6. Success Is Not a Hobby: The One Lifestyle That Will Support Your Success

So, now you know several lifestyles that are inimical to your success. But which lifestyle isn’t? Which one is most likely to get you where you want to go?

That’s easy: a lifestyle centered on achieving your Mission. In other words, one in which every major decision you make supports, or at least does not impede, your major goals.

Another way of saying this is that success is not a hobby. Meaning: it’s not something you work on part-time or whenever you feel like it. It is not even a full-time job that you work on from nine to five and then forget about. Success is something you work on all the time, both in your professional and personal life.

Chris is a good example. All of her major choices, from taking a lower-paying job near to her house, to taking infrequent vacations, to driving an old car, were made to support her Mission. In making these choices, she actually restructured her life and made very conscious decisions about the way she uses her time, money and other resources.

Chris was able to make these choices because she:

• Is aware of what her values are. (She knows she values her family, her activism, and a non-AACL life.)

• Has determined what tradeoffs she is willing to make. (She has decided that her time is more valuable than new possessions.)

• Has the information she needs to make the right decisions. (She obviously knows about Mission Management and Time Management, and also, probably, about Fear Management and Relationship Management.)

• Uses the information she knows. (She obviously did her Mission Management and Time Management.)

• Works creatively to come up with solutions to tough problems. (She has organized her house to minimize cleaning hassles, and solved at least part of her shopping/cooking problem.)

• Is an independent thinker. (Despite society’s constant pressure to live the AACL, she has crafted a simple, inexpensive, low-maintenance life for herself and her family.)

• Has the courage of her convictions. (She does what she knows is right, even in the face of disapproval from family and friends.)

• Can engage others to help her with her goals. (She has her husband and kids helping with the housework and her activism.)

And last but not least:

• Has chosen the right spouse, a supportive one.

That last point might sound silly, in a time-management context, but it is probably the most important decision Chris has made. Nothing is more sabotaging of success than choosing the wrong mate—and nothing is more catalyzing of success than choosing the right one. If Chris’s husband were unsupportive—if he completely bought into the AACL, or refused to help with any of the housework or childcare—then she probably would have eventually faced the painful choice of either leaving him or abandoning her activism.

The right partner, in contrast, brings many irreplaceable benefits, including not just love and companionship, but inspiration, and the opportunity to work together as a team to help each other achieve a higher level of success and self-actualization than might otherwise be possible. Speaking more generally, and as discussed in Part I, you want to surround yourself as much as possible with supportive, successful people who will inspire and encourage you, especially during the inevitable hard times. This is such a crucial topic that I will be discussing it again and again throughout the remainder of The Lifelong Activist.

Strive to create a life for yourself that is focused on achieving your Mission. That doesn’t mean you can’t goof off once in a while, or take on a project on a lark just because you feel like it. Just make sure that, overall, your choices reflect your true values and needs.