What separates those who succeed in life from those who fail? In 99% of cases, you can boil it down to a single thing: willpower.
Age, race, education, religion, upbringing, experience, opportunity…I’ve seen wildly successful people and miserable failures come from every walk of life. None of these things are a prerequisites, nor guarantors, of success.
Willpower, on the other hand, is critical to success. It’s an absolute must. Truly successful people always seem to possess an indomitable will, an inner strength that simply refuses to give up. That doesn’t mean they don’t have moments of weakness or doubt, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they never fail. They have all of those things, in spades. But they simply refuse to give up, no matter what happens. They exert their will to push through whatever happens, to adapt, survive, and eventually succeed.
True, lasting failure comes only from a lack of willpower. Those who adopt a victim mentality, blaming others for their circumstances, are the truest failures. They’ve shown that they lack the will to succeed, and behave like spoiled, entitled brats who seem to think that the world exists to serve their wants and needs.
Sorry kiddos, but that’s a fantasy land. Nobody owes you anything.
I’ve been close to bankruptcy on a number of occasions. I’ve had months where I had to choose between rent and food. I’ve been laid off from a job I couldn’t afford to lose at the worst possible time. My parent’s didn’t pay for my education. Hell, I didn’t even finish college. There have been numerous occasions where I’ve sat on the ground, head in hands, and felt an overwhelming sense of despair…
But I know what I want from life, I have crystal clear goals, and I simply refuse to accept a reality where my goals aren’t possible. So when shit hits the fan, I get up and exert my will, and I change my reality. No matter what happens to me, I will NEVER be a victim, because my life, my destiny, are mine to control.
And THAT is the secret to becoming more than you are.
Willpower, though mental, is just like a muscle. Some are born with more than others, but you can exercise, train and strengthen your will regardless of your starting point. But will is only half the battle.
The other half is purpose.
A will to succeed without a purpose is is a pitiful thing to behold, as is a purpose without the will to accomplish it. Without a target to aim for you can neither succeed nor fail, because there is nothing to measure against.
What’s your purpose?
The trick to defining a purpose is to spend time really, really, really thinking about who you are, what you like and dislike, love and hate, etc. Think about your life, your experiences, the ups and the downs. Write down your talents and your weaknesses, your hobbies and your pet peeves. Dump everything out on paper, and be brutally honest at all times.
As you do this, try to answer these five questions:
- If you had one year left to live, how would you spend it? (Be specific)
- If you could only do one thing for the rest of your life, what would that one thing be? (this could be one job, one hobby…whatever. If you had live life Groundhog Day style (endless repeat), what would you want to be doing?)
- If you had the power to do absolutely anything (seriously, no limits), what would it be?
- If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?
- If I gave you $10 million dollars, how would you spend it? What if gave you $1 billion?
These questions, while similar, will help you to define and clarify very different aspects of who you are, to “know thyself” as it were. As you learn who you really are, it will also help you to zero in on a purpose.
The goal here is to get to know yourself better than ever before, and that requires brutal honesty. Once you’ve answered these questions truthfully, you should have a pretty good idea of who you are, what you love, what you hate, your priorities, and the things that you are really passionate about.
Now…pick a purpose. Nobody but you can define your purpose. Not your parents. Not your teachers. Not your boss, your friends, your clergy…your purpose is yours to define.
That said, pick wisely. For example, “to make a billion dollars” isn’t much of a purpose unless you know exactly how you’d spend it, why you’d spend it that way, and you’re absolutely sure that want what comes from that billion dollars more than anything else in the world.
A purpose needs to be so strong, so solid, and so important to you that you’ll keep working and fighting for it until you achieve it regardless of what gets in your way. If you’re confident that your purpose is such that you’ll never, ever be satisfied if you don’t achieve it…then you’ve probably picked a pretty good one 🙂
Never one to be content, I’ve defined 3 key purposes in my own life:
- To build enough wealth to be truly free, and to do so by the age of 35 (I define true freedom as the ability to go where I want to go, and do the things I want to do, whenever I feel like going and whatever I feel like doing.)
- To teach as many people as possible how to escape from both societal and personal cages, and how to succeed in unconventional ways. You’ll all (hopefully) be reading my book this very subject very soon!
- To spend as much time as possible with my wife and son, traveling around the world and sharing the lessons and skills I’ve learned with those I meet along the way. (This is really a blending of #1 and #2.)
I have a plan and very specific goals to help me achieve all of these things. I’m 31 now, and I have no doubt that I will achieve everything on this list by the time I’m 35. I simply can’t envision a reality where this doesn’t happen. I’ve defined my purpose, gathered the necessary knowledge and wisdom, and I have the will to succeed.
I’m not entitled to any of these things, but I’m willing to work as hard as I have to, and do whatever is necessary, to achieve these goals.
So, to sum it all up:
- Don’t ever assume that you’re entitled to anything. You’re not.
- Don’t ever adopt a victim mentality. You’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be.
- Develop an indomitable will to succeed.
- Define your purpose, and set goals to reach it.
- Get off your ass and work, work, work.
And that is that, as they say, is that.