The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. – Vince Lombardi
John has a classic 9-to-5 job, and he’s not particularly talented. Suffering from low self-esteem, he decides that he will challenge himself by competing in a public speaking contest that takes place three months from now. His goal, of course, is to take first place. He joins a public speaking group and starts practicing an hour a day during the week, in addition to 10 hours every weekend. His friends are really impressed with how hard he’s working.
Despite this, he has given several subpar speeches at his local association. Worse yet, people keep telling him there’s no way he can win the competition and that he should be realistic. He gradually loses confidence and begins to feel worthless. “They’re right,” he eventually tells himself. “I should be more realistic.”
He’s getting increasingly demotivated and scared, and finally decides against entering the competition.
“I have no talent,” he says to himself. Unfortunately, family and friends are unsurprised when he gives up. What did he expect, anyway?
Peter has a classic 9-to-5 job, and he’s not particularly talented, either. Suffering from low self-esteem, he decides to enter the same public speaking contest that John intended to. As was the case with John, Peter’s ultimate goal is to win the contest. He practices the same number of hours as John did. He, too, delivers several subpar speeches and has people continually telling him that winning the competition is impossible. Eventually, his gets discouraged and loses motivation.
Just as he’s thinking of giving up, however, he comes across a biography of a highly successful person and is shocked to see how hard this person worked both on himself and his career. His work ethic was insane and his ability for self-reflection was incredible. This causes Peter to realize that what he’s been doing is a joke. He isn’t actually working all that hard.
He starts practicing 4 hours a day during the week and 20 hours during the weekend. He spends hours filming his speeches and uses the videos to analyze his every movement. He then takes meticulous notes on the way he talks and the tone of his voice. He shows these videos to several of his friends and continually asks for feedback. He stops going out and instead uses his money to take a public speaking course online and buy some of the best books and audio programs he can find on the topic.
He considers giving up several times while preparing for the competition. Yet each time he remembers why it’s so important to him. Peter’s brother was a drug addict who died of an overdose the previous year, and his deepest desire is to raise awareness about drug addiction by talking to people, particularly kids, about the dangers of drugs and how to avoid them. He wants his speeches to come from the heart. It’s his mission to convince kids that drugs aren’t a way to have fun or cope with your problems, and that they should be completely avoided.
He records his speech 462 times over the course of his preparation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he ultimately takes first place. The guy who finishes second comes to congratulate him and says, “Good job man. I wish I had your talent.”
I have to admit that I made up these stories, but I have no doubt that they could have happened in real life. In fact, stories with similar elements have actually occurred in real life.
Regardless, these stories prove an important point: Most people aren’t doing what it takes to be successful. The sad thing is that they don’t even realize it. In the vast majority of cases, this stems from erroneous beliefs about talent. People overestimate the power of talent and mistakenly label something as talent when it’s actually the result of hard work. As a result, they don’t understand that they have far more potential than they know. They can’t break through the social conditioning and false beliefs that stand between them and success.
Of course, there is a silver lining to all this. If everyone around you had an empowering belief system that allowed most of them to consistently outwork you, you’d have a tough time getting anywhere. It would be much harder to achieve your goals with such stuff competition. Especially if, like most of us, you aren’t phenomenally talented.
The truth is, people don’t work even half as hard as truly successful people do. Their belief systems suck, they’re paralyzed by fear of failure, have little perseverance, and tend to give up after their first major setback. In many cases, they haven’t even figured out what they’re passionate about. They’re all over the place and, as such, never manage to master anything in particular. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to achieve anything under those circumstances. Unfortunately, this is what happens to most of us.
When you look at success from this angle and consider the factors I mentioned above, you may see that success is more predictable than you think, and that working hard to improve yourself makes perfect sense.
In this article, I would like to propose that success is highly predictable. To do this, I’m going to share the recipe for success. Keep in mind that it’s a recipe, not a magic formula! And, as with any recipe, it isn’t perfect. Working hard to improve yourself and further your career is an absolute MUST!
There are many definitions of success out there, but I want to use the following one for this article:
“Success is doing what you love to do and contributing to society the way you want.”
You might be wondering why money isn’t part of this definition. The reason for this is that happiness is a desire that’s virtually universal. So if you make lots of money you’re utterly miserable, what’s the point? Money as a by-product of success is great, but seeing money as success itself can make you very unhappy.
Here is the list of ingredients for the recipe:
- Hard work
All 5 ingredients should be used in extremely high doses.
Now that you know the recipe, it’s time to explore the role of each ingredient.
People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing and it is totally true. And the reason is because it is so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. – Steve Jobs
Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why is it so important to you?
You need passion to be truly successful. If your “why” isn’t strong enough you’ll quit as soon as things get tough.
Passion is what will enable you to persevere in situations that will make those more talented than you give up. It’s what will allow you to outwork those smarter than you and make the necessary sacrifices, no matter how big they are.
If you look at men and women with extremely successful businesses, you will find people who are truly passionate about what they’re doing. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be where they are. They would have given up a long, long time ago because that’s what any “sane” person would do. Why would someone push through incessant anxiety, insane workloads, and multiple setbacks if they didn’t truly love what they do?
Whatever passion you’re pursuing, you have to be aware that achieving it will require you to make great sacrifices and maintain phenomenally high levels of dedication over a long period of time. You might have to work thousands of hours before you start making any money. There are two types of people who would attempt something like this: 1. Someone who is mentally ill. 2. Someone who is extremely passionate about what they’re trying to do.
That said, passion alone is not enough.
It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen. – Muhammad Ali
If you don’t walk by faith and believe that you can achieve what you’ve set out to do, you will eventually face a wall that will be too high for you to climb, regardless of how passionate you are. Sooner or later, this wall will cause you to give up, regardless of how passionate you are. You must learn to strengthen your faith on a daily basis so you can supercharge your passion and continue to take action.
Imagine that you’ve suffered complete memory loss following an accident, and those who know you best inform you that you’re a world-famous motivational speaker that addresses thousands of people every week. What impact would this have on you? How would you behave? Now, imagine they tell you that you’re depressed, isolated person that doesn’t talk to anyone and that you’ve struggled with thoughts of suicide. How would that make you feel? How much confidence would you have? Our belief systems can make or break us, so your behavior would differ greatly depending upon which of these two scenarios you believed.
Limiting Beliefs: The Enemy of Faith
Our belief system determines what we think we can do or can’t do, and these thoughts are the deciding factor in whether or not we’ll take action. The way you see reality is based on what you currently believe. If your belief system sucks, you’ll never be able to tap into your passion. You won’t be able to work hard and persevere long enough to succeed, either.
Unfortunately, nobody teaches us how to create a healthy belief system and tap into the power of our minds. The limitations you see in your life are artificial. They’re just a version of reality based on your interpretation of past events (see my article on limiting beliefs for more information). If you don’t eliminate these limiting beliefs, you’ll be running in place for the rest of your life . That’s what happens to most people. They get caught in a web of disempowering beliefs that they can’t manage to break through.
Limiting beliefs are like driving a car with the handbrake on. You can’t get very far, as you’ll sabotage yourself without even realizing it. You’ll think things like “Everything I do sucks” or “I’m stupid”, which will cause you to give up. It may not even occur to you that things you desire are truly achievable. And if it does, you may not allow those thoughts to stick.
If you want to restart the metaphorical engine and keep driving, you MUST start working on your limiting beliefs each and every day.
When your faith becomes stronger than your limiting beliefs, then and ONLY then will you begin taking significant and consistent steps towards achieving your goals.
Getting rid of limiting beliefs can be difficult, it can be broken down into three major steps:
- Identify your limiting beliefs see Step 2: Identify Limiting Beliefs – How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
- Work on deconstructing these beliefs.
- Be consistent, take action every day, and work to achieve small goals that will help you build momentum and confidence.
3. Hard Work
Only passion and faith can give us the strength and motivation to work hard and stay the course despite the many setbacks we’re likely to encounter on our way to our goal.
The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment – to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become! – Eric Thomas
“I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work-ethic. You know while the other guys sleeping, I’m working, while the other guy’s eating, I’m working.” – Will Smith
How many people can honestly say that they’re working so hard that they have no time to watch TV, engage in hobbies, or take a day off, and even struggle to find time to eat? Not many!
Unreasonable expectations are the main reason most of us fail. We’re overly optimistic when we set goals for ourselves. We expect (rather naively) that things will go relatively smoothly. As a result of these expectations, a few setbacks can be more than enough to stir up enough self-doubt to make us quit.
We tend to cling to the erroneous belief that other people are much more talented than we are, which causes us to give up due to what we believe is a lack of “talent”. As a result, there are many people who blame lack of talent and bad luck for their inability to succeed, all while failing to realize that they’re not doing what it takes to succeed. On the other hand, there are some people who, as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, “work their butt off”. The reality is that most people’s belief systems are wrong. They’re operating their life under incorrect assumptions. Their problem isn’t lack of talent, but rather the inability to realize that they’re not doing what it takes to achieve their goals. They just don’t know any better, and this is why the misconceptions regarding talent take their toll on so many of us.
If you don’t have any particular goal that you’re trying to achieve, that’s okay. It’s actually great if you’re happy with where you are right now. If, however, there’s something you long to achieve in your life, don’t give it 50% and expect to succeed.
I read a book written by Sir Templeton and was genuinely shocked to learn how hard he worked. The same could be said of people like Benjamin Franklin. What these highly successful people have in common is not only that they work hard on in their professional life, but also that they work incredibly hard on themselves. They are the embodiment of personal development!
What most of us think of as working hard doesn’t even come close. If you really want to make your dreams a reality, you’re going to have to do more than what you’re doing now!
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How hard am I really working? Is what I am doing really enough?
- What am I ready to sacrifice?
“Nobody believes in you, you’ve lost again and again and again. The lights are cut off but you are still looking at your dream, reviewing it every day and saying to yourself: ‘it is not over until I win!’” – Les Brown
The ability to persevere is what allows us to stand out from “average people” and eventually succeed. Most people have an unhealthy relationship with failure. While it’s true that you should do everything you can to prevent failure, it isn’t completely avoidable. You’re going to experience failures on your way towards your goal no matter how hard you try. You should remind yourself that failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of the process of success.
Failure is just a sign that the misalignment between our actions and our goals has become too big and that we need to make some adjustments. Nothing more, nothing less. What we call failure can be interpreted as a way for our brain to tell us that we’re going in the wrong direction and need to make some major adjustments to realign our actions with our goal. Failure should be turned into a learning opportunity. Real failure is only possible if we fail to learn anything from it, or, worse yet, if we allow it to make us quit.
When you’re tempted to give up remember this: when things get hard and you’re ready to quit, 95% of the people in your situation feel like you do. And the majority of them will act on their urge to throw in the towel. Now, tell me, did you work your butt off in pursuit of your goal so that you’d end up like everyone else? When you started working on your dream did you think, “I love what I’m doing and want be great at it. I want to be the best I possibly can…but I’ll quit right when everyone else does!” I don’t think so. If you were just going to quit anyway, why did you bother to start in the first place?
Here’s a good rule of thumb. When you really feel like quitting, consider that as a sign that it’s ShowTime! This is the time when you actually start separating yourself from the rest of the pack by refusing to quit.
The reality is that you’re going to fail, so if you really want to be able to persevere no matter what, you MUST prepare mentally prepare for it. The following 5 tips will help you do so:
- Visualize everything that can go wrong. Exaggerate it by including improbable situations.
- Project yourself into the future and imagine how you would deal with these “failures”.
- Ask yourself what you’re ready to go through before giving up.
- Set a timeframe during which you promise yourself that you’ll never give up… no matter what happens. Then, when that time period ends, decide whether or not you should give up.
- Use positive affirmation and watch motivational videos daily to change your relation with failure and keep pushing during hard times
Once you are mentally prepared to face any setback and understand that setbacks are in fact learning opportunities, you will be able to persevere no matter what.
One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. – Tony Robbins
To be able to achieve your dream, you have to be clear on what you want and focus on it for long enough to master it. You must also focus on the few tasks that have the most impact. It’s not enough to be clear on what to do, you must also be clear on what not to do. It’s easy to get distracted and waste time on petty tasks. Trust me, I’ve been there! Yet extreme focus is what will allow you to become a true expert in your field.
These 3 steps will greatly enhance your ability to focus:
- Identify the tasks that will have the greatest impact and biggest contribution to your success, then spend the majority of your time on them.
- Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing now the best thing to do?”
- Ask yourself, “If I continue doing what I’ve done today, will I achieve my goal?”
If you supercharge your passion by building unshakable faith, work your butt off, persevere no matter what, and focus until you become an expert at what you do, not even super-talented genius can catch up with you!
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