I had to get this off my chest today. I keep hearing people complain that they are failures, and that they won’t ever achieve their goals, speaking as if the universe itself conspires against them.
You have to believe in your inevitable success.
That’s not to say that you can simply laze around and eventually become an accomplished writer, entrepreneur, lawyer, etc., but assuming you actually go about doing everything you need to do, then there is nothing holding you back from success in the field of your choosing.
There are two reasons why you might disagree.
1) You think that you lack talent; that there is something innately lesser about the core of your being such that even hard work, persistence, and good practice, consistently summoned over the course of years, will not lead to success.
2) You think that life is a game of chance, and that nobody can predict how the dice will roll.
Now here’s two reasons why that’s bullshit.
1) Talent is overrated. Now I’m going to beat you over the head with a quote to emphasize my point.
“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed through hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.
I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping, I’m working. While the other guy’s eating, I’m working.
There’s no easy way around it. No matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you’re not skilled. If you don’t study, if you don’t work really hard and dedicate yourself to being better every single day, you’ll never be able to communicate with people – with your artistry – the way that you want.
The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me; you might be smarter than me. But if we get on a treadmill together, there are two things: you’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.”
– Will Smith
But there is something even more grotesque lurking beneath the surface denial of the overwhelming importance of skill over talent. Let’s just assume, for a moment, that the Fresh Prince is wrong. Here’s my question to you: if you think you’ll never be good enough to deserve your dreams, then why bother, well…living?
We anchor our life with aspirations, both small and big. From education, interpersonal relationships, and children, to travel, fame, money, and power – these are what lend our lives purpose. We are the descendants of hunters and gatherers. We are goal-oriented creatures. It is in our genes to endlessly seek and pursue, and ultimately, to conquer.
If you tell yourself that you can’t have these things you want, no matter what, then what is the damn point? You’ve ascribed limits to your life now. How unfortunate.
2) You can’t win a game of chance without playing.
Everything in life involves risk and chance. The key to ‘winning’ is to maximize those variables that lead to success, and to minimize those variables that lead to failure.
But it’s true that you don’t know how it’s going to play out with absolute certainty. None of us do. Still, when you fall, the most important thing is that the little voice in your head whispers, “get back up and make me fucking proud”, and not “stay down and suffer this regret for the rest of your days”.
There is a possibility that even after having given it your all and done everything you needed to, you may fail in the end. So what? Active failure is better than passive failure. The inertia of existence constantly threatens to hold us in place, when we should be pushing ever forward, seeking, pursuing – conquering.
In the end, it’s about the journey, not the destination, so it is necessary to believe, above all else, that the destination is chock full of the treasure that you seek. Otherwise, the missteps in your journey, your true journey, may collude in bringing it to a premature end.