There are a million articles and books on success that serve up concepts, platitudes, and quotes. This wisdom is nice and is needed. More importantly, the wisdom needs actioned on to be of any consequence. Just reading a quote or concept does not put you on a better path to success. It may make you feel good for a minute, but that is about it.
Outside of platitudes, mantras, and quotes; there are some brutal truths about what it takes to truly succeed that cannot be ignored and everyone should know. Here are 10 of them.
1.) The world doesn't give a shit about you, your idea, or how great you think you are or can be.
The world simply doesn't care. It is up to you to make something of yourself and grab your version of success. The sooner you realize this, the better. You cannot just cling to "hope." Hope by itself is not a strategy. But hope backed by committed action and unwavering, relentless pursuit of a dream can move mountains. Show the world how big of a mountain you can move.
2.) You will not truly succeed (defined as being among the best in your chosen field of expertise) without a deep passion and obsession that causes you to commit fully and sacrifice even the smallest comforts to reach it.
If greatness and high levels of success were easy, everyone would accomplish them. The truth is that most people go through their lives with their brakes on. You know the type. The people that talk about all the amazing things they could be doing and should be doing. They dream and dream and dream, but stay stuck in the same dead end job or position they have always be in. They never even give it a shot. And one day they wake up and realize what they missed and they can't get it back. Don't do this to yourself. Seek out and find the one thing you have a deep, unending passion and obsession for - the mission from which there is no turning back and then go. See it through to every end. And realize that the mission/vision you start out with will change many times along the way, embrace that, roll with it...and see #3 below.
3.) An idea means nothing, execution means everything.
Just because you have an idea or dream, even with great passion, doesn't mean it will be remotely successful unless you execute and act on it. Ideas and dreams happen every second, but unfortunately most of them never come true. That is because people don't act on them. Execution should be your focus, even more than the dream. Always be hustling and putting effort into exactly what you know is needed to make things happen. Plan for it and plan again, again, and again. Write down every step and action needed and then follow them maniacally. And see #4...
4.) You will need to become extremely good at the little things and develop a good attention to detail.
A big part of success in your execution comes down to the little things. Successful people don't do one thing exceptionally better than others, they do a lot of little things just a bit better. The win in the margins. You will need to commit to doing this as well. That means doing to the things you don't want to do like documenting your processes and creating SOP's (standard operating procedures) for how you operate so that others can follow them. It means being structured with your time and deliberate about what you do every hour of the day. It means making sure you are spending time on tasks that are the highest value priorities and either removing or delegating the rest. It means thinking at higher levels and learning from people that have been and done what you want to do.
5.) You will need to seek out new friends and level up along the way.
As you grow in your success path, you will need to seek out new friends and mentors and spend time with those that can challenge you and help you reach new levels. This will require you to spend less time with those that don't do these things or worse, attempt to hold you back. Sometimes it will mean the end of a friendship or partnership.
6.) The only real motivation comes from within.
Reading a meme, watching an inspirational video, or hearing a speech will motivate someone for about two seconds if they aren't motivated themselves. True motivation comes from within and you will need to get a good understanding of what that is for you, because you will need it. The road to success is not always sunshine and lollipops and you will have to be willing to do what no one else is willing to do. During these times is when your grit and determination will need to manifest itself and you will need to ignite your internal motivation engine to make that happen. Look inside yourself and know what motivates you.
7.) You can't have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.
Here's a shocker. Whatever you are after in your pursuit of success, it will take very hard and very smart work. You must have both. I know people who work very, very hard, but never reach new levels of success because their mind is stuck in a way of thinking. You must be constantly thinking about and challenging your assumptions and perceived limitations. You must work smart with your mind in addition to the hard physical work you will do.
8.) You will want to quit many times.
There will be so many times you want to quit and this will be your biggest challenge because it is so easy to do. Quitting is instant gratification. One decision and your done - all your problems washed away. Or are they? Quitting is tough. It is tough mentally, physically, and stays with you over time. Quitting what you truly believe is your mission will stay with you for the rest of your life and hurts the soul. Failing is different. Failing can happen, even with every effort, option, and action exhausted. You can get back up and try again after failing. Quitting is the end. My advice if you truly have found your mission - never, ever, every quit or give up. It is often right after breaking through a time where you want to quit where great things happen.
9.) You will have times where you are out of balance with your family and loved ones and must be willing to admit to it and work to come back in balance.
Relationships are work. Whether with your spouse or significant other, business partner, etc., you will have challenges and must be willing to work hard to get through them. You will be closer after having done so. Being obsessed and doing whatever it takes to reach your goal will put you out of balance at times. In fact, it will most likely be when you are on a hot streak and everything is going well because it is fueling you and you are putting in more time seeing the success in front of you. Be conscious, especially if you are married with a family, of the toll this can have on them. They know you are not doing it on purpose and that you love them, but you will need to do a balance check once in a while. I learned this over time and am fortunate to have an amazing wife that supports all that I do. In fact, a secret I learned is to work in short bursts ( a few weeks or month of highly intense, concentrated work) and then follow them up with some scheduled downtime to bring things back in balance. It makes a big difference.
10: Success is built on consistency
No matter how good your idea is or how good you are...or even how hard you are able to work, if you are not consistent, you will not be able to attain and sustain success. That is why structure and routine is so important to succeeding. You must be willing to commit to consistent action toward your desired success and not skip the little things or "take the day off." You can schedule these things in your routine, but should not "just wing it." It is like an exercise routine. Once you start to slack off or skip a day here or there, it begins to fall apart. Remember, how you do anything is how you do everything.
It is easy to think that people succeed because they have something you don't or are lucky. But in reality, they have embraced the brutal truth of what it takes to succeed, make the sacrifices, do the the things that others aren't willing to do, and never quit or stop. You can do this to. Get going.