Recently I was thinking about successful people versus unsuccessful people. What is the difference? What is the secret ingredient to success? Why are some people successful, while others stay stuck in unpleasant circumstances?
As I began my search for the answers, I noticed one common denominator in all of the people who were successful. They worked hard to get where they are.
Throughout most of my life, I was a person that gave up when it got hard. I was all for hard work as long as I was seeing immediate results, but once I began to feel that my efforts were futile, I stopped trying. I would begin thinking, “What’s the point, I’m not getting anywhere anyway. Why bother?” And then I would give up altogether.
How many of us do that?
It’s so frustrating when we see others that seem to have it so easy. They are driving around in nice cars, living in beautiful homes and enjoying the good life. Their success seems so effortless.
What we don’t see is the years of constant work, struggle and yes, even failures, that got them to where they are today. We don’t see the inner fears they had to overcome in order to be so confident and successful.
It’s important to realize that success does not belong only to those who have high-priced educations. Success does not belong only to those who have money. Success does not belong only to those who are “lucky.” Success belongs only to those who are willing to work for it.
In this age of instant gratification, we have a society of people who are always looking for the easy way out. Myself included.
We are always looking for the “magic ticket” to a life of luxury and ease. For most of us, there will be no magic ticket. We must create our own ticket with the sweat from our very own brows – and there is no magic involved. But is that such a terrible thing?
I propose that we change the perception that hard work is so unpleasant. It doesn’t have to be. Hard work with no destination or goal in mind may be unpleasant, but what if we are working hard for a reason?
What if we view hard work as an opportunity? An opportunity to create a better life for ourselves and our families. An opportunity to experience a sense of satisfaction in creating the life we’ve always dreamed of.
It is also important to work smart in addition to working hard. In any endeavor, there are always a select few activities that are more important than the rest.
Many of us work hard on the wrong things because we are too frightened or intimidated to work on the important tasks. We need to get clear on exactly where we want to go, and focus on the specific activities that will get us there. If you want to be a writer, your number one task is to write. It’s great to research publishers, query letters and related information, but if you never actually write the book, where will that get you?
If you want to find more customers for your business, focus on promoting and advertising your products and services. If you want to lose weight, focus on making better food choices and increasing your physical activity.
Focus the majority of your time on those select few activities that will create results. It’s not rocket science.
Most of us know exactly what we need to do to achieve our goals, but we hold back out of fear or pure laziness. We spend our time on activities that won’t give us the results we desire, and then complain when we don’t get anywhere. We may be working hard, but we are not working smart.
Finally, be willing to continue working hard even if you are not seeing the results you desire. If you give up, then you definitely won’t be successful. Be one of those people that simply refuses to give up.
Believe that success is just around the next bend in the road. I recently read the story of a man who wanted to become an attorney. He failed the bar exam 47 times, finally passing it on the 48th attempt. When he was asked what kept him going back to try again, he said, “Every time I took the exam, I was sure I had passed it.”
With each attempt, he thought success was just around the corner. I wonder if he would have given up if he had known it would take so long to pass it? But he didn’t give up, and he was finally successful.
It is so exhilarating to know that we can create our own success, just as countless millions have done before us. We don’t need to have any more talent or ability than others have. We don’t need to be intellectual geniuses. We simply need to be willing to do the work.
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