We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle
Success is accumulative. It isn’t born from a grand act or audacious intention. It is who we are every damn day and what we repeatedly do in those days. (Read This: Success Isn’t A Mountain. It’s An Eternal Struggle.)
I’m not where I want to be. Not close. I’m light-years short of that marker, and what I’m realizing more and more is that this isn’t because of talent or a lack of it, nor is it a matter of a lack of breaks, it’s because I haven’t been nearly consistent enough.
As I’m becoming more consistent, the results are beginning to show. The more work I do, and this work isn’t done in a grand attempt at greatness, burning the midnight oil trying to squeeze everything into one day, it’s methodical, persistent, lacking all glamour, and the more I do this methodical approach, the better I get at what I do.
This is just from personal experience. The evidence for habitual greatness is found in every success story. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about ‘genius’’ like Da Vince or Michelangelo, their success came on the other end of their toil in solitude and silence and failure.
It takes time to understand what habits lead to success and which ones don’t, and we’re often swayed by others in the wrong direction. That time is important. You need it.
We’ve become a society that praises youth. We’re the first in history to praise youth as we do. It’s a marketing ploy to create buyers at a young age. Once you’ve got your hooks in them they’re yours. As a result, success has become something we want instantaneously. It doesn’t happen like that.
Not real success. Not the perfecting of a craft or becoming great at something. Sure, you can make money at a young age, but you’re not going to become great unless you being your practice earlier than everyone else, and by a long shot.
The faster you pick a singular focus and set your habits to becoming excellent at that endeavor, the quicker success will come. Of course, it doesn’t matter the age you begin, it still requires 5-10 years of obscurity and often failure before you realize anything near your potential, and before you have that final breakthrough.
Accept this daily toil. Come to grips with the fact that it’s on you and what you do every day. Don’t expect anything to come quickly. Determine the habits you need to have, then be those habits every damn day.