“People only want to see success and not the constant work and discipline it took to get there. There are no shortcuts, only shortenings of learning curves.”
A monumental wave and problem faces teens and young adults these days. Everyone wants to be rich yesterday, right? So many get rich quick ventures, Instagram influencers throwing around fake hundred dollar bills, life coaches with no real-life experience, and other flawed businesses exist with no long term success or track record in mind. They promise you the world and tell you that you don’t have to work hard at all. That my friends is a lie and, if you hear that, run in the other direction as quickly as possible. Why is everyone sold on this myth that success happens overnight?
Well, there’s one thing I’m aware of and it’s this: You can’t build a six figure a year income or be a millionaire with a thirty-thousand, forty-thousand or fifty-thousand dollar-a-year mindset and habits.
Values, integrity, credibility, respect, honor, keeping your word, talking with your feet and not so much your mouth are multiple attributes that will get those who want it very far in life.
Allow me to provide some context. You see, although my family didn’t have much discretionary money growing up, my mom and dad were set on giving me the kind of opportunities they never got. That’s called sacrifice for your reason why and giving to your only child. My dad graduated from West Virginia University in the late 1970’s and my mom never went to college. My parents always pushed me and sacrificed almost everything to get me the kind of education that only the well-to-do kids in our town and state of Pennsylvania could afford without having to go into any debt.
The experiences, in addition to many others, was a blessing in many ways, toughening my resolve and lighting a fire under my ass later on for my drive to succeed. Not so much for me, but more importantly, for them. It was made clear to me there was a hard line between the haves and the have-nots. You should be sickened to be poor or operate from a lack-there-of mindset. An abundance mindset honestly wasn’t something I adopted until I was around 24–25 years old.
Hard work. I reassured myself, was one of the ways I’d beaten the odds and gotten into Washington & Jefferson College. However, I made an observation late 2014 and early 2015 that would alter the way I viewed the world and my surroundings. It isn’t always about hard work.
People, who I was witnessing reach professional heights unknown to my father and mother, helped each other. Shocking to think of in our global business worlds, marketplaces and competitive landscapes. But when you think about it, doing the right thing is always the right thing. These individuals found one another jobs, got the right internships, they invested time and money in one another’s ideas and businesses, and they made sure their kids got help getting into the best schools, universities and locating to top-tier cities around America.
Before my eyes, I saw proof that success does breed more and more success and, indeed, the rich do get richer. Not always monetarily though. Their web of friends, connections and associates was the most powerful club the people I saw had in their possessions. Poverty, which I later came to realize, wasn’t only a lack of financial resources, mindset and abundance; it was also isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself, your last name, and ultimately, your legacy.
To achieve any goals, dreams, ambitions, causes or any real success in life, I realized later on, it matters less how smart you are, how much talent you are or are not born with, or even where you came from and how much you started out with. Surely all of those mentioned are important, but they mean little to anyone if you don’t understand this: You can’t get there alone. In fact, you can’t get very far at all!
Let’s look at Bill Gates and a quick story of his upbringing. He is almost as well known as the Beatles’. A brilliant, young, math-genius whiz discovers computer programming and Paul Allen at an early age. Drops out of Harvard. Starts a little computer company called Microsoft with his friends. Through sheer brilliance, ambition and guts builds it into the giant of the software industry and world. That my friends is simply the broad outline. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into his 10,000 hours and the experience he gained.
Long story short, Bill Gates was able to do real-time programming as an eighth grader in 1968. He was easily bored by his studies, which most kids these days can relate with, so his parents actually took him out of public school and sent him to Lakeside, which was a private school that catered to Seattle’s wealthy families. He was hooked on computers (not hooked on phonics) from that moment forward.
“It was my obsession,” Gates says of his early high school days. “I skipped athletics. I went up there at night. We were programming on weekends. It would be a rare week that we wouldn’t get twenty or thirty hours in. For teens, college students, and young adults the same mindset and philosophy needs to be adopted. Passion is one thing, however, find a line of work, a career field or profession that you can become completely obsessed with. That’s the only type of way you’ll start on the path to finding and coming up with the specialized experience that’s hard to find in today’s day and age.
All of the extra opportunities Gates was presented with early on in his teens and young adult years were capitalized on to make him the successful powerhouse and titan he is today, in addition to Microsoft. Is he an outlier? Yes, that argument can be made. But he did have extra time to practice at the end of the day. He has the same 24 hours in a day that we all do. And we now know that practice alone doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice is the only thing that makes perfect, right?
By the time Gates dropped out of Harvard after only his sophomore year to try his hand at his own software business, he’d been programming practically nonstop for seven consecutive years. He was way past the ten thousand hour mark by that point. Ask yourself, what have you done consistently for seven years? And I’m talking to myself too, this is practically my living room!
Nonetheless, how many teenagers in the world had the kind of experience Gates had? Not many but do not be fearful. I promise you have the ability to build something just as successful as he did, unfortunately though, there will only ever be one Microsoft.
Constant Work and Discipline
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. Success doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. Neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next episode. What you ultimately become is the result of what you do today.
How many of you have heard something along those lines before? It’s not always what you do monthly, quarterly or yearly, but on a consistent daily basis that matters. Do you wake up when your alarm first rings? Do you workout, run, stretch, practice yoga or lift weights on a consistent basis? Do you make your bed everyday? Do you make an effort to meet new people everyday? Do you talk to your siblings consistently? What about your close friends? I certainly hope your mom and dad are on that list too!
In addition to the simple items and tasks, do you pick up and read a book everyday? Are you stimulating your subconscious mind with music or are you listening to podcasts and audios from successful individuals who are willing to teach you? Do you stimulate your brain with new research and growth? Are you taking care of your health and overall wellness? What does your diet consist of? Are your micronutrient levels high or low? What about the macros? Do you believe in and support healthy supplementation? Do you meditate once or twice a day? Do you journal? Do you have enough healthy sex? What about your daily relationships and associations? Are those positive or negative?
The reason why I’m mentioning all of these different, wide-ranging and various topics is because their importance should be very high to you and I. Just like how shelter, food, water and clothing are top of mind for us, so is what you do on a daily consistent basis.
We certainly are creatures of habit so expect your habits to inevitably shape the man or woman you are. We are exactly where we are today on this snowy (in some parts of the world) Wednesday, March 21, 2018 because of the thoughts, decisions, choices and habits we’ve become accustomed to on a daily basis. This isn’t rocket science folks! The “secrets” to success and, ultimately being successful or not in life, come down to the choices we make.
The difference between success and failure is rather easy. You see the individuals who succeed in life simply did what the individuals who failed didn’t do or were not willing to do. I’m sure many of you have heard of the iceberg analogy, correct? People see the outside picture, character, successful story, individual or final product. However, they’re never fully exposed to that person’s story or aware of what he or she is doing behind the scenes in private. Allow this picture to explain what I mean if you haven’t seen it already:
Success vs Successful
“There is no such thing as a “self-made” man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.” — George Burton Adams
Yes, there’s a big difference between those two words. To begin, success is temporary. It can last a day, a week or even a month. However, eventually is can and will subside just like someone who’s highly motivated at one point and not the next. On the contrary, being successful is long term. It takes discipline, consistency and both hard and smart work. I think of athletes such as Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Usain Bolt, Tom Brady and many others who have had incredibly long and successful professional careers.
Everyone’s going to have their own definition of what success is to you. Yes you should listen to what others are saying, and most importantly, doing. But at the end of the day, mold your own words, thoughts, feelings and dreams together in order to make sure all of the pieces fit nicely.
In closing, please remember that nothing is guaranteed, given or simply placed in our laps overnight. Trust me, I did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth nor would I have wanted to. I’ve worked since the age of 14 years old and am grateful my father taught me how to have a good work ethic. Now, by working hard and smart through systems, teamwork, leverage, and leadership, I’m on a path in which I’m forever grateful for.
Even if it does take you three, five, eight, ten, hell even twelve or twenty plus years to become an overnight success, it’s much better than ten seconds of fame on television or fake influence on social media that a lot of us have been exposed to in our digital age. It’s going to take constant work, discipline, long hours, sweat equity, grit and persistence to truly get to where you want to be in life. Thankfully, you are more than capable of getting there as long as you stay consistent and committed to mastery and the constant improvement of yourself.
Thanks for reading!
My Very Best,