What are we entitled to? Are we entitled to a life that we want? Are we entitled to be successful? If, yes. Why do we feel this entitlement?
The simple truth is that we are not entitled to be a high performer. Just because we start an endeavor or want to become elite does not mean that we have some type of innate privilege to become successful. Success is not given, it is earned.
Earning success is not an easy road, but it is a rewarding one. Studies researching why the most successful individuals in the world are so successful are finding that the answer is found in the mundane—the little things they do day-to-day.
Excellence is a habit, said Aristotle.
How is excellence a habit?
It is not exactly that the act of excellence is strictly a habit but also that daily habits are what lead to excellence. Professional athletes spend hours everyday on the offseason training physical skills. The best NFL players are known for the time they spend deliberately studying film (not a very exciting thing to do) and the team playbook (something that would never be considered a fun read). CEOs of major companies are often observed participating in seemingly industry-unrelated rituals. Steve Jobs standardized his wardrobe to eliminate the need to expend decision making energy on trivial details in his life. Boring things, not the exciting ones, aid us on the road to high performance.
Many of the individuals that believe that they are entitled to success are also the ones that crave excitement and reject the boring. To these people making meaningless decisions is fun, and going through regular day-to-day activities is something to be avoided.
I do not have anything against adding variety or excitement to life, but when the aim of life is to cloud our day with variety and reject the mundane, something is wrong. When someone believes that their dreams are just going to happen without work they are setting themselves up for an unfulfilled life.
There is a beauty in honest work, but just as dreams alone will not make us successful, working without a dream will only lead us in circles.
A researcher once blindfolded a man and asked him to walk in a straight line across a large field. The blindfolded man began to walk, and then he started to drift, and drift more until he was walking in circles. The man thought he was walking straight but without a point of reference in front of him he ended up in the same place as he started. He walked (working) but without eyes fixed on where he wanted to go (dream/vision), and he finished just as far away from the start as the researcher who stood still throughout the whole experiment. Dreams without work do not work, neither does work without a dream.
90% of the population never reach true high performance. They want to improve but they get caught up in distractions—in interference—and get stuck. What it takes to walk the road to high performance requires us to take one step at a time, and to constantly look forward to our destination while not getting distracted by the rocks and potholes that can trip us with any step.
We are not entitled to reach the end of the road; there are no taxies for us to take. What we are entitled to is the ability to make our future happen, to continue on the path, to get up after each stumble, and become high performing through concentration and effort. Don’t let entitlement blur your mind; live fearless.
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