There are countless variations to the same motto: If you want more than you have, you have to work harder than you are.

It seems simple, right?

But as most know, it’s a simple concept but not a simple act.

  • It’s not easy to stay up late for days on end so your passion transitions from your hobby to your day job.
  • It’s not easy to work multiple jobs to make your goal of owning your home a reality.
  • It’s not easy to consistently make healthy choices when temptations are in abundance.
  • It’s not easy to be pulverized with countless rejections just to achieve one yes.
  • It’s not easy to push yourself when exhaustion is your faithful friend and fear of failure is your neighbor.

But, what if you did push yourself to achieve more? From pushing yourself to be a more present parent to a CEO constantly insisting on forward-thinking, pushing oneself to become the absolute best you can be is part of a life well-lived.

Growth Mindset

Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, says “[Michael] Jordan is a prime example of the growth mindset. It’s the mindset that almost every successful athlete who has had long-term success has. It says genetics may determine the starting line, but hard work determines the finish line.”

As Michael Jordan famously said, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

Take a moment to digest both Dr. Dweck and Michael Jordan’s words. It’s not whether you started with the most well-known company that determines if you become profitable and desired. It’s not whether you were born with a silver or gold-plated spoon that determines where you ultimately live and what you achieve. It’s not the lifestyle you were born into that determines the lifestyle you give your children. It’s not where you start that determines where you finish. Just like shining stars burn out, a God-given gift will resemble more a stroke of luck than a stroke of brilliance if it’s not cultivated with passion, determination, and sweat.

Self-Propelled Powerhouses

The following are just a few examples of powerhouses, in their respective fields, who locked into the belief that determination, work ethic, and belief in oneself are the tools needed to achieve greatness:

  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter met rejection 12 times, Stephen King’s Carrie met it 30 times, while Jack London is believed to have received 600 rejections for his first story.
  • Walt Disney lost his newspaper job as a young man because of too few good ideas.
  • Henry Ford went bankrupt twice before releasing the Model T.
  • The Beatles were turned down multiple times from record labels and an executive at Decca Records went so far as to say “guitar groups are on the way out” and “The Beatles have no future in show business.”
  • Fred Astaire hung a note in his Beverly Hills mansion that a director once wrote about him to stay motivated: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Not handsome. Can dance a little.”

The point is this: You will achieve much more in life if you insist on working harder than you have to and believe you can achieve more than you already have.

Greatness Knows No End

Your work is never done.

Even if you become a billionaire and retire in luxury, turn back around to mentor those behind you. Even if you are the best parent in the world, be determined to be the best grandparent as well. Even if you are a world-renowned chef, challenge yourself outside the cuisine that made you famous. Even if your company achieved massive success, refuse to stop innovating.

There is a reason why movies typically hold greatness off until the end, whether that be the two love interests finding each other or the war hero surviving the barbed-wire trenches. The reason movies wait to show the materialization of greatness until the end is because the path to greatness is much more impressive and inspiring than the greatness itself. It’s the journey that defines a person. It’s the courage it takes to believe in yourself long before others are convinced you’re worth their time.

Regardless of how great and wonderful you already are, dare to be greater. Whether you think about this in the context of a business or your home life doesn’t matter. What does matter is that every day you wake up determined to be a little better than the person you were the day before.

Author: Evelyn Lindell