All over the media, we are constantly bombarded with these stories of regular people suddenly becoming a success story “overnight”. At least, that’s what they want you to think. The media is a business, and they will pick and choose what to report to make the most money possible. It’s no secret that these “overnight success” stories create a lot of interest, because people are fascinated by the idea of going from zero to hero in an instant, and thus dream that it can happen to them as well.
The reality of it though, is that success isn’t as sexy as it is portrayed to be. To succeed at anything properly, it just doesn’t happen overnight. Let me take a recent example, the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Such precision on such a large scale production amazed people. What we see is the end result. However, they have been practicing for years. We are blind to the blood, sweat, and tears behind such success. The same can be said about the athletes performing in the Olympics. I have yet to come across an article that details the grueling training regimen that Michael Phelps has gone through over the years to be as successful as he has been at swimming.
I remember when I was working as a salesperson many years ago. When I got started, my goal was to be the best salesperson in the entire company. So I did what everyone else was omitting to do to be that great. I started work an hour earlier. I worked through my breaks, lunches, and was the last one to leave the office at the end of the day. Within a matter of a few months, I became the top salesperson in the company and of course became the highest paid one as well. Most people that worked around me thought I was just lucky. They looked at my numbers in the weekly stats with astonishment. I heard every compliment and criticism in the book. However, not one person ever mentioned that I was the hardest working one, which was a gigantic reason of my successes. After all, I was a newbie, yet I did far better than people with years of experience. Lucky, yes. Skilled, yes. Born to sell, yes. But never did I hear about my hard work.
When it comes to succeeding, there are no shortcuts. If you want to be the best at your profession, you need to work harder than anyone else. Sure, skills, talent, and intelligence play a part in your success. However, you will get nowhere in a hurry without combining those things with hard work. I have seen tons of people in my life that had all the potential in the world to be great at what they do. The reason that they did not succeed at the level that they could potentially reach was due to the fact that they just did not work hard enough. On the other hand, I have met lots of people that weren’t the smartest or naturally gifted for their profession, but their sheer dedication to working harder than everyone else ensured them the level of success that they finally achieved.
So whenever you want to assess how you are progressing within your own goals, judge yourself based on how hard you work. You can have all the talent in the world, but that talent is utterly useless unless you back it up with a strong work ethic. This is why success isn’t as sexy as it appears to be in movies and on TV. We focus on the destination, without having regards for the long journey that it took to get to that destination. The journey is the most important part, and you simply can’t sail through it easily. It takes patience, determination, hard work, and a relentless attitude. Sure, it doesn’t make for a feel-good story, but at least that’s the real deal. Success isn’t a straight line between point A and point B. It has many twists and turns, most of which will require a high level of dedication & “good old” hard work.