When I compare myself to other people my age, and look at those of them who've achieved incredible success, there's one thing that they all have in common:
the will to win.
Will is something that you don't hear people talk about often anymore. It's a term that makes you think of something like the great depression or gladiatorial matches in ancient Rome, but it's really not something hyperbolic at all. I'm convinced that a person's will is the salient factor that truly separates high performers (in any domain, really) from those who are merely above average.
Will is the thing that causes the earth to shape itself under the direction of mankind, and not the other around.
When I look at the people in my life who've founded startups, who've made records, who've achieved an incredible physique, who've done anything that's really worth talking about - it's true that all these people had some degree of innate talent, but what really stands out, though, is that they were willing to do whatever it took to be successful.
My friend who went from a scrawny, out of shape kid (and now deadlifts 400 pounds for over ten reps) works out for four hours a day. He counts his macronutrients. His stretching routine takes an hour, and he does it twice a day.
This kind of intensity isn't the product of a system, or some secret technique. It's about wanting it so badly that no amount of work becomes too much.
My friend who founded a startup in his mid-twenties and made it onto the top 30 under 30 list works essentially non-stop, but to him, it's not really work, it's his life's work (there is a difference).
What most impresses me, though, are people who had very little talent but still achieved their goals despite an inborn disadvantage. I've had the pleasure of meeting two such men, and despite seemingly overwhelming advantages, they made their dreams happen by persevering through thousands of failures that would have broken lesser men.
Find a way, or make one.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis