One time many years ago, Donald Trump was on TV and described his two major keys to success. He said: (1) You have to do something you really love. (2) Be willing to overcome any obstacle – even go through a brick wall, if necessary – in order to achieve your dream.
Now, while this may not sound like particularly new information to anyone who has read a lot of motivational material, let us try to look at it with new eyes. After all, it’s coming from a billionaire. First of all, you have to do what you love. There is even a book with a title like this, Do What You Love, And The Money Will Follow. It might seem intuitively obvious that it would be nice to do what you love. However, the point that most people miss here is that almost nobody does what they really love. That is why so very few people are outstandingly successful at anything.
Instead, for a whole variety of reasons, most people do what they do not love. Many feel constrained to do so by the need to earn money. This is the biggest single reason given. Our life choices are motivated by desire for money to a far greater extent than we imagine, or will ever accept. Many people who claim to be uninterested in material things are nevertheless working at jobs purely for the money, and not for the love of it. The need for money is the substance in which we all move. Like water to a fish, or air to a bird, we move through it,… but it is totally invisible to us.
Our motives for much of what we do are concealed, even to ourselves What is even more surprising is that many people, even when they DO have the opportunity to exercise choice, will still not do what they love. For example, take someone who joins a Multi-Level Marketing scheme to sell vitamin supplements. Did that person do it out of genuine love for the products, and welfare for the people he/she was going to introduce them to? Was it for love of the business? Or was it just to make some extra cash? You would hope so, and in some cases, it is true.
Actually, the most successful people in that sort of business are the ones who love what they do, love the products, genuinely use them, and want to benefit other through them. Those people make the best salesmen. They really DO succeed because their sincere enthusiasm is contagious to all whom they meet. However, you can’t fake it. Insincerity, hunger, that dollar-sign glint in your eye… it all communicates louder than mere words ever can. And that’s the main reason why most people fail in MLM, or in any other activity you might care to choose. They didn’t love it for itself. They loved it for the result it would get them.
Most would-be writers don’t really want to write. They want to “have written”. They want the results – the money, fame, recognition – that comes from being a world famous writer. But the long hard hours of sweating over a keyboard, fighting for inspiration, throwing out half the stuff you write?… Forget it!
Actually, success factor 1 that Donald Trump mentions is an absolute necessity for success factor 2. You simply CANNOT muster the will, energy and persistence for great success, if you don’t love what you are doing. It takes many many hours to become great at anything. Some people estimate that it takes 10,000 hours to become world-class in the field of your choice. However, most of those hours are going to be spent in obscurity, pounding your head to a pulp against seemingly unrelenting brick walls. Even to the most enthusiastic, the goal is going to seem impossible at times.
How much worse then will it be for the person who does not love what they’re doing? The modern world seems to have turned this equation on its head, and that is why there is a lot of confusion out there. Previously, you actually had to be able to sing in order to become a famous singer (sounds kind of obvious really, doesn’t it?) However, nowadays the cynicism of the music industry has led to a situation whereby they actively seek to recruit the right FACE and BODY, to fit together with two or three others of like mode. They then create a “pop group”, and teach these people how to sing, dance, write songs, and perform on stage! This is one example of how the values we have been discussing have been turned on their head. It’s also why some of the old names are still around forty years later (Dylan, Rolling Stones, Clapton etc.) whilst you cannot even remember the faces from last year. The former already knew how to sing and perform years before they were ever famous. and they loved it before they were famous. They would have persisted even if they had never become famous.
This specific example demonstrates why people don’t do what they love to do. They look at the end result – usually money – and shoot for that instead. They think that once they have the money, then they’ll be happy. Almost everybody believes this myth. Wrong. Certainly, you can achieve some degree of success at something you are not that interested in (I achieved a Ph.D. in a subject that I immediately gave up forever after the graduation ceremony!) However, you are never going to achieve “greatness” at it. Nor will you ever be truly deeply happy at it.
Incidentally, this is also why so many extremely wealthy people continue to work long after they have enough money to last them for a couple of centuries. It’s a point that most unmotivated poor people, who hate their own jobs, totally miss… Why does Gates, Trump, Forbes, or anyone else you care to mention in their league, continue to work longer and harder than most of their own employees (who actually need to work)? It’s because they love what they do, and that’s how they got to be where they were in the first place!
The story is told of how a woman started work at Microsoft many years ago, and was surprised to find a man lying fast asleep under a desk. She was about to call Security, when she suddenly recognized him. Bill Gates. He had been working there all night. They say that when Michelangelo was working on a major commission, he would neglect to change his clothes or take his boots off (let alone take a bath) for weeks on end! THIS is called loving what you do, and putting your entire heart and soul into it.
Spending every spare minute thinking about it, and missing it every minute you are not doing it. It really is a like a romance in many ways. Inventor Thomas Edison routinely worked hundred hour weeks. They say he scheduled his own wedding for Christmas Day because it is the only day in the year when it’s impossible to get much of anything done. But even then, in the middle of the wedding reception, he apparently excused himself from his new wife and returned to the lab just to finish of some “tiny thing”. His new wife never saw him again for the rest of the day!
So, you need to ask yourself…. Do YOU love what you do? Do YOU have the energy that can move mountains? If not, the best advice that anyone can give you is this… Find out what it is you love, and start doing that. Maybe you will begin in a small way at first, in your spare time. But water the acorn. Over time, it will grow.
Hopefully, you will find a way to make money with it too (Hint: Combine what you love with a good dose of marketing to create a commercially viable activity that will support you). Then, you will find yourself in the place you want to be. Better to risk yourself a little, and take this approach than to find yourself at the top of the ladder, only to discover it’s leaning on the wrong wall. Or worse still, not even find yourself halfway up that ladder, and spend the rest of your life wondering why. That’s where most people are in our world. Don’t let it be you.
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.