Just Do the Work!

on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just do the work! There is no other way to say it. Forget all the opposition. Forget all the millions of reasons not to. Forget your exhaustion, your discouragement, the dread of another day spent doing something you hate. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the internet, silence your phone and get to it, and do it now!

It is the secret that most people will never understand and of those who do, most will not have the strength to carry it out. There is one secret and one secret only to success. Work! Work and work and work until you cannot lift your arms anymore, then go to bed, get up the next day, and do it again.

I am not talking about work as many of us have been taught, long grueling hours of painful, soul crushing labor. I am talking about head down dedication to your passion with an energy and clarity of purpose that only your true passion can produce. That is the work that keeps you inching up that steep slope toward your dreams, whatever it takes. There is a price to be paid for your dreams and it is only after you are on the path to it that you realize exactly how high that price might be. There is, however, a mathematical certainty to your success provided that you are willing to pay the price demanded of you, but be warned, that price may be very high indeed.

Consider my own situation as a new author. Suppose now that my book only sells fifty copies per month and that is all it will ever sell. It will never go viral, it will never take off. Now consider that my next book, The Knights Mourning, which is due out in May, performs to exactly that same standard. They each turn in only tiny but consistent numbers from here to eternity. That is not exactly the dream of success that I had always cherished, but in a way, it is almost as good. It is a clear vision of the path that must be climbed in order to achieve what I want. There is no more guessing, no more wondering. I can say to myself, “okay, my dream has always been to write for a living, based upon these numbers and the assumptions we can make with them, the price I will have to pay to achieve that is writing “X” number of books. I can then ask myself if my commitment is deep enough. The road may be far more steep than we ever wanted to believe, but at least we have a path before us.

I have a friend who plays the harp. After every performance, invariably, someone says to him, “How did you learn to play like that? I’d give anything to play like that.” To which he replies, “Really? Would you give an hour a day for twenty years? Because that’s what I gave.” Whatever you may think of this response, his point is clear: there is a price to be paid to be great at something and understanding that price is critical to understanding if this is a true passion or not.

The first step is understanding that there is no other way in which our dreams will come to us. There is no other method by which we will gain our ends. And in truth, we do not want there to be. We need the refining that comes with the struggle. We need to work for it and gain the self-respect, and the self-actualization that does not come any other way. We do not want it handed to us, but want to earn it. We want to know that we earned it, and that everything that comes to us is not because of luck, or handouts, it is because we refused to quit. We just keep getting back up. We work and work and work until we succeed, even if it means that we reach the top standing on a mighty mountain built from the ashes of our failures. We earned it!

Every time I want to rest, to stop driving ahead, I am spurred on by this quote from Steven Covey: “We are the people we are today because of the decisions we made yesterday.”

I may be tired, I may want to stop, to rest, even to quit. But come next month or next year, I am sure going to wish I had made the effort today.

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ― George Sheehan

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