting the entire canvas, you have to first build the outline, and fill it in each day till you have created your masterpiece. The only way to do that is to set daily goals that will have a cumulative effect on achieving that success you desire.


“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” – Og Mandino

Sometimes, the only thing that will come between you and the temptation to quit and accept the mediocre is the determination you have to make the best out of your life like it is described in the model of Ikigai. don’t ever underestimate the power that your determination to succeed is.


“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” – Eliza Tabor.

Not everyone will understand the reason you choose to live your life against the norm as life is short; they will disappoint you, sometimes you will even disappoint yourself. But when you begin to understand that not everything will happen the way you wish, you will be able to handle those disappointments when they come.


“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.” – H. L. Mencken

How much is your success worth? How much are you willing to invest in your growth? How much are you willing to part with to see the results that you desire? These are the questions you should ask yourself. Sometimes, the cost of success is very expensive. It is up to you to determine if your dreams are worth the expenses you will incur.

Time Management

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

You have all these goals you have set to achieve within a short time and the only way to do it is with effective time management and utilize every second in a day. One of the good habits that successful people develop is knowing what needs to be done at doing it at the right time.

Everybody on the road to success will have to face these 15 obstacles and more, the worst part, because nobody sees this process, it is guaranteed that you will have to face them alone. The determinant for success is how well you handle these obstacles when they arise, and, even more importantly, when you don’t give up.

What do you think about this topic? Leave a comment below!