One of my mentors, Kelvin, once said that the “disease” that plagues most people of my generation is restlessness. He believes that most of us live our lives like little children at the playground trying to build our own sandcastles. Sandcastles that can honor our own existence and express who we truly are and our best gifts to the world.

But what happens for most of us is that we can’t focus on doing one thing and just doing that one thing well. As a result, we end up with many “unfinished tiny sand dunes” and never amass greatness. This has been a lesson that has stuck with me for the longest time.

I like to share this short article by a motivational speaker, Rick Houcek, that relates this lesson in what is, a profoundly simple fashion.

A Profound Secret of Success Discovered 100 Years Ago

By Rick Houcek

1/21/2013

In the early 1900s, an executive named Albert E. N. Gray was curious why some people achieved high levels of success, while others didn’t.  What was the difference, he wondered?

Fundamentally, he believed all successful people must have somehow, miraculously, discovered the same ONE secret to success, and then used it relentlessly.

So, he went on a search to find it, believing it existed, and convinced there was only one.

Indeed, he found it.

After interviewing many people… both successes and failures… and studying their behaviors and habits… he drew this solitary conclusion…

Successful people form the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.

Further, he discovered they don’t like doing them any more than the failures do, but they do them anyway, with regularity.

In other words, failures engage only in pleasing tasks, things that are fun and enjoyable.  Successful people, by contrast, are willing to do the unpleasant tasks — the grunt work — even excessively when necessary — to get the result they want.

That’s it.  Profoundly simple. But don’t underestimate its power.

Take salespeople, for instance. Most hate prospecting, but all love closing. So who are the top dollar salespeople? Answer:  The ones who — despite their disdain for prospecting — discipline themselves to do it anyway, every single day. Can’t close if you don’t have a prospect.

Many superstar athletes don’t enjoy practice.  What they love is playing the game itself.  But still, they give it their all in practice anyway, no short-cuts.

Many award-winning actors don’t enjoy rehearsal… some world-class musicians get little delight from solitary practice… many future surgeons don’t relish the idea of exhaustive study and many years of apprenticeship…

…but they’ve all formed the habit of doing it anyway.

Gray added:  “If you do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously you will form bad ones.”

Your success in any endeavor is determined largely by your willingness to form good habits, however mundane, repetitive, and un-fun they are… and do them anyway… often in solitude when no one’s watching.

Actions For You:

What are the most fundamental behaviors that lead to success in your profession, your hobbies, your activities of highest passion? Make a list.

Now ask yourself this, and be brutally honest:  Do I do them religiously — even the ones I hate — or just the ones I find most fun?

If you’re willing to create a new, better habit… to tackle the unpleasant grunt work with zeal… you might find yourself achieving significantly improved results in those things most important to you.

As Nike says:  Just Do It!

Power Thought: 

“It’s not what you do once in a while. It’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.” Jenny Craig, weight-loss guru whose diet system teaches the disciplines of sustained, daily nutrition and fitness over time.  She and her husband built their business from a few storefronts in Australia to more than 600 centers worldwide.

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