The First Step for Success


Welcome to my site.

I named my site after me, Alex Ding, because I want it to reflect everything I have learned about in life. And because I am deeply interested in becoming successful, you will find lots of my thoughts about success.

So what is success?

It is to have enough. Of money, freedom, love, and (most importantly) faith.

At the time of me writing this, I am a third-year medical student. So yes, I will become a doctor pretty soon. Most people think becoming a doctor is the ultimate form of success. But I am going to tell you the truth:

It’s not! I would gladly trade my position now to go back in time 10 years. If I was 17 years old again, knowing what I know now, I could be even more successful.

So do you want to know the secret of success? The absolute first step you must take to become successful? To become more successful than being a doctor? It is this …

Rely on yourself!!!

Rely on yourself!!!

Rely on yourself!!!

So what do I mean by that? I certainly do not mean for you to cut yourself off from society, to grow your own food, and to make your own clothes. That would be silly. Rather, start taking responsibility for yourself and stop depending on other people to fulfill you.

Stop depending on  your employer for your only source of income. If your boss decides to fire you, and if you are like most people, you would be up crap creek without a paddle. You’re pretty much screwed.

 Stop depending on a piece of expensive paper to tell you that you are good enough. That you are “educated” and “certified.” (Unless you need that piece of paper to legally work, such as a medical degree to become a doctor.)

Stop depending on others to feel good about yourself. Acquaintances and friends come and go. One day, you would be well-like and popular. The next day, you would be forgotten.

Stop doing what everyone else is doing because …

The Average Person Is Not Successful

The average person in the US have so much wasted potential.

  • He wastes most of his free time on television, internet, video games, bars, etc.
  • He trades his time for money in a soul-sucking job — doing the bare minimum to not get fired.
  • Then he spends his money to keep up with neighbors, on the newest technology, cars, or whatever thing that will quickly be useless in a few years.

And in this brutal economic environment, when he gets fired, he then wonders why he is 50 years old without any retirement money and without any marketable skills.

But just imagine what he can do if he decided to stop coasting along in life. If he decided to control his own destination.

  • He spends his free time exploring and learning new things. Instead of spending his time on useless activities, he spends it on books, courses, and meeting those who are successful.
  • He does not look at his job as a trade between time and money. Instead, he sees it as an opportunity to learn. He continually challenges himself to take on more responsibility. And eventually becomes the key personnel in the company. He becomes indispensable. Other companies hire headhunters to lure him away, with promises of a bigger salary and better bonuses.
  • Then he spends his money to create multiple sources of income. And he has money left over for the newest gadgets and latest cars.

And when everyone else is crying about how hard it is for them in this brutal economic environment, he just shrugs and enjoy his 5th vacation this year to some tropical island. He has enough money coming in to last him for a lifetime.

The main difference between the first man and second man is this:

The second man decided to rely on himself and take control of his own life.

If that does not motivate you, maybe  this will …

You Cannot Trust Others

Really. You can’t. And here is why …

Whatever guidance you get from others are severely misguided. For example, many parents and teachers would advise their kids to go to college. In their mind, the formula for success is:

  • Go to elementary school.
  • Get good grades.
  • Go to middle school.
  • Get good grades.
  • Go to high school.
  • Get good grades.
  • Go to college.
  • Get good grades.
  • Get a good job.
  • Retire.

And if the kids cannot find a job right out of college, they would have to add some extra steps into their plan:

  • Go to graduate school.
  • Get good grades.
  • Get a good job.
  • Retire.

That worked well in the 1960’s. But what about in 2013? Have you read about the college graduates with thousands of dollars in debt without any jobs? Never mind that the cost of college is growing 4 times the amount of inflation.

In some cases, advice that you get may seem to be for your good, but are instead for the good of the person giving the advice. I am not going to go into them in detail in this post but I will just list some of the culprits:

  • You need an education to get a good job. (advice from colleges, universities, and the student loan industry)
  • A house will always go up in value. (advice from mortgage brokers and the lending industry)
  • Internet stocks will always go up in value. (advice from stockbrokers and Wall Street)

If you have been around in the last decade, you can see how these advice got the US into an economic turmoil. People who took the advice lost a lot of money as a result. Of course, all the advice givers profited handsomely before the bubble burst. (And the next bubble will be in the education sector. Watch out!)

You Can Be Successful

That is why it is essential for you to rely on yourself. It is not too late. Take control and take responsibility. Because success is ultimately dependent upon you.

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  1. Bob Smith says:

    Hi Alex,

    Very inspirational writing you have here. I will say it again:

    Rely on yourself!

    At the heart of at all, it’s really the only piece of motivation that I need. In fact, relying and depending on others is quite dangerous! Let’s face it, if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. If self-reliance were a drug then I am full-blown addict. There is nothing sweeter in this world than taking one’s own destiny in their own hands and giving it their best shot, lose or fail!


    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Bob,

      You’re 100% right. Of all the advice that you can follow, relying on yourself is the very best one to follow. That is why investing in yourself (by self-improvement and self-education) is the best investment you can make.

      • Hey Alex,
        It seems like you are the real deal. Your type is extremely rare; I applaud you for what you are.
        I especially agree with you on self-education. I had a formal education but loathed it; let me explain. When I went to a public school, there was no real challenge. Oftentimes we went over the same material in the hopes that the dumbest kids in the class would finally get it. They never did.
        In college, I had more control (but not much) over what I really wanted to learn. I would study my ass off (but I loved it) for Organic Chemistry and the advanced chemistry courses. My work paid off, I would usually ace the tests but I always had more questions than answers and more often than not my questions made my professors look like a deer in headlights. Anyway, I was, unfortunately, introduced to the grading curve. Gasp! Basically, the teacher would take points off of the highest test scores and give the points to the lowest scores, to even the scores out and to make it “fair.” Talk about socialism! It wasn’t fair to me, who put in all the hard work, just to have slackers reap my hard work. It should have discouraged me, but it didn’t. We are indeed living in very dangerous times when people get rewarded for doing nothing. I mean you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink, right? I digress.
        Let me get back to self-education. It’s awesome! I am mostly self-taught. I set my own hours, my own curriculum, my own expectations, and above all, I analyze and question what I learn. Did I mention that it’s free? Well, you have to PAY attention. I tried to tell my friends the true value of this, but they don’t have the capacity to wake up. I have even stuck my ear up to their ear to hear what is going on in their heads and all I get is that sound one hears when listening to a conch. They are too busy with their iphones, tvs, Facebook, Twitter, keeping up with the latest celebrity gossip, etc. It’s so sad. Then they try to fill their lives up with useless junk, the latest gadgets, big houses, fast cars, and whatnot. I try to tell them that newness fades away quickly and about the only thing worth having is skills and knowledge. I tell them that they could have all their possessions taken away for whatever reason but that no one can ever take away their knowledge or skills. They don’t listen. And to make things worse, they are usually heavy in debt with no savings. In essence, they are failing to plan, so they are planning on failing. I loved some of my friends to death, but I had to move on. It got to the point where I was afraid I would turn into one of them.
        Also, let me add a comment about self-improvement. I personally know of so many people that say they will do this or say they will do that, they have big plans for a bright future, etc., but not one of them actually takes ACTION. I feel you already know all of this elementary stuff, but in my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to keep repeating the truth. I’ll part with one of my favorite quotes of all time:

        The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

        Bob Smith

        • Great comment, Bob!

          I totally understand what you’re saying. I really hate the education system in America. Kids graduate from college with a worthless piece of paper, stuck with debt for life, and can’t get a good job. That is why you cannot rely on someone else to educate you or to take care of you.

          If you’re truly serious about self-education, you’ll pick up a book or listen to a lecture or something. Not waste time on useless crap. Seems like you’re one of the few that will take control of your own destiny.

          Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Alex,

    I read the article again and I would like to add another comment. When you walk the same beaten-down path as others, there is going to be some nasty competition. When you create your own path you can have any world you want and the only competition is yourself. Most people will not ever carve their own path because they fear the unknown.
    Some will try but will give up easily and just “go with the flow.” Some, if not most, of the world’s most successful pioneers started off with very little but they had something that money or education cannot provide: they had an idea and they were determined to see that idea come to fruition. This do-or-die spirit lies dormant in all of us, but very few of us have the courage to give it life.


    • Hey Bob,

      Your comment reminded me of something I’ve read. It said that for easy, entry-level jobs, there is so much competition. But for higher level jobs, there is hardly any competition. I don’t know how true it is, but most people prefer to travel on the easy (but over-crowded) road, than paving their own way.


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