The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
People play the lottery and want instant success. They suffer through numerous incarnations of crash diets without any lasting change. People publish a book, paint on a canvas, release one song, and expect surreal waves of success to crash upon their effort. They need a good dictionary.
Work and dedication to that work means absolutely everything. Success and everything that goes with it come later, sometimes much later, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. The work is ours, but success is a gift that will be dispensed by everyone else.
I think many people don’t want to begin because they want a guarantee of success. They don’t think they are good enough to be great, and so they reason what is the purpose of doing anything in the first place. But that’s just it. The only thing you have any control over is the work that you do and if you do the work magical things can happen. You will become better at what you do. Your life will be filled with meaning, and at least where I am standing, that is a success that is real and will never fade away.
Your work will be ranked, but maybe it shouldn’t. Ranking something will either make you work harder or it will stop you from working all together. Being ranked might make you cater to the tastes and whims of other people, instead of following your heart and giving us what is uniquely you.
Work, dedication, and a deep rooted comfort with failure is what you need and want in your life. It is what happens with every successful endeavour. You will be successful because you are good and you love what you do. Others will see your love and your talent and will fall in love with you and your work. That has always been the way and it will continue to be the way.
Yes, there are overnight successes and yes people do win the lottery over night, but that doesn’t really change anything in the long run. At the heart of everything is the deep desire we have to belong and connect to one another. We know our days are numbered. We know that death will come for us some day, and so in the meantime we want to belong, we want to laugh and dance. We want to know that there is a meaning to our life. There is a reason we were born. That we were wanted, that our contribution matters, and that we will be missed when we are gone.
Don’t be busy. Work hard. Get in touch with what makes you happy and find meaningful work that will satisfy your soul and financially provide for your body and those entrusted to your care. It won’t be easy. Nobody said it would be.
Get back to work. Put down the dictionary and embrace the slow, dedicated road. The road not taken. The lonely road, but a road that will lead you to unbelievable things.