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. He is not particularly talented. Suffering from low self-esteem he decides that he will challenge himself and try to win a public speaking contest taking place in his town three month from now. He joins a public speaking group and starts practicing one hour every day after work and practices almost 10 hours every weekend. His friends are really impressed at how hard he is working.
However, the several speeches he gave at his local association were not very good. In addition to that, people keep telling him that there is no way he can win the competition and that he should be realistic. He gradually loses confidence and feels like he is worthless. “They are right” he tells himself. “I should be more realistic”.
He is getting more and more demotivated and scared, and finally decides not to join the contest.
“I have no talent” he says to himself. His family and friends are not surprised to see him giving up. What was he expecting after all?
Peter has a classic 9-To-5 job. He is not particularly talented. Suffering from low self-esteem, he decides that he will join and win the same public speaking contest that John intended to join. He practices the same number of hours as John. The several speeches he gave at his local association were not very good and people keep telling him that he cannot win the competition. He starts getting demotivated too.
Then, as he is thinking of giving up, he comes across a biography of a highly successful person at the library and is literally shocked to see how hard that person is working both on himself and on his job. His work ethic is insane and his self-reflection incredible. He suddenly realizes that what he was doing was a joke. He wasn’t really working hard.
He starts studying 4 hours every day and 20 hours during the weekend. Every weekend he spends hours and hours filming his speeches. He analyzes every single of his movements, observes meticulously the way he talks as well as the ton of his voice. He shows his videos to several of his friends and asks constant feedback. He stops going out and instead uses his money to take a public speaking course online and buy the best books and CDs available on the topic. During his preparation for the contest he thought about giving up several times. However, he remembers why it is so important for him. His brother was a drug addict who died last year from an overdose and Peter’s deepest desire is to talk to kids as well as adults to raise awareness about drug addiction. He wants his speeches to reflect what he really feels inside and convince kids not to do drugs.
Prior to the contest, he records his speech 462 times and wins the contest. The guy who finishes second comes to congratulate him and says “Good job man. I wish I had your talent”.
I just made up that story but I have no doubt that it could have been a true story.
The point is: most people are not doing what it takes to be successful and the sad thing is that they just don’t realize it. They have wrong beliefs about talent. They don’t understand that they have way more potential than they believe. If only they could break through social conditioning and false beliefs.
However, that’s wonderful news for you! Imagine if everyone around you had an empowering belief system and work so hard that you couldn’t possible outwork them. Then how could you succeed in whatever you want to do? Especially if, like most of us, you are not a genius.
You are lucky because in reality most people don’t even work half as hard as truly successful people are, their belief system sucks, they’re scared of failure, have no perseverance and give up after the first major setback. They haven’t found anything they are really passionate about. They are all over the place and in the end never master anything in particular. Of course, under those conditions, achieving goals becomes quite challenging as you can imagine. Unfortunately, it is what happens to most of us.
When looking at success from that angle, suddenly, success becomes quite predictable and working hard on yourself makes perfect sense.
In this article I would like to argue that success is highly predictable. In order to do that, I would like to share with you the recipe for success. Don’t forget that it is a recipe, not a magic formula! Hard work on yourself and on your job is an absolute MUST! It’s not a perfect law either.
The definition of success I want to use for this article is as follows:
“Success is doing what you love to do and contributing to society the way you want”.
After all, if you are making a lot of money but are unhappy what’s the point? Money as a by-product of success is nice, but seeing money as success itself is quite misleading.
Here is the list of ingredients for the recipe:
- Passion (extreme dose)
- Faith (extreme dose)
- Limiting beliefs (minimal dose)
- Hard work (extreme dose)
- Perseverance (extreme dose)
- Focus (extreme dose)
Here is the formula:
The way you see reality is based on your current belief system. If your belief system sucks, you will never be able to tap into the great power unleashed by your passion and to persevere long enough and work hard enough to succeed. Extreme focus will allow you to become a true expert in your field.
Let’s explain the role of each ingredient now.
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 Job
Why are you doing what you are doing? Why is it so important to you?
You need passion to be truly successful. If your why is not strong enough you will quit when it gets very tough.
Passion is what will enable you to persevere when more talented people than you give up. It is what will make it possible for you to outwork smarter people than you and make huge sacrifice when necessary.
If you look at really successful people business wise, you will find people who are truly passionate about what they are doing. Otherwise they won’t be where they are. They would have given up a long long time ago like “sane” people. Why would you put up with constant worries, insane workload and multiple setbacks if you don’t truly love what you do?
Whatever passion you are pursuing, you have to be aware that it will requires you great sacrifices and extreme dedication over a long period of time. You might have to work thousands of hours before you start making any money. Two types of person would do that: mentally ill person or passionate person.
However, passion alone won’t be 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
No matter how passionate you are, if you don’t walk by faith and don’t believe that you can do it, at some point in your journey you’re going to face a wall that will be too high for you to climb. You will give up. You must learn to strengthen your faith every day to supercharge your passion and take more and more action.
Imagine for a while that you lost your memory after an accident and remember absolutely nothing. Let’s say I tell you that you are the most famous motivational speaker in the world, going on stage every week in front of thousands of people. What impact will it have on you? How would you behave? Now, if I tell you that you were a depressed and suicidal person and were totally isolated talking to nobody, how differently would you behave? How much confidence would you have?
Our belief system directly determines what we think we can do and can’t do, and, as the result, determines whether we will take action or not. Unfortunately, nobody taught us how to create a healthy belief system and tap into the power of our mind. All the limitations you have in your life are artificial. They are simply a construction of reality based on your interpretation of past events (see my article on limiting beliefs). I guarantee you that if you don’t take care of these limiting beliefs you will be stuck where you are for the rest of life. That’s what happens to most people. They got caught by disempowering beliefs and are never able to break through.
Limiting beliefs are like driving a car with the handbrake on. You can’t go far. You sabotage yourself without even realizing it. You give up because “everything you do sucks” or because “you are stupid”. In many cases it doesn’t even occur to you that things you desire are actually achievable. Or you might not even allow yourself to have those thoughts.
You MUST start working on your limiting beliefs every day if you want to restart the engine.
It is ONLY when your faith becomes stronger than your limiting beliefs that you will really start taking significant actions towards your goal.
- Identify your limiting beliefs (See Step 2: Identify Limiting Beliefs – How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs or download my free e-book)
- Work on deconstructing your limiting beliefs
- Take consistent actions every day and achieve small goals to build momentum and confidence
Hard Work + Perseverance
Only passion and faith can give us the strength and motivation to work extremely hard and persevere despite the multiple setbacks that we will 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
Who can pretend that he/she is working so hard that he/she has no time to watch TV, no time to have hobbies, no time to take a day off or even no time to eat? Not many people.
The main reason why most of us fail is because of unreasonable expectations. We are over-optimistic when we set goals for ourselves. We naively expect things to go relatively smoothly. As a result, a couple of setbacks backed up is enough to create self-doubt and make us quit.
For some reasons, we wrongly believe that other people are more talented than us. We then give up when we realize that we have no “talent“. As a result, on one hand you have a majority of people that tell excuses to each other about their lack of talent and luck, and fail to realize they are not doing what it takes to succeed. On the other hand you have people who as would say Schwarzenegger “works their butt off”. The reality is that most people’s belief system is wrong. They’re operating their life under wrong assumptions. It is not that they have no talent, it is simply that they don’t realize that they are not doing what it takes. They just don’t know. The myth of talent takes its toll on most of us.
It is okay to have no particular ambition. It’s great if you are happy where you are now. However, if there is something you really want to achieve in your life, don’t do 50% and expect to succeed.
When I read a book written by Sir Templeton I was literally shocked to learn how hard he was working. 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 their job, but also that they work incredibly hard on themselves. They are embodying personal development!
What most of us think is hard working is not. We are not even close from that. If you really want to make your ambitious dreams happen, you are going to have to do more than that!
- 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 a wrong relation with failure. Of course, you should do everything you can to prevent failure from happening. However, the fact is that you will encounter failures on your way towards your goal. You should remind yourself that failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of the process called success.
Failure is no more than a sign that the misalignment between our actions and our goals has become too big and that something needs to be done. What we call failure can be interpreted as a way for our brain to tell us that we are going into the wrong direction and need to make some major adjustments to realign our actions with our goal. Failure should be turn into a learning opportunity. Real failure is when we learn nothing from failure.
Whenever you want to quit you have to remember this: when it becomes very hard and you want to quit, 95% of the people in your situation feel the same. Now, tell me, did you work so hard on your goal to end up doing like average people? When you started working on your dream did you say to yourself “I love what I am doing and I want be great at it, I want to be the best I possibly can, but I will quit exactly when all other people quit! Really? Why did you get started in the first place then?
Here is a good rule of thumb. When you really feel like quitting consider that it is when the show begins! It is when you actually start separating yourself from the rest by refusing to quit.
The truth is that you are going to fail. Thus, if you really want to be able to persevere no matter what, you MUST prepare yourself mentally to fail:
- Think about everything that can go wrong and visualize it. Exaggerate it by including totally improbable situations.
- Project yourself into the future and imagine how you would deal with these “failures”.
- Ask yourself what you are ready to go through before giving up.
- Set a timeframe during which you commit yourself to never give up no matter what. Then, when the deadline comes, decide whether you should give up or not.
- 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 become one of the best at what you do. Then, you must focus on the few tasks that have the most impact. You must be clear on what to do, but also on what NOT to do. It is easy to get distracted and to waste time on petty tasks and I know what I’m talking about!
- Identity the tasks that will have the most impact and will contribute the most to your success and spend most of your time doing them
- Ask yourself: is what I’m doing now the best thing to do?
- Ask yourself: if I keep doing every day what I’ve done today will I achieve my goal?
Supercharge your passion by building unshakable faith, work your butt off, persevere no matter what and focus until you become an expert and even genius won’t be able to catch up with you!
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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development