It Comes Down to Finding the Base of Your Inverted Triangle.
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” — Benjamin Franklin
For about 19 years of my life, I felt like something was holding me back and couldn’t figure out why. Since I was 14 years old I have been obsessed with being successful.
I wanted to experience all the things that life had to offer and push myself to the bounds of success that few other people had achieved. I have always been willing to work harder than others and felt like that would be my “superpower” that would allow me to be successful.
This has worked, up to a degree, as there were a number of things that I achieved of which I was very proud. However, my success has never been on the scale to which I felt it should be.
It almost seemed that even though I was moving on a path of success, it was still at a much slower pace than I felt it should’ve been, and for every 2–3 steps I would take forward, I would then have something happen that would put me back 1–2 steps. This would pretty much keep me moving forward, but at a disheartening snail’s pace.
It seemed like I was doing exactly what Gary John Bishop wrote about it his book, Stop Doing That Sh*t: End Self-Sabotage and Demand Your Life Back:
“We are building things only to burn them right back down. And we’re tired of it.”
Over the past two years, however, this has changed dramatically, as I’ve seen more growth in that time frame than I had in the previous 19.
What has been the biggest reason for this success?
It comes down to one simple thing.
I found the base of my inverted triangle and have built my growth on top of that.
WHAT IS AN INVERTED TRIANGLE?
Your inverted triangle can also be called your success triangle, but it is a bit different from a normal triangle because it’s upside down.
Contained inside of the triangle are all the things that you want to achieve in life, and it starts with your highest goals at the top and lessens in stature of accomplishments as you go down to the triangle.
What I mean by that is that for you to reach the top of your inverted triangle, you must first achieve the things underneath it in a sequential manner in some way.
For example, for you to become a billionaire, you, of course, must become a millionaire first. For you to become a millionaire, you must first figure out how to make a million dollars. For you to figure out how to make a million dollars, you need to invest in some idea or strategy that will yield this type of result. For you to find this strategy, you have to stop wasting time on things that don’t yield results and focus on developing yourself to accomplish this.
It’s almost like a video game in which you must do things in a certain order to be successful, and if you don’t, you’ll find yourself running around in circles not making any progress but yet seeming to work really hard.
It’s related to what Darren Hardy wrote about in The Compound Effect.
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
This NOT changing was happening to me.
Regardless of all the reading and implementing of strategies that were suggested, e.g., meditate, write in journals, wake up at 5 am, I was finding it hard to be consistent and never saw the growth of momentum that I wanted.
I felt like was doing all the right things, but there was something that was hijacking all of my good habits and keeping me stranded in the same spot.
It was only until I recognized what was at the base of my inverted triangle that I was finally able to break free of the quicksand and why I have seen so much growth and development over the past two years.
WHAT IS THE BASE?
This is very simple.
The base of your inverted triangle is basically that ONE bad habit that is the absolute MOST difficult for you to give up.
We all have bad habits and find ourselves doing a number of things that we know we shouldn’t do. As we mature, we are able to stop the clear bad habits that are either socially unacceptable or will not allow us to see any success in our careers, e.g., picking our noses or not waking up on time because we just don’t feel like it.
But for many of us, there is one habit that we allow ourselves to continue to do even though something in the back of our minds tells us that it may not be helping as much as hurting.
I think we all feel this and know that we are the reason that we are not reaching the goals we desire.
It’s like Dave Hollis wrote about in Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptics Guide to Growth and Fulfillment,
“The future that you aspire to will only come if you’re willing to let go of what you need to release in your life today.”
It’s different things for different people.
For some, it could be always spending time with a friend who puts you down and makes you feel less than. It could be the habit of overeating and then feeling ashamed because of it. Or it could be always being too focused on finding someone to get in a relationship with to “complete” you.
Whatever it is, it is something that you continually do that always seems to gnaw at you to let you know that it’s wrong, but your mind finds a way to consistently justify it to you.
For me, this was my alcohol consumption.
Now, my alcohol consumption was a tad bit more advanced than the average person’s alcohol consumption, but I didn’t fall into the category of an alcoholic. I wasn’t drinking during the day or getting blasted every night.
However, when I did drink, I typically consumed WAY more than the standard recommended maximum. For me, binge drinking and drinking, in general, were synonymous, as this was the only type of drinking I knew.
I always felt that perhaps I drink a bit more than I should or that perhaps if I cut back, I would have a better chance to be successful, but it was only until I was faced with a decision that put my back against the wall that I was finally able to say no more and build my triangle base on a solid foundation.
This has allowed me to now build all of my other dreams and aspirations on top of it, as my alcohol-consciousness (some would call this sobriety) has allowed me to see much greater growth than I’ve ever experienced before.
For this reason, I have been able to stop a number of other bad habits that were holding me back as well since alcohol was the main reason that I struggled to overcome some of my other issues.
Once, I was able to stop this one habit, many others fell in line. It is similar to what John Arden wrote about in Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life,
““In the beginning, it takes focus, effort, and more energy in your brain, but after you make the swing or say hello enough times, it becomes effortless.”
I started to eat a million times better, get in the best shape of my life, have way more patience in my relationships, and began to see much more success in pretty much all areas of my life.
HOW DO YOU FIND IT?
Everyone’s base is different, and you can’t automatically assume you know what it is. Our mind is very tricky and it will often tell us things that are bad for us are also good at the same time.
The simplest way to be able to identify what your inverted triangle base could be is to think about the one habit that you have that might bring you the most joy but at the same time brings you the most pain as well.
It is that one thing that stays in the back of your mind as something you should consider stopping, but you always find a way to reason why you can’t stop now or how it’s not as bad as that one episode made it seem.
This is your base.
This the one thing that if you get under control and not allow it to sabotage all of your other plans in your life, you can build your triangle as high as you are willing to work for it.
But to really be able to be free of it, you have to give it up completely.
For many people, they try to moderate it somehow or work it into their life on a less frequent basis, but the reality is that since it is your triangle base, you must have complete control over it to make sure that you don’t risk losing all of your success as a result of it.
As Jack Canfield wrote in The Success Principle,
“ 99% is a bitch. 100% is a breeze.”
The base is very thin, and you have a lot of aspects of your success on top of it. If there is a slip for any reason, there is a chance that it will gain the hold over you again, and all that you have built will come crumbling upon itself.
To prevent that, you must be willing to completely let it go and release the shackles in which it held you for so long to realize your true full potential.
And while I can’t promise that giving it up is going to be easy at all, once you finally do, your inverted triangle will be yours to build as high as you desire.