There are three common traits of successful people; talent, failure and hard work. Google any successful sports star, musician, writer or entrepreneur and you will find a story about how they have failed only to get back up again, dust themselves of and try again. Yes they are of course talented in their fields, exceptional even, but talent only gets you so far. A quote I found whilst researching this blog post sums it up perfectly. “Good things don’t come to those who wait, good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.”
Take Michael Jordan for example, basketball superstar and arguably the best there ever was, Michael was cut from his varsity basketball team in his sophomore year. Hard work and hours of practice (and a growth spurt!) saw him realise his dream, but it didn’t stop there. As one of his coaches Phil Jackson once said, “Michael would simply exercise with greater concentration than anyone else, he would work himself “into a lather” with his intensity, and push himself ever harder whenever things got more difficult”. Michael himself is also the first to point out that failure led to his success, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Tennis superstar sisters Venus and Serena Williams didn’t reach world domination in the tennis world just by relying on their talent. From the ages of about seven or eight they were up at 6am every morning hitting tennis balls, then they would head off to school only to return to the courts after school had finished. Some may say a little extreme, others know that’s what it takes.
We’ve all heard about Stephen King’s rejections. King’s first manuscript received over 30 rejections and it was only his wife’s encouragement to continue that sees him now as one of the best selling authors of all time.
Then there’s Elvis Presley who was infamously told that he would be better off going back to driving a truck because he was going to get nowhere in the music industry. Presley was unfazed and continued to work hard and the rest, as they say, is history.
And of course we all know mega-mogul Donald Trump, like him or hate him you can’t deny his success. Donald credits his success to working twenty hours a day. He is famously quoted as saying “How does someone that sleeps 12-14 hours a day compete with someone who’s sleeping three or four?” Yes, okay Donald may be a little extreme but you get the picture.
I’m a firm believer in hard work. It’s an ethic I want to instill in my children. However, not all of us want to achieve the dizzying heights of success that those above have striven for.
For me it comes back to the magic word of balance. That elusive enigma that doesn’t really exist but which we can all hope to achieve at least fleetingly. Right now I am trying to sneak just a little taste of that balance while still not denying the hard work that I need and want to put into my writing.
It means knuckling down between work, housework and other necessities and scheduling writing time. It means late nights and early mornings of writing, editing and research. And it means making the time to be present when it is family time. There’s no magical formula just one that contains many hits and a probably as many misses. It’s about incorporating change in my mindset to work hard, waste less time (hello Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter), and finding time for myself to calm my mind through early morning yoga and the odd hot bath, candles and a good book.
As I said to my husband last night. The hard work now will pay off. I know it will. Perhaps not in five years, maybe not even in ten, but one day I will have a novel published. One day the thousands of hours will come to fruition. One day.
I fully trust that if you believe in yourself, if you want it bad enough, if it is what you are compelled to do and if you put in the hard work then yes, good things will happen.