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Shattering the Myths about The Midas Touch and Success

There’s a common belief that we need the Midas touch to become a bestselling author like Stephen King, a famous TV host like Oprah, or even a successful producer like David Geffen.

But do we, really?

Today I’m going to shatter myths about the Midas touch and share with you what we all do have within us that is much, much better.

The Midas Touch

The Midas Touch

The phrase the Midas touch comes from the Greek myth about King Midas for his ability to turn everything he touched to gold. Today it is often used to describe people who seem to always do extraordinary well.

If we don’t have the Midas touch, so the thinking goes, then it’s not our fault if we don’t succeed.

First, the word fault needs to be banished because it implies you weren’t born to succeed, and second, it’s just not true!

You were born to be the best you can be, and that, my friends, is more than good enough.

(Tweet This)

I used to believe in the Midas touch. Not exactly by that name, though. I’m not sure what I called it, but the idea was clear to me. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have what it takes.

Maybe you believed in it too? The problem is that such a belief only serves to limit us, so it is important to step back and put it into perspective.

Let’s shatter the myths of the Midas touch.

Midas Touch Myth #1

Highly successful people had (and have) it easier.

There could be nothing further from the truth. Actually, when you research famous, successful people you will discover that a great many of them have been in horrific situations and come from less than ideal backgrounds.

Consider David Geffen who signed Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills and Nash and was a founding member of DreamWorks. But, as a young man David was extremely poor and his bed was the family’s couch in their one bedroom apartment.

Fortunately, David was able to go to college, but he flunked out.

Today David Geffen is a billionaire, and not because he was born into money or had it any easier than others.

He found his passion and lives it to the fullest.

It doesn’t matter how poor you are, what advantages you don’t have or what education you have or don’t have, you can still succeed.

Midas Touch Myth #2

Highly successful people never miss goals, make mistakes, get rejected or fail at anything.

Right? Wrong – way wrong!

The reality is that we all miss goals and we all fail at one time or another. That’s life and those who seem to be blessed with success miss goals and fail too, sometimes they crash and burn so bad it takes them years to recover.

But that’s the key; they keep going, even after they may have given up.

It’s about learning from your mistakes, overcoming the most difficult challenges and persevering through adversity.

One of the reasons this myth is so predominant, is that people who succeed come into our consciousness after they’ve overcome their struggles. The public in general has no clue what the person went through or how they overcame their challenges.

Three Hundred Million

Not only was Stephen King rejected dozens of times, one publisher went so far as to say this: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”

How would a rejection letter like that make you feel?

As you well know, Stephen didn’t stop writing science fiction which deals with negative utopias, and he’s sold over 350 million copies of his books so far!

Midas Touch Myth #3

People who make it and achieve great success are naturally happy and positive, and never get down on themselves. They’ve always had the good life.

It’s true that attitude plays a major role in any kind of success, be it in writing, in business and even in relationships.

However, maintaining a positive attitude is something we must work at every day. That goes for everyone, even the most positive, happy person you know.

Consider Oprah, she was repeatedly abused as a child in the most despicable way. Wouldn’t you agree that she has every right to be angry and cynical? And yet, those things do not define her.

She found her way and even though she lives with memories of her past, she chooses to find positive ways to help others, and ultimately, to be happy despite the pain she endured.

Oprah has become quite a remarkable woman in more ways than merely becoming one of the most successful television talk show hosts of all time.

It’s far easier to be cynical and negative. We all know that. We’ve all been down on ourselves and we’ve all felt the pain of failing and the sorrow of loss. It’s what we do in spite those things that makes the difference.

Don’t fall for the myths

No, don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

One day you may be the next success story to show up on a popular TV talk show and many viewers will believe you got lucky, or you had some kind of advantage, or you were perfectly unrejectable and, of course, you never made any mistakes.

But you’ll know the truth.

Look inward

You are an amazing person. You really are. But I am not here to simply tell you to believe in yourself, although, you know, you really should.

Look inward and see what you do have.

You have your passion. (Go ahead, tweet this, you’ll feel better.)

Maybe you haven’t noticed it lately or maybe you haven’t given it the credit it deserves, but it is there.

You’ve got to follow your passion and do things your way, even when the going is tough, even after you’ve fallen down and failed more times than you can count, even after you’ve repeated mistakes.

And yes, even after you’ve given up.

Look inward, and discover what you love to do more than anything else.

The only way to know what your passion is – is if you would do it even if you don’t expect to get paid to do it or ever get noticed for your work.

Once you’ve got that, your passion, all the rest is a matter of time and work, trust and perseverance, and loyalty to yourself and those you love.

You are capable of amazing things

We are all capable of the most amazing things.

(Tweet this if you agree.)

It’s just that sometimes we get a little lost and we start to believe in the tall tales and fables we’ve heard, and as a consequence we become a little doubtful (okay, maybe very doubtful).

And you know what? That’s okay. Because that’s where true success comes from.

When you make it back from the depths of self-doubt, when you’ve finally, at long last, overcome those doubts and start working your passion purely for the sake of it, that’s when things start to change.

Nothing is more rewarding than overcoming our most difficult challenges. You know the ones, the ones that we thought had us beat and the ones that had us believing we weren’t good enough.

When we overcome those challenges, no fortune or fame can ever be as rewarding. The result is that success is no longer a goal you strive for, because you recognize it for what it really is, a byproduct of living your passion.

Success is a byproduct of living your passion.

(Tweet this)

We all need something to believe in, but the Midas touch doesn’t exist, but something far more valuable does.

It is The Human Spirit.

The human spirit is much, much better because it is real and it is within all of us.

We are all better than we think we are. Far better, indeed. Don’t you agree?

Tell us about your story, and what you have overcome to create work that matters in spite of setbacks.

Inspire your fellow readers and share in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins



  • Alex

    I’ve recently come to believe that perhaps the challenges we face in life are necessary to determine whether or not we are truly passionate about something.

    I’ve spent a long time trying to work out just what I was passionate about in my life – I’ve had my fingers in many pies, and all of these projects and ideas died when I faced challenges, not because I was overwhelmed, but because I realised that I was not as passionate as I thought I was.

    I’ve recently found writing, something I’ve been doing my whole life without even noticing I was doing it, to be the exception – for example I don’t actually fear criticism when I write, nor am I put off by the possibility that I might not ‘succeed’ (whatever that means).

    So perhaps you know your passion not just by whether you’d still do it without pay, but whether you’ll still do it even when the winds are in your face and the going gets tough.

    • Hi Alex, succeed and success are what you define them as. And I absolutely agree, you’re doing your passion even when the odds are against you and the going gets tough. Excellent point!

  • I love Midas Touch Myth 2. It’s so easy to forget that those who are where you want to me had to fight through the tough times to get there. This is such a good reminder for writers (or anyone for that matter I guess); rejection and failure are just part of the process, not the end of the process. Great post Bryan.

  • Cathy

    Thanks for another wonderful post, Bryan. Along with Queen of your own life’s daily affirmations, your blog posts always get my head in the right place. Fear of failure and rejection often stop me from trying, along with that inner critic that reinforces the feeling and says “See, I told you that you weren’t good enough. It only proves it since you failed.” Thanks for reminding me that it’s okay to fail and that people like Oprah and Stephen King have even failed but kept persevering. It’s the giving up that is so soul destroying and kills your passion. I must keep going even when facing adversity.

  • Penelope Silvers

    I appreciate your positive posts, Bryan. You are correct in saying successful people have become known to us only BECAUSE they kept trying, even after failing or coming from horrific backgrounds. The persistence is what gets them to where they wanted to go.

    I’ve had to overcome depression, which morphs into negative self-talk and fear of failure. This has taken me years of Bible study, prayer and journaling, but I keep pushing forward and not looking backward. That is the only way to grow, stay strong and attain all the goals you set for yourself. The spirit is willing, but the flesh must come into line with the spirit before life changes.