History tell us that many great achievers are not more talented than the average Joe, but are just very motivated people, who tirelessly pursue their objectives, grinding through a lot of work, day after day, month after month, year after year.
Here are some quotes from my favourite artists:
"I can give you two pieces of advice for your career: 1) Don’t stop 2) Keep going" - Frank Zappa to a 18 year old Steve Vai, one of the best guitar players alive, when asked how to become a successful musician.
"What many players don’t get is that If you want to be the best, you need to work very hard… like 12 hours a day for 10/15 years…" - Yngwie Malmsteen, a guitar virtuoso who plays classical music on electric guitar.
If I look at the successful entrepreneurs I personally know, I can see the same pattern repeated over and over again.
The main investors in my current venture homestay.com for example, had to work for more than ten years on their respective businesses before getting the rewards for their efforts.
Another young entrepreneur I worked with in the UK had been working tirelessly from 6am till 8pm every day for 8 years before selling his business for big bucks - and I can swear he was no genius at all.
It’s true, there are many people who work hard for years and are not successful, but equally there are a lot of people who give up too early in the process.
Most people look for quick wins, and get easily frustrated if their efforts don’t pay off almost immediately.
This applies both at the macro and micro level.
At the macro level think for example of businesses tackling a given market sector, or people pursuing careers in a difficult field.
How many businesses would have been great if they only pushed through a rough time instead of giving up? How many people would have been great singers if only they believed in their capabilities and kept doing it full time?
At the micro level, think of your short term projects or your daily tasks.
How many projects have you started and abandoned mid way? (Does this sound familiar to any web developer here?)
How many tasks have you started and left half-done out of boredom?
We are immersed in an instant gratification culture, in which we get annoyed if we don’t get constant excitement from what we’re doing.
This is very risky, because not learning to put the hours in and persevere in the pursuit of our goals through tough times will be main limiting factor of our long term achievements.
Especially in the tech business world, we’re quick at glorifying shiny new techniques, tools, methodologies, we’re sucked into always posting on twitter, liking on facebook, reading techcrunch, being always connected - all in search of instant (subconscious) gratification.
And we forget what really matters, that to get shit done, you just need to sit down and do the work.
Sit down and do the bloody work.
Day. After day. After day.
We need to re-learn how to work hard and stick to our goals through good and bad times, if we really want to achieve the goals and the vision we have in our head.