It’s been said: “All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy.” People who do little else but work all the time have issues. They’re running from something. They’re doing the avoid-dance. Being ambitious and driven are good qualities to possess. Success requires hard work of course, and this often requires choosing a course that few others are willing and/or able to choose.
But as impressive as dedication and commitment to one’s endeavors are, workaholism is no joke. Any “ism” is serious stuff that matters. People need to be able to disconnect and have down time, even if they don’t think they do. People need time to reflect, to recharge, and to remind themselves of who the hell they are. This is impossible if you’re either fostering or fielding incessant amounts of “work” without the necessary and requisite spaces between the to-do’s. Choose to shield yourself from this shit at all costs. Even if that means the cost is paying the price that comes with choosing a different career path. Life’s too short…
This short video is of Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Outliers) discussing the band Fleetwood Mac’s story as an illustration of the – often – very long time it takes to truly become great at something. The comment below it prompted my reponse that follows:
“I don’t doubt he is correct about the time it takes to achieve greatness. To me this isn’t a big breakthrough. The hard part for most people is finding that special thing to put their energy into. Why aren’t more authors and thinkers pointing out this aspect of success?, identifying one’s calling… because it’s only natural to devote energy to something when you believe it is really worthwhile. This is what I believe separates the top 5% from the rest (finding their niche) which isn’t easy!” – coreydmont, YouTube comment
As a writer, observer and participant, here is my take:
Finding your niche… discovering your destiny… uncovering your calling… this is the hardest part of being “successful.”
Knowing the what you should be pursuing has to precede the how you’re going to get there. Many people get this backwards.
A lot of well-intentioned and ambitious people exert tremendous amounts of time and effort pursuing undertakings that are wrong for them. They get so wrapped up in the doing that they don’t stop to consider if what they’re doing is what they should be doing.
The what you should be doing is that which exists at the intersection of your passion AND your talent. A calling must marry one’s interest as well as their skills. It’s that thing you do that few others can do as well or as uniquely as you do.
It’s not enough to just enjoy something; it’s not enough to be good at something… one’s true calling or destiny or life’s work HAS to contain both elements. A passion for – and a knack for – must co-exist. Passion PLUS talent produces the necessary perseverance required to turn your calling into a career.
Next, this calling has to be specific and focused. No one can be good at everything… nor should you try. One must specialize and then organize. Countless hours, days, months, and even years can be saved if you really stop and consider the “what” before the “how.”
Once you know that… then do that… for as long as it takes. Maybe even for 10,000 hours over the next ten years…
Real “success” is enjoying the journey doing what you’re supposed to be doing… to “Go Your Own Way” – regardless of the outcome.