Why Studying Exceptional People Doesn’t Help Us
Process vs Result
We all have a desire to be significant. Yet few of us feel we are creating the rules that will get us there. So we study “exceptional people” to find rules for success. But we almost always miss the one rule that makes them successful; struggle.
While we idolize our hero, too often we lose sight of what got them there. With very few exceptions, it wasn’t talent, but struggle. Is it possible that deep commitment to the effort it takes to get to your Big Why is what actually creates meaning, joy and success?
Joy in the Journey
Are we too focused on the result achieved by “exceptional people” to understand how they got there? Why do athletes, music heroes, and business people who are already at the top of their field and financially secure keep going? Why don’t they retire as soon as they get there? Is the result their focus?
I believe it is because they have found the secret (such an over used term) of success. They understand that meaning and joy are not found in the destination but in the journey, and that love of the process of persistent struggle is the key to joy.
Love the Persistent Process
How did your star athlete get to the level they are at? By persistent struggle on the weight machines, on the track, and daily work at perfecting their craft. Relentless, consistent, persistent struggle. And a deep love for that process. Yo Yo Ma, world famous cellist, once told my daughter “The key to becoming a world class musician is to learn to love to practice; to practice every day as if you’re sitting on stage at Carnegie Hall for your debut concert.”
Do you love the Persistent Process, or are you focused on the result? Measure the result, but focus on the process and building your mental muscles through it. Learn to love the process and the ongoing development of both your craft and your business.
You will find the most meaning and joy in having made it through the tough times and having created success by loving the Persistent Process of getting there.
Your heroes didn’t get there by talent. They got there by learning to love the process of getting there. Take the things you learn from them with you into the real world, get beat up, fall down, get back up a little stronger, and do it again. Build your mental muscles one at a time, but relentlessly. Unfailing commitment to the process of getting there is the only thing that will get you there.
No Exceptional People, Just Exceptional Commitment
We get what we intend, not what we hope for. Intend to embrace the process in order to get the result. Don’t read books marveling at people who have achieved great things. Don’t study their result. Marvel instead at the fact that these otherwise very common people were dedicated and sold out to the long process of getting there, no matter their circumstances.
Circumstances don’t make me who I am. How I respond to them does. Respond with tenacity and commitment to the long view. That will get you there! Do what it takes to build a business and a life of significance!
Joy is not found in the destination, but in the journey. Love the journey, the Persistent Process, and success will follow.