I have a friend who wants to create a business that connects future brides and wedding vendors for easy communication. She wants to quit her day job and eventually make this idea her full-time job.
When I asked her why she hasn’t worked on the idea in over a year, she said she’s just too tired. She wants to get to work but…maybe later, when things calm down.
This is a struggle every successful entrepreneur, creative, writer, and self-employed solopreneur has dealt with and conquered.
They know the blunt truth:
Things will never calm down.
The reason some people succeed while most others fail isn’t some magical, complex solution — they just did the work when others didn’t.
When asked about how he had reached such huge career success, actor Will Smith said, “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”
There will always be enormous strains on your time that are not going away — going to work, making money, sleeping, eating, meetings, email, commuting, your social life, and watching yet another Marvel movie.
If you’re too busy, it means you have too many priorities.
The truth is, you have plenty of time to put in the work — but if you keep telling yourself you’re too tired, you’ll never get to work.
A young man once went to a life coach complaining that, at 30 years old, he had no marketable skills or prospects. He had a million reasons for not taking action to change his situation.
His life coach then responded, “Unless you make an effort to change things, in one year the only difference in your life will be that you’re 31 years old with no marketable skills or prospects.”
Putting in the work will separate you from everyone else.
But you have to decide to do the work.
Busyness Is a Form of Laziness
“Being busy is a form of mental laziness.” -Tim Ferriss
It takes discipline to not become “busy.”
If you let it, your world and the people around you will take all your time. Your time is not unlike your paycheck; if you don’t budget for things, you’ll have nothing left over by the end of the month.
This is how lives are wasted — by doing thankless work for ungrateful takers that didn’t deserve your time in the first place.
We’re all busy — with work, our families, our friends. It’s not bad to be “busy.” But in the words of best-selling author Jeff Goins, “The most successful people I know are not busy. They’re focused.”
Are you focused, making tangible action steps towards what truly matters?
Or are you just “busy?”
When you’re busy, you are on autopilot. You can’t see the hours slipping away, time you’ll never get back.
Wrote the ancient philosopher Seneca, “Indeed the state of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but the most wretched are those who are toiling not even at their own preoccupations… If such people want to know how short their lives are, let them reflect how small a portion is their own.”
Who’s in charge of your time?
Or everyone else?
If You Put in the Work, You’ll Succeed More Than 95% of People Around You
“Busting your ass. It’s not about money or connections — it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.” -Mark Cuban (net worth $3.9 billion)
Most people don’t put in the work.
Sadly, most people have more excuses not to work than days when they actually put in the work. As bestselling author Hal Elrod once wrote, “Repetition can be boring or tedious, which is why so few people ever master anything.”
Doing things over and over again sucks. (Doing them over and over again while you’re failing and looking stupid sucks even more.)
Putting in the work is hard.
But if you put in the work, I promise you that you’ll start succeeding more than almost anyone around you.
In 1991, researcher Anders Ericsson and his team spent hundreds of hours studying the world’s top violinists at the prestigious Music Academy of West Berlin in Germany.
They studied 3 groups: top-level prospects (violinists most likely to become superstar musicians, the pinnacle of musical achievement), mid-level prospects (very talented, but not quite masterful), and finally, bottom-tier prospects with just enough skill to graduate, but not much more.
After an intense and enormous amount of research, Ericsson and his team found a shocking discovery, one that “jumped out at Ericsson and his colleagues.”
The only significant difference between the top-level prospects and everyone else was that they practiced more.
Of course, they needed high-level practice with instructor guidance — you can practice for 10 years and still be mediocre if you practice the wrong things. But after this realization, Ericsson observed that nobody had reached the elite group without copious practice, and nobody who had worked their butt off failed to excel.
If you put in the right practice, continually and without fail, for a long time — you can’t avoid success. It will come.
But if you don’t practice — if you don’t put in the work — there’s no way you’ll reach the top level.
Here’s How to Live a Life 99% of Other People Will Envy
“If you keep living like the way you are now, you will continue to produce the same life you already have.” -Jim Rohn
If you want to have:
- 10x better relationships
- Your own business
- 100% financial independence
- Better health
- Longer focus
- More creativity
- Less stress
- Better sleep
… then just do the work.
I’ve learned that pretty much everything in this life has a price tag. If you’re willing to pay the price, you can have just about anything.
My wife and I wanted to travel the world. So even though we both had full-time jobs (I was also in full-time grad school), we studied for the TEFL exam, interviewed for English teacher jobs, and eventually moved to South Korea for a year.
I didn’t want to go back to corporate America — I wanted to be a writer. So I began consistently waking up at 5 a.m. before my job to start writing. After a year, I had gained nearly 25,000 new email subscribers, my first signed book deal, and a personal business where I could work from home.
I have a lot of friends who are working crappy jobs with long commutes, bad bosses and lazy coworkers. They tell me all the time how they envy my life, where I get to sleep in and write all day.
Internally, I just shrug — they could have this life if they wanted.
They just need to do the work.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” -Calvin Coolidge
Putting in the work will elevate you above everyone else.
Why? Because most people won’t do the work. Work is hard — it’s repetitive and boring and tedious and most people will just end up on social media again.
Your great superpower is your work ethic. You can work as hard and as long as you want. Also, great news: with a good night’s sleep, you can keep this up for years!
The road to mastery requires you to learn a laundry list of new skills and overcome countless obstacles.
The road is hard. It’s exhausting. Most people will give up.
But as Seth Godin wrote in his book The Dip: “The difference between the mediocre club player and a regional champion isn’t inborn talent — it’s the ability to push through the moments where it’s just easier to quit.”
Put in the work. Almost no one else is going to.