Non-existent Shortcuts To Success: Why Working Hard Is the Only Way

I’m 28 years old. In less than 6 weeks, I’ll turn 29 which is just one year short of a whole new decade of adventure, new beginnings and probably, worse hangovers. Contrary to what many might assume, I’m rather excited about the prospect of turning 30 however don’t plan on leaving my twenties without making a bit of noise and hopefully, reaching some more baby milestones.

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You see, up to now, it’s been rather a blur of cocktails, adventure and freelancing. I went for stuff, got it, struggled a little, lost the plot and, had to start all over again. I saved a bunch of money and spent it frivolously. I parted ways with belongings on random bus trips while I was day dreaming. All the while, I was forgetting whole languages before having to learn them all over again. To say it’s been an easy journey would be a lie but to say it’s been exactly what it’s needed to be is what reminds me it’s all worth it.

I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance who made the mistake of highlighting how “lucky” I have been. Well, I always manage to land on my feet (eventually), have wonderful relationships (by chance, of course) and can eat whatever I want without getting fat (that makes sense, right?) …

Indeed, “that’s how it works”. Not.

I work extremely hard, brush myself off when I fall before pushing even harder and well, work tirelessly at my relationships and diet so they stay on track. Nothing is easy and nobody has a straightforward ride, not I nor anyone I know for that matter.

Often, we look at what people achieve and envision a journey that is easier than ours. We imagine they’ve been without struggle, pain and even sadness while their rewards were handed down by some Gods unbeknownst to anyone else. The road to success takes time and as soon as we acknowledge this, the quicker we’ll stop comparing and making assumptions and, excuses.

Now, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Hard work does pay off. Despite those days when you wonder why you’re doing it, what your future holds and who the hell cares; the rewards you’ll reap will be nothing short of amazing. If you’re not convinced and want a heads up as regards what can happen for you, I suggest following these simple tips along your journey of hard work and perseverance:

* Keep track.

Whether you write them in a diary, on a napkin or across your youngest’s forehead, you need to be writing progress down. Set weekly, monthly, quarterly goals for yourself and do everything in  your power to make them happen. Tick off lists, jot down thoughts, keep folders and archive important documents. All of these demonstrate different stages of your journey whether this refers to your business, blog or a financial plan you’re working on. I keep multiple diaries including one for personal progress, work and leisure. Looking back on each, I can see how far I’ve come and even if the results aren’t huge, they are there.

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* When in doubt, do something.

We all have moments when we’re stuck and can’t figure out the next move. Moving from A to B is hard but moving from A to Z is overwhelming. One of my heros is Will Smith and my favourite of his key pieces of advice that I think of often is when you want to build a wall, don’t think about it as a big wall, think about laying one brick at a time. Eventually, you’ll have the wall you want. Basically, have patience, take baby steps and you’ll eventually get there.

* Stop analysing so much.

We can’t help but pay attention to what we’ve done so far that has led us to where we are now. What if I told you that overly tracking your progress will lead to your downfall? Don’t focus on mistakes, learn from them and move past. Remember successes but don’t let them go to your head. Take note and move on your merry little way.

While you’re at it, stop analysing everyone else. There are those who are doing better than you (and there always will be). The fact is though, you don’t know their journey, how they’ve reach their goals or what they’re about. Congratulate them, be inspired and take what you need before getting back to your own stuff.

*Give yourself a break, please.

I am not a patient person. I want everything to happen yesterday, despise queues and try to prepare everything so as to avoid delays or upset. More than anything though, I get impatient with myself and my goals. This is something I’ve had to stop doing. I give myself a break along this lifelong journey to the next goal and simply, enjoy it. I hope you do too.