Have you ever wondered why some people are successes, and others are failures? Why there are some people who drive BMWs to work, while others can barely afford the payments on a sensible compact car? Well, there are a lot of reasons. Luck plays a big part, since those born into the right family, and money, are more likely to be playing the game of life on easy mode. The same is true for those who just happened to invest in the right project, or who wrote just the right book at just the right time. Some people have a better education, and some people are more clever, but none of these things are the deciding factor.
All things being equal, those who succeed are the ones who have a gun pointed at their heads.
The word want means different things to different people. For example, when some people see an actor or model with rippling pectorals and 6-pack abs, and say, “man, I want to look like that,” they’re expressing a fantasy. What they mean is they’d really like to look that way, but if they don’t, that’s fine. If there was a magic pill they could take, or a button they could press, they’d happily do that. But do they want to change their eating habits? Go to the gym every day? Not really.
But when a successful person says they want to look like that, what they mean is, “I want that body, and I’m going to start sculpting myself to look like that right now.”
As David Wong said in 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Life (Without Knowing It), you could do anything if you had someone pointing a gun at your head. Can’t do one more sit-up? Can’t push yourself off the ground one more time? Can’t pedal one more mile? All of these things would become a lot easier for you to do if you knew someone was lining up cross-hairs on you, and that if you didn’t do it, you’d be shot.
That’s the kind of motivation that drives you forward. That keeps you up planning, and which gives you the energy you need to push hard, and long. It isn’t just that you want to do something, it’s that you want it badly enough that you are not going to stop until you have achieved your goals. Whatever it takes, that’s what you do.
You Don’t Need The How, You Need The Why
Think about accomplishing a difficult task. Say, for example, someone wants to quit smoking. What do you think would be a more effective tactic? An ad that provides smokers with effective methods of quitting, and which details all of the options they have available? Or a piece of horror movie propaganda, showing diseased lungs, cancerous gums, and the wretched, hacking coughs of a lifelong addict hooked up to an iron lung? You’d think the first ad would be more effective, right? After all, people are smart, and they don’t like being scaremongered. However, according to Science Daily, you’re more likely to get positive results from the horror show, instead of the well-reasoned how-to.
Why is that?
Well, because people are smart. Figuring out how to do something is not an issue if we decide we need to do it. Whether it’s getting a better job, earning a degree, getting in shape, or any of a thousand other things, the most important element is drive. If you have the drive, then you’ll be motivated to discover the how. And, perhaps more importantly, to keep trying different methods until you eventually find one that actually does what you want it to.
Put another way, if someone loses fifty pounds on the Adkins diet, they didn’t lose that weight because they discovered the secret mystery to weight loss. If they’d counted calories, gone on the South Beach diet, or tried any of a dozen different methods, the results would have been the same. The important factor is that the person wanted to lose weight, and wanted it badly enough to change their behavior and lifestyle in order to make it happen.
Keep Your Pilot Light Burning
There are, of course, too many factors that go into success to predict what will work, and what won’t. However, an all-consuming drive to achieve your goals is the first, and most important, element of the formula. Because drive is what makes you research the market, and find out how you can get a place in it. Drive is what makes you practice until you have mastered a craft, and you can do it in your sleep better than most people can do it while they’re at the top of their game. And, perhaps most importantly, drive is what makes you pick yourself up, and dust off, after every failure.
Success isn’t something most of us get right the first time. We need to try, and fail, and try again until we finally get it right. Talent helps, connections and networking help, and sheer, random luck helps, but what makes the difference is the personal drive, the all-consuming need, that means you will not accept failure. It might take time, and it might take a lot of effort and sacrifice (in fact, it’s almost guaranteed to), but drive will, eventually, lead you to success.