Lucky is an interesting word. It’s often used to describe successful people. Famous actors, professional athletes and entrepreneurs are all called lucky. They are viewed for where they are, at their high point, and not much thought goes into what those people went through to achieve their accomplishments. It’s assumed that they just got there… that they’re lucky.
I have this poster hanging in my office. I look at it regularly to remind myself that I can achieve anything that I want, if I am willing to put the effort in.
I try to remember this concept when I think of successful people. I don’t want to discredit anyone’s success. I don’t want to assume that they were just given the opportunities to get them to the top, to be the best.
Rory McIlroy is one of the top golfers in the world. He fits into the category of someone people think is lucky. Golfing on the PGA tour is a dream for many, especially being among the elite. This ad was released recently and the point is made – he is not lucky – he made this happen. He is up when most are still sleeping, he pushes himself physically when most would prefer not to be that uncomfortable and he fuels his body with healthy options when most would prefer not to restrict their diets. When you see this video it becomes apparent that he’s not lucky, he’s doing what most aren’t willing to. It’s one thing to want something, it something much different to do what’s necessary to get it.
Pitcher Roy Halladay routinely puts in a 90 minute workout before his teammates arrive on the field.
Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi worked as a receptionist on the midnight shift to earn money while she was completing her Masters degree at Yale.
Henry Ford, H.J. Heinz and Walt Disney all filed for bankruptcy but didn’t allow their failures to stop them from working hard and eventually creating incredibly successful companies.
In the book Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin he talks about Jerry Rice, who some consider to be the greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL:
In team workouts he was famous for his hustle; while many receivers would trot back to the quarterback after catching a pass, Rice would sprint to the end zone after each reception. He would typically continue practicing long after the rest of the team had gone home. Most remarkable were his six-days-a-week off-season workouts, which he conducted entirely on his own. Mornings were devoted to cardiovascular work, running a hilly five-mile trail; he would reportedly run ten forty-meter wind sprints up the steepest part. In the afternoons he did equally strenuous weight training. These workouts became legendary as the most demanding in the league, and other players would sometimes join Rice just to see what it was like. Some of them got sick before the day was over.
Now, I know you are probably reading this and thinking that these people are intense and focused and doing things beyond what you are willing to do. And that’s ok. But just know that they aren’t lucky. They are doing things that most won’t. They are doing things that maybe they don’t always want to do, but know that it’s required to be the best. They deserve their success.
What are you willing to do, to give up, to suffer through to reach your dreams?
At first they will ask why you’re doing it. Later they’ll ask how you did it.