Why you don’t have to work harder than everyone else to be successful.


Finding balance in today’s world is hard. Everyday there is another race for the rat to run. Some new obstacle to climb. Some new strife to overcome. If only we could see the challenges that tomorrow holds, we could prepare for them. Maybe. The truth is that with all the amenities that we have today, life is still hard. The stress builds through the sounds, sights, and congestions of our everyday lives. ¬†Our primal connection with the earth has been replaced with concrete and LED screens. Our children feel this.

My son is like me. For the most part he is content, but then it hits him. He wants something more. I give him this thing that he wants. He wants something else. Sometimes, he is never content. This sense of wanting more is a blessing and a curse. The desire for more drives us to do great things, but we sometimes sacrifice our peace of mind to get whatever it is we want more of.

A lot of successful people in the world say, “you have to work harder than everyone else if you want to make it in this world.” Kind of a tough pill to swallow. It’s understandable why most people fade off before they finish the race. There is some truth to that, but it doesn’t apply to everyone since we all hold different views on what success is. That’s a statement someone would say, after they make it, to make it sound like they outworked everyone.¬†Malcolm Gladwell wrote about success in the book, Outliers. He claimed that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. That’s roughly equivalent to 5 years at 40 hours/week.

I’ll take what’s behind door #2.

I do agree that hard work pays off, but there has to be a balance. For instance, I want to be a successful writer, but there is no way I can work harder than everyone else. My life won’t let me. I have a full time job and a full time family that comes first. My writing takes the third row seat in the back with the dusty workout equipment and my out of tune guitar. The kicker here is that I am still writing. I fit it in where I can. I won’t stop because I don’t know how to now that I’ve found it. I will still be writing ten years down the road. And that is what will lead to success.

For the times I feel the urge for more, I remind myself to slow down. I’m in a race already and I don’t have to finish first. I don’t have to work harder than everyone else. I work at my own pace. I do what works for me, and I still work hard. There must be balance in life. It’s ok to take a break. Stop looking into the future all the time. Take some time for yourself to reconnect with the world. Smile more. Talk to a stranger while you’re waiting in line. Sit down and read a book. Play.

Slow it down. Reflect. Balance. Now go to work.