Success is not a matter of skill but a matter of will. Skill is everywhere, and knowledge abounds in every person that has ever attempted anything a handful of times.
But a powerful concentration of will exists in very few individuals. Willpower tells knowledge what to do. Willpower eats skill’s lunch.
Will is still standing tall long after skill has hit a wall.
Be a disciple of will, you’ll notice that skill and knowledge come free inside the package.
Fear, that is. That’s the name, that’s the status quo. Everyone lives with it. Everyone struggles with it.
So if everyone has fear, and everyone struggles with trying to overcome it then that gives you two powerful options to succeed: Either help people feel more protected and nurtured (Insurance companies and Financial companies thrive on this) OR appear to be less fearful than all others (think of celebrities and public leaders.)
As the saying goes, “In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.” You don’t have to appear fully fearless, just a little less fearful than the rest. Then you’re set for life!
Quick tip on how to get anyone to care about what you’re saying. Works for delivering a presentation at work, building a business, or even just telling a story to a group of friends.
Billy Wilder’s three act structure:
Act 1: Get your hero up a tree
Act 2: Set the tree on fire
Act 3: Get your hero down from the tree
The key is the drama. As my mentor Al Pittampalli says “Things are good, things are bad, things are good again.”
Think about any breakthrough you’ve had in life. Things started peachy as you took a step towards something you wanted or thought you wanted.
You accepted that new job. Or you quit your job because it’s what the heart called for. Or you decided to ask your crush out on a date.
Then things got tough and obstacles appeared. Your relationship demanded all your emotional energy just to maintain. Your tree caught on fire.
You started doubting whether you could continue forward. Drama and conflict.
Then you made that move that salvaged the situation. You got down from the tree, with or without scars. With a lot or a little glory. But you made it.
The power is in the resolution of the drama. You are back on solid ground after being scared shitless a moment ago.
You still with me? Of course you are, look up at the structure of the post.
Scarcity is where the value’s at. Economists roll your eyes now. I know I know, Duh!
Bear with me, this is how I think things through.
A diamond has value because the mind gives it value. There’s not much use for it except making your friends jealous that they don’t have one. Scarcity.
And this is where new artists go wrong. They’re too concerned with “keeping it real” thinking that real is a specific thing that can only be achieved one way.
All people want is something scarce. If that happens to be good writing, or good singing, or good design then so be it. But soon that level of excellence becomes the norm and now you’re toast because anyone can do it.
Just do what’s scarce. Do what’s extreme. Whether at your job, building your business, or launching your art, the same rule applies.
Don’t worry so much about your feelings and your ego getting hurt. Either it’s good and people like it or it sucks and people don’t like it. Sorry to breakt it to you but it has nothing to do with you and your value as a person/artist. You’re just not that important when you’re talking about commerce and art.
One of my main faults is comparing my standards to those of others. Almost as if I’m checking to make sure I’m not asking for too much. Blaming myself whenever my peers are happy with half as much.
That’s the fastest way to the bottom.
We all get beaten down by life. Not getting our way doesn’t make us fight harder for it, it just makes us anticipate less.
It’s ok to ask for more than what others are asking for. As long as you keep your morals and ethics just as high as what you’re expecting to receive then you’re on the right track. It increases your fighter cells and decreases your blame cells. A must if you’re going to beat the game.
I have two things that build momentum in my life or even just in a day: the gym and writing.
What do they have in common? They scare the shit out of you and they cleanse your spirit.
Nothing is scarier than getting to the gym knowing that what you did yesterday means absolutely nothing unless you can repeat it today. Knowing that you’re starting from scratch all over again.
By the same token, nothing is scarier than staring at a blank page or word doc and hoping that a semi-intelligent thought strikes you soon. Any delay and your conscious starts panicking and negativity sets in, essentially sabotaging the process.
But nothing feels better when you fight through and defeat resistance from either of these activities. You earned peace of mind for another 24 hours, your spirit is at ease even if for just a bit. Then the next day it’s back to square one, but with a little more self-confidence in tow.
What’s your momentum activity?
The other day I wrote about exposing yourself to different situations in order to realize that you already possess all the tools you need and all that’s left is some fine-tuning. Fine-tuning equates to experimenting.
Edison said it best “I have never failed. What I’ve done is successfully identify 3,000 ways that will not work.”
Experimenting is the key to success. You must experience everything to realize what works and what doesn’t. The hard part about experimenting is juggling all the action you’re taking with the thinking and observing that’s required. Most get stuck observing, or fall prey to mindless action.
A pro knows how to alternate between observation and taking action. Not just act, not just observe, but both.
If you’re anxiously waiting to finally lose all fear and uncertainty for the work you do then you can stop waiting. The moment is never coming.
A true grizzled pro in any creative field is more scared and humble than a rookie because the pro understands the fragility of life and their profession. They know they aren’t special, they know ANYONE can put in the work and achieve the same results, and they know that the second they stop putting in the work it will all be gone or start to slip away.
They also know that they will never truly be comfortable doing what they are doing, that their so called “skill” is merely dependent on them being able to put up with the uncertainty and risk. To hide fear under the surface. To push a little more even when you’re close to losing your wits.
And this is a terrifying feeling, knowing that you will live in fear as long as you continue to do this activity that you call your profession. That comfort can only be obtained by slacking off on your craft or by abandoning your profession altogether.
It’s a scary thought, but at the same time it’s a liberating one also. It means you can stop worrying about worrying. Give yourself permission to to be uncertain. All uncertainty means is that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. Just keep going.
It’s funny how we’ll perform our most courageous acts when we’re at rock bottom, when we’ve been beaten down so much that we have nothing more to lose.
And after this act of courage is when the breakthrough comes, ‘cuz ultimately all we had to do was take that small extra step in order to achieve something.
That wasn’t the funny part yet.
The funny part is that when we finally make that breakthrough we then feel we have something to lose. And then we’re back at square one acting timid.
Don’t lose that underdog spirit, my friends.
It’s easy to be yourself when your self is awesome. However, it’s impossibly tough to become awesome if you’re busy being someone else.
So I guess that leaves us with just one choice: be yourself on the way to becoming awesome even if you’re not quite there yet. A: who cares, and B: It’ll give you a better perspective on who likes you for you.