“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” – Ray Kroc
If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you know that I am a big advocate of perseverance. This is how I define the grind, the hustle: to keep going in spite numerous obstacles, despite all the other people who are more talented, better connected, or have more time.
To grind means to want it more than just about anyone else.
How bad do you want it?
The bitter truth is that most will never escape obscurity. The beauty they are capable of will never see the light of day. Most will spend their lives in this bizarre lethargy, working jobs they hate, to earn money they not know what to do with, anxious to be free from it all, so they can spend their time with people they don’t particularly like.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
The momentum and the fire in our hearts that accompany a sense of progress will never materialize for most.
But that can change if you want it to.
This takes guts. Faith. To believe in something. To desire and fight for clarity more than anything else. To offer your daily attention to this one thing; what you use your most creative energy for.
A nail to be hammered, one hair width at a time.
This is, paradoxically, what people dream about, but also run from. All their lives.
They want the glory, but not the sacrifice.
They want the fame, the financial freedom, the body, the glory, the admiration of others, but they do not want to face monotony, boredom, suffering, and the hardest part of all: turning your back on the allure of the alternative on a daily basis.
Consistency requires so much discipline that most people will never dare show up to do the work, regardless of how they feel about their work.
That is the sad truth.
Most of you want to prolong comfort until suffering becomes necessary, instead of going about it the other way around.
To show up every day requires belief and the courage to say no a thousand times.
Many will choose the ‘safe’ path — the one of ‘hedging one’s bets.’
The path of spinning a few plates.
But might it be ‘safer’ to hammer on something sharp, make ground, and be driven by a firm commitment, than to get nowhere at all?
To move forward requires a strategy. But it is a deceptively simple one.
Most of us make it substantially harder than it needs to be.
Go narrow and make small, daily advancements until you start seeing little wins.
The mantra of ‘showing up’ is so often repeated for a reason; it’s often all it takes, it’s often the precise thing people never do. Show up in something narrowly-defined and something that has the potential to develop into a voice; a style; a fresh perspective; a movement.
Figure out that thing that gets done, no matter what.
An article. A comic. A painting. A sketch. A track. An essay. A clip. A paragraph. A photograph. A call made.
One thing. One strike of the hammer. It need not take all day.
Something tangible that serves as a tiny building block in a soon to be towering edifice.
The longest book could only be written one word at a time. The same goes for a short blog post. The biggest wall; one brick at a time.
Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
I know it sounds too good to be true, and that’s why people like to believe that greatness is either something bestowed upon you, or the act of a moment.
How many thousands and thousands of punches did the boxer throw against a punching bag or at nothing but air until he landed the winning blow?
People believe in people who believe in themselves, and there is not much that demonstrates this better by showing up, every day, and backing your own vision, even when you’d rather be anywhere else but at your desk, writing.
The world changes its opinion about you the day after you do.
Showing up every single day provides the fuel you need to create something extraordinary. It’s that little “extra” that turns ordinary into something that everyone envies and glorifies at the same time.
If there’s one piece of advice you ever take from reading my words, let there be this:
Never, ever, ever, ever give up.