I’ve been below the poverty level, lived in section eight housing, eating state cheese as a part of my daily food intake. I’ve been middle class struggling to make my car payments, I’ve been forced to declare bankruptcy, I’ve made millions of dollars. I’ve lost millions(very recently) 

What I have realized is the struggle is the only thing that is constant at any part of one’s life, and yes it is real. I don’t care if you are a personal trainer growing your business, a high school athlete trying to make the team or a stay at home mom trying to keep your family intact. Your ranking on the socioeconomic scale has no bearing on struggle. We all have it. It’s different for others. But regardless of where you “fit in”, for you, the struggle sucks. No one “likes” it. If they say they do, they are a sociopath and a liar. The military has a saying when in boot camp. Embrace the suck. In other words, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Now look, you aren’t in boot camp. You are just trying to live your life. Me too! This is easy to write about rather than go through. But, I’ve gone through hell, am going through hell and have had insurmountable obstacles since literally from the womb. Embracing the suck will not be easy. But it makes the hell you may be going through a little easier. 

Winston Churchill famously said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” When defending his country against the Nazi’s. 

I watch these motivational speakers out there who tell “us” what to do. But if you look closely at their lives they have no idea what to do with their own life!! Let alone give success advice. 

I’ve been on the brink of business failure and I’ve achieved some pretty amazing things. However, I’m no expert in success, I’m far from perfect. But I’m real and you need to be real with YOU. 

Why all of this “I” talk about me? I want people to realize that we are all searching for answers. We are all chasing success and happiness. I have tried to be as candid and transparent as possible in my books and writing to not only help others but even myself. 

Some of the challenges I see in this “social media world” is that 99.0% of those who are offering advice in fact are either not real at all or trying to fake it until they make it while trying to “help others” achieve success. They are actually hurting the people looking for answers. People like you and me. 

So what are we to do? What should you do? Here are a few things that I believe will help you in your search for happiness and success. It is far from an exhaustive list. But pretty basic stuff. That I know works almost immediately. 

Fake it until you make it. 

This is total bullshit and will in fact hurt you. I meet so many people who do this. They project images on social media that are so far from reality that they are in fact fraudulent. I’ve been to networking events with people who just make stuff up about their level of success. From wearing fake designer clothes to outright lying about what they do. It’s pretty easy to see through. 

Here is the best practice. Just do you. Just be you. Just work on you without caring about how others may perceive you. If you work on your own reality towards the goals you aspire to achieve, then you are being honest with yourself and that’s all that matters. Deep down inside if you are faking it until you are trying to make it, you are lying to the one person who matters. Yourself. Be you. 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable 

I’ve discussed this in all of my books and it’s so simple. But not easy. If you can get comfortable with the curve balls that life throws you it makes your ability to get on base so much easier. You may not hit a home run. But you will get on base and be able to play in the game. 

Additionally, if you can get comfortable with the worst-case scenario in whatever it is you are trying to do you actually become stronger than you ever imagined. In my baseball analogy, what’s the worst that can happen if you swing and miss the curveball? 

-you strike out?

-you hit into a double play?

-you lose the game?

Okay, now you know what could go wrong. Everything from there is a positive. Now I understand hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports so don’t get caught up in my example. It’s just an example to help you understand comfort in uncomfortable potential outcomes. 

If you are negotiating for a raise and think it may agitate your boss or coworkers and potentially result in you getting let go. Well, so be it. It wasn’t meant to be. Now you are out of a job and your income has been drastically cut. It most likely won’t happen. But it’s possible. In this particular example, you don’t need to let your boss know you are willing to walk if you don’t get what you deserve. But, if it’s an option for you. You will be shocked at how well the negotiations go. 

No one really can understand what you are going through in life. But the key is to keep pushing. You will come out the other side stronger, smarter, and yes happier. It’s the struggle that creates life!


Michael Alden, a graduate of Suffolk Law School and a three-time Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Seller, is from Beverly, MA.  He has contributed to Forbes, Huffington Post, CNBC and, Entrepreneur, and was awarded Boston’s 40 Under 40 Award.  To learn more about Michael Alden, visit www.michael-alden.com.  You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @MikeAlden2012