Are you doing what it takes to succeed? So many people underestimate how much is required when they set out to do anything at a high level. This post discusses the definitions of worldly and Godly success, setting goals, and being honest with yourself about your will to succeed.
A long time ago, I wanted to be successful. Back then, that meant climbing the corporate ladder and making a lot of money. It meant getting respect from people because of a title underneath my name and being well-liked because of my accomplishments.
But then came my walk in the desert—life’s desert. Much like a real one, life’s desert is a place of trial and testing, and of survival. It’s a place where money has no value and where things that were once taken for granted now come at a premium. It’s a place that challenges you to keep moving forward when you aren’t sure where you’re going or if you’ll make it out alive.
Among the many lessons I’ve learned here, the desert has taught me a thing or two about success. Above all, it has taught me to redefine it. Today, my success has less to do with how well I appear to be doing on the outside, and much more about who I am on the inside. I’ve also learned another critical lesson—something I overlooked for years—that may very well have been the reason I struggled for so long.
I wasn’t always willing to do what it takes.
Did I Miss Something?
I started playing the drums when I was fourteen years-old. I practiced every day (which could also have been the reason our next door neighbors eventually sold their house and moved away). In time, I got pretty good. In fact, I became so confident that I decided to go to college for music and make a career out of it.
But when I got to college, I ran into something unexpected. The drummers in the school’s music program were much better than me. I struggled to keep up. In fact, I struggled so much that it discouraged me from even wanting to play the drums. I no longer wanted to practice and hated going to class. It became so bad that during my junior year, I decided to change my major and career path altogether.
For a long time, I thought music should be a hobby and not a career because of I had attempted to force something that wasn't meant to be. But I didn’t understand the real reason until much later.
Not long ago, I thought about my choice not to pursue music on a professional level. Even though I made that decision almost twenty years ago, I’ve always felt that I failed in some way.
As I often do now, I submitted my problem to God. I told him that perhaps I had missed something and that I felt a sense of failure because I wasn't able to follow through with my goal.
It was quite a while before I got an answer.
Are You Being Honest With Yourself?
Is there something you want more than anything else in the world? Not something you can pay to have done, but something you must do yourself. Do you want to start a business or get a promotion? Do you want to get married and have a family? Do you want to get into the best physical shape of your life? At one time or another, each of us has had a dream, goal, or passion that we have wanted to fulfill.
For me, becoming a professional musician was a goal that I failed to achieve. But, to be fair, did I really give myself a chance?
Finally, God answered me. He showed me that I didn’t fail at becoming a professional drummer because I wasn't good enough, but because I wasn't honest with myself. I didn’t want to do what it takes to give myself a real chance to succeed.
I wanted to get by on natural ability and wasn’t willing to put in the hours and hours of practice that playing at a high level required. Instead of rising to the challenge, I gave up too soon.
Many times we fail because we aren't willing to make the effort required for success.
What if you had to get up at 5:30 in the morning every morning? What if you had to put in three or four extra hours every day for two years? What if you had to stay in the office and work when everyone else was going out and having fun? Most of all, what if you had to keep doing something you didn’t like over and over until you became great at it?
The saying goes that to have the life everyone wants, you must do the things no one else will do. I wasn’t willing to practice to be a better drummer. I didn’t want it bad enough to push through the difficulty. I wasn’t giving myself a real opportunity for success.
There are no absolutes. Doing everything it takes does not guarantee that it will happen. But not doing it almost guarantees that it won’t. You owe it to yourself to give it all you’ve got. Even if it doesn’t work out according to the plan, you won’t have to live with the regret of not giving it your best.
Now, think of that one thing that you want more than anything and ask yourself:
Are you willing to do what it takes?