You vs. Who You Want to Be

Photo by Oziel Gómez on Unsplash

This isn’t profound.

It’s not sexy either.

It’s really kind of boring, and it’s been said a zillion different times.

Yet here I am, saying it.

I used to think this idea was bullshit:

“There’s no substitute for hard work.”

I was convinced that, if I worked “smarter, not harder,” I’d be able to achieve success without breaking a sweat.

I thought people who worked long hours worked on the wrong things. I thought people who worked really hard were wasting their effort.

I was wrong. Very wrong. There really is no substitute for hard work.

(Do I sound old yet?)

Here’s what I mean:

The guy who has a “million-dollar idea” won’t succeed.

Everybody has a “million-dollar idea.” I’ll bet $20 you’ve got an uncle that looks at (insert product here) and says:

“You know, I had that same idea!”

Cool.

Success isn’t predicated on good ideas. It’s predicated on hard work.

For example:

Airbnb is a terrible idea on paper.

“Oh, absolutely! I would looooove to have strangers from the internet stay the night in my house!”

said no one, ever.

Now, Airbnb is worth over $30 billion.

I bet it took A LOT of hard work to convince people they should let strangers sleep in their houses.

Success is earned by the people who work late. People who work hard on the right things. People who wake up early and get after it, not because they’re “morning people,” but because they have a mission.

These people don’t have any tricks. It’s not that they know some secret life hack you don’t. It’s that they actually do the work.

See, I get caught up on how a lot.

“How did you write that article? Tell me your process!”

“Woah! How did you learn to do a backflip!?”

“How do you get up at 5AM every day!?”

But how doesn’t matter.

Do you want to know the real difference between you and the people who are achieving your dreams?

They do the work.

Again. And again. And again.

The first thing they wrote wasn’t an awesome article. It was probably a dumb squiggly crayon line on their bedroom wall.

They didn’t land a backflip the first time they tried. They probably flailed around like an idiot and almost broke their neck.

They don’t have a special trick that makes them SUPER ALERT when their alarm goes off at 5AM. They’re probably just as tired as you when you wake up.

But they don’t waste time worrying about how.

They just do it.

(I apologize for the blatant use of the Nike slogan, but you gotta admit: it fits nicely, doesn’t it?)

If you want to achieve your goals, you don’t need to work smarter. You don’t need a new strategy, a new hack, or a new how.

You just need to get out there and work. Everything else will come after that.

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