The More You Can Get Yourself to Do Hard Things, the More Success You’ll Achieve
“Only in a state of discomfort can you grow.” -Bill Eckstrom, Tedx Speaker
Often, you have to do the opposite of what you want to get better.
But the thing about doing hard things is that they’re, well…hard. Best-selling author Seth Godin wrote a book describing this phenomenon called The Dip; at some point, it gets really hard to keep going on your path to mastery. This part of the journey is the “dip,” where most people give up; it’s why so few people ever master anything.
But the more you can get yourself to do things you usually don’t want to do — things like:
- Wake up early
- Eat healthier foods
- Cut off toxic friends
- Drink less caffeine & alcohol
- Have difficult conversations
- Admit your shortcomings
- Watch less TV
- Read more
…the more success you’ll experience. Because by doing things you don’t want to do, you increase your capacity to earn more income, have better relationships, experience better health, sleep better, work longer, feel more creative, and increase your energy to do more and more.
It is by doing hard things that we become “harder” ourselves — more resilient, resourceful, and creative. This will increase our influence, which increases our affluence. Small things become big things — what you do today sets you up for success tomorrow. You reap what you sow.
If I can be blunt, entering into the top 5% of your field actually isn’t that difficult. Just like you can lose an incredible amount of weight in a short time (water weight), you can achieve incredible results with a few simple lifestyle changes.
You have no excuse to achieve incredible results very quickly. All it takes is getting yourself to do the things you usually don’t want to do.
“If you can get through the Dip, if you can keep going when the system is expecting you to stop, you will achieve extraordinary results.” -Seth Godin
Consistency Beats Talent, Luck, Good Intentions, Even Quality
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” -Darren hardy
There’s an old Haitian proverb that goes, “Beyond mountains are more mountains.” Those who can keep overcoming obstacles are the ones that will be successful, because the truth is, obstacles never stop.
That might seem depressing to you. It did to me. I guess I was hoping that at some point, things would stop being so hard and get easier.
The truth is, things do get easier — losing weight, paying off debt, starting a business, jogging. You just gotta do them every day. You need to be consistent. Because consistency beats talent, good intentions, and luck.
When discussing how he was able to develop mastery in so many areas — bodybuilding, real estate, entrepreneurship, politics, acting — Arnold Schwarzenegger put it simply:
“The more you do it, the more automatic it becomes, and the less effort it takes.”
This is why my most common advice to new writers is to just click “publish,” then do it again. And again. And many more times after that. Then come back after you’ve learned consistency, and we’ll talk.
The thing is, most people still value talent over consistency. Perseverance isn’t sexy — being “a natural” is. Because everyone wants to be incredible without doing the work.
In his autobiography, Steve Martin (perhaps one of the most successful comedians in history) described his path to ultra-stardom: “Perseverance is a great substitute for talent,” he wrote. “My course was more plodding than heroic: I did not strive valiantly against doubters but took incremental steps studded with a few intuitive leaps.”
Be more persistent than you are talented. Great results will follow. Many of the world’s most successful people got there by sheer consistency, lacking talent of any kind.
The truth is, you’re likely “talented” in very few areas. But that doesn’t matter, because consistency beats talent. Consistency beats pedigree, wealth, luck, and, frankly, even quality. If you can “be so good they can’t ignore you,” to quote Steve Martin’s famous advice, you can achieve the success reserved for the top 1% of your field.
Many people will still always value talent over consistency. That’s fine. But this rabid fascination with talent leaves people with a very narrow view of the truth — that how much you improve is entirely up to you. Anders Ericsson, the father of “Deliberate Practice” and high-level performance coach, once wrote:
“There is no point at which performance maxes out and additional practice does not lead to further improvement.”
Most people will always value innate talent over unstoppable consistency.
What they don’t realize is that consistency is better than talent, and some of the world’s most prolific and successful individuals got there simply because they didn’t give up when everyone else did.
“Small, seemingly inconsistent steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.” -Darren Hardy
Here’s How Extremely Successful People Upgraded From Mediocre to Extraordinary
“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao
As the old saying goes, “what got you here won’t get you there.”
Right now, your life is a product of your past choices. Unfortunately, these choices have led many people to find themselves at a total plateau — physically and mentally, in their careers, relationships, health, and finances. How do they upgrade and evolve?
A major reason people plateau is their environment constantly reinforcing the idea that achieving huge success — the kind reserved for celebrities, athletes, and CEO’s — can’t be done by regular people. In response to this widespread mentality, best-selling author Grant Cardone once wrote:
“Take into account that you have been educated with restrictions. Be aware of this so that you don’t underestimate the possibilities.”
Most people don’t believe in virtually limitless success. They have slowly but definitely accepted that they’ll never enter into the top of their fields, and so settle for second-best, fighting with all the others for the scraps.
Dr. David Schwartz, another best-selling author, put it another way: “All around you is an environment that is trying to pull you down to Second-Class street.” Here’s the thing — it is possible to achieve enormous success if you’re an Average Joe. This is because you can grow to become as big as you want. You need to protect yourself from the voices of doubters and nay-sayers.
Where you are now is a direct result of your choices, actions, and behaviors. If you want what you’ve never had — 100% financial independence, a sublimely intimate marriage, unshakeable self-confidence, whatever — it only makes sense that you’ll need to do what you’ve never done.
Like so many others, I saw my parents’ marriage end in divorce. For as long as I can remember, they didn’t have a good relationship. After 19 years, the divorce papers just seemed like a formality.
I had the self-awareness to know that without some major changes in my life, I was highly likely to end up just like them. I had no model for a healthy marriage or even healthy relationships. I had avoided responsibility for my problems, and instead of confronting difficult issues, I binged on pornography, video games, and mental fantasy for most of my life.
That’s when I made the decision to go to counseling and therapy. I began the long, difficult process of shedding my emotional baggage and learning how to have healthy relationships. My wife and I have been married for 4 years, and it’s safe to say marriage is better than anything I literally thought was possible.
This is the result of taking responsibility for yourself and deciding you won’t stay in the mud from your past. It’s worked for me, and it’ll work for you too — if you work for it.
“You got this far operating under one set of assumptions. Abandoning those assumptions and embracing a new, bigger set may be exactly what you need to do to get to the next level.” -Seth Godin
You Are the Biggest Limit on Your Capacity For Success
“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” -Leonardo DiCaprio
There’s a lesson all entrepreneurs and business owners need to learn before they can be successful — the growth of your project is limited by you. Your income, influence, growth, and trajectory all have a limit: you.
This is what best-selling author Hal Elrod meant when he wrote, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” Often, the reason you haven’t achieved your goals yet is because you simply aren’t able to handle them yet.
For the most part, people aren’t ready for their biggest goals — millions of dollars, a highly-intimate relationship with a high-powered partner, and influence to affect millions of people. Because what happens when you pour a gallon of water into a 10oz cup? It makes a mess.
If your finances are out of control while you’re making $50,000/year, how can you expect to manage them making $5,000,000/year? (Remember what Robert Kiyosaki wrote in Rich Dad Poor Dad: “More money does not solve the problem: in many cases, the compounds the problem.”).
If you’re single, ask yourself — what would an extremely successful, beautiful, strong, high-achieving partner think of your life right now? Would they want to date you? Perhaps not.
Jason Russel was the co-founder of Invisible Children, a non-profit based on ending child slavery in Africa. When their Kony 2012 video went viral, Russel couldn’t handle the pressure from such instant, massive stardom. He had to be detained by police for a severe mental breakdown in public as he ran nude through the streets.
We attract what we are. If you don’t have the success you want yet, it’s likely you wouldn’t even be able to handle it yet. That’s OK — it just means you need to focus on increasing your capacity.
“If you want more, you need to become more.” -Jim Rohn
Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect, once told a story about how he ended up with his wife.
When he was in his 20’s, he began compiling an enormous list of every attribute he wanted his future wife to have. He eventually filled 40 pages detailing the most exquisite and perfect match he could think of.
At the end of his writing, he realized something very important:
Any woman like that wouldn’t want to have anything to do with someone like him!
Hardy realized he needed to become a far better version of himself to attract a woman like that.
You must become a far better version of yourself to achieve the enormous success you want.
You see what you look for. If you believe monumental growth and never-before-seen success aren’t possible, you’ll become right. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The great performers, leaders, and influencers in the world have always believed their great victories were bound to happen.
Sadly, this is the opposite of how most people think. Most people are convinced enormous success is reserved only for the talented, the lucky, the “chosen.”
But the truth is, you can make any amount of success you want — as long as you put in the work. You can have whatever you want (if you do whatever it takes).
Focus on increasing your ability and capacity for success, and success will come. Better yet, you’ll be able to manage it, not become overwhelmed by the fame that corrupts so many unsuspecting individuals.
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