It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.— Albert Einstein
Every human brain has a built-in capacity to become, over time, what we demand of it. No two people are born with the exact same potential. And no ability is fixed. If you want to choose to be your authentic self, you can let go of who you think you should be to be who you are.
It’s easier to transform your passion into your job than finding a job that matches your what you love to do. You don’t have to choose between “doing what you love” and making a good living. You can have both. But you have to fight for it.
Building a reputation as an expert in your field is the ultimate form of career insurance.
There is always a price
“The price of greatness is responsibility.” — Winston Churchill
There’s always a price. Period. You either pay the price for your greatness; or you’ll pay the price of mediocrity.
There is a price you pay to become an expert. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough. But you have to take responsibilty for your actions and decisions. There are a lot more resistence when you decide to fight the status quo. You dont want to be an average professional, you fight for it.
Nobody, ever once, pops to the top. You walk there. Step by step, each a failure until it’s not. — Seth Godin
You don’t want to be a mediocre employee? You fight to be indispensable. You want to be remarkable when you create something meaningful? You show up everyday and give it everything you’ve got. Even if no one buys it or shares it. It’s important that you show up and show us your work.
Benjamin Hardy explains:
You could be the person you know within yourself you can be. You can live the life you know within yourself you are meant to live. But you have to pay the price. You have to actually make a decision. If you try to be everywhere, you’ll end up nowhere. If you try to be everyone, you’ll end up no one.
Almost everyone can sprint. The road to mastery requires consistency. And everything meaningful in life is a marathon. But if you pursue your dreams long enough, compounding takes effect. Momentum will surge.
The importance of grit
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”- Friedrich Nietzche
Meaning” is a good thing. Life is pretty useless without it. And if you can find it in your work, even better, because that raises your odds of being successful considerably.
Everyone who has made history on earth took the path with a lot of resistance. But the resistance can break you. It has broken millions of people in the past. And we never got to see what could be humanly possible.
There will be times when you feel alone, misunderstood and even abandoned. There are times when you wish you could just be “normal” whatever the hell that means. Yet no one who was normal ever made history. Never have. Never will.
Your weirdness is the source of your character and creative powers. Weird is who we are, the best parts, not perfect, not trying — just yourself.
“The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off. Why should I?” — Bob Marley
As a young boy, Mozart’s true greatness as a composer developed slowly and steadily over time. “People make a great mistake who think that my art has come easily to me,” Mozart himself once wrote to his father, as if to make this precise point. “Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I.”
“It is not enough to begin; continuance is necessary. Mere enrollment will not make one a scholar; the pupil must continue in the school through the long course, until he masters every branch. Success depends upon staying power. The reason for failure in most cases is lack of perseverance.” —Miller
Find your motivation
To stay on the path of mastery requires total commitment. If you are not motivated enough to puruse your life’s work, you will give up at some point when the pressures of life and “other work” demands your productive time.
You will be up against “destructive work”. Every other work you don’t identify as your life’s work that supports you. Sometimes you can’t give them up but you have to find time to pursue work that means a lot to you. Get a clear vision of where you are going. And then devise a plan to get there. You will face the resistance. But the obstacle is always the way.
You will have to adopt a particular lifestyle of ambition, not just for a few weeks or months but for years and years and years. You have to want your life’s work so bad that you are not only ready to fail, but you actually want to experience failure: revel in it, learn from it.
It’s impossible to say for how long you will have to do these things. You cannot know the results in advance. But uncommon achievement requires an uncommon level of personal motivation and a massive amount of faith.
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Fight for your calling!
Thomas Oppong is the founding editor at Alltopstartups (where he shares resources for startups and entrepreneurs) and the curator at Postanly (a free weekly newsletter that delivers the most insightful long-form posts from top publishers).