The Key to Success; There’s Only One

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

Don’t let Your Dreams be Dreams

Everyone has dreams for their life but why aren’t they living them? It could be argued that some people just don’t have what it takes to be something they want to be. This is understandable if you’re 5'1 and want to play professional basketball because even though there have been rather short basketball players they haven’t been 5'1. Muggsy Bogues was the shortest player to ever play in the NBA and he stood 5'3 so your dream of basketball isn’t impossible but it’s not as practical as other things you could do. This doesn’t mean you should give up on those dreams if it’s what you really want them, you’ll just have to put that much more time and effort into it. Most people are quite well rounded with multiple hobbies and passions in their lives. Chances are they also don’t mind doing one of the many things they love for a job even if it’s not their absolute favorite thing to do. For example, I love playing soccer and I had a lot of skill but I enjoyed building software more and I had a better chance at success and enjoyed it more so I explored that avenue over college soccer. Everyone has their thing(s) they’re good at or even great at that they love to do. Some have tons of things they’re good at, others have one thing they’re great at, few have many things they’re great at. Everyone has something though. Your success comes from that thing. In today’s world you can make a living from pretty much anything and everything.

The Secret

The key to success as I would put it isn’t so much a secret as everyone makes it seem. Yes, there are trade secrets to some professions; however, it all boils down to one thing. To have success you have to beat procrastination, laziness, and resistance. These are all the same thing to an extent of course but they’re all the bane of our existence. If you want to do something you have to just do it, there’s no secret to these things. If you want to be a professional soccer player you have to get some touches on the ball. You’re never going to get anywhere sitting in your room playing video games even if you’re playing FIFA. On the contrary, if you want to be a professional Overwatch player (video game) you’re going to have to practice for hours each night.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

It’s Obvious When you Think About it

If you want to be a famous author you’re going to have to write, it doesn’t matter what you write so much as long as you’re expressing your ideas in writing. I don’t think I’m a great writer but I enjoy it and strive to get better at it. I would love to be able to be a renown author one day but I like software engineering just as much. It’s always good to practice skills of all sorts as it makes you a more well rounded person. I wanted to play soccer and I still love and coach the sport, I love gaming and I was even good enough to set a few records back in the days of Black Ops I and Black Ops II that still stand to this day. I’m not trying to brag I’m simply stating these things for a reason. That reason being, I spent countless hours learning about these skills to achieve the goals I set for myself. I would come home from school and go outside to play with the football until it was dark outside. I would study the game after it was dark figuring out what moves to learn the next day, what formations were the most prevalent in the EPL (English Premier League) and where I wanted to fit in with that formation. Writers will say that you should set aside time in your schedule no matter how busy to write because you won’t get any better at writing if you don’t do just that. As with literally anything you must practice to become better at it and improve so maybe, just maybe someday you can be doing what you love as a job and be paid for it. If you aspire to become a great Youtuber like David Dobrik or Pewdiepie then time to make your first video isn’t when you’ve got that 4k camera and an amazing computer to play games on, no; it’s right now. It doesn’t matter if you have to start on a webcam without HD capability, the important part is you’re doing it. No Youtuber looks back four years in times and says those were their best years because they were learning and getting better and now they are far more successful than they’ve ever been on the platform.

It’s Easier to Give Up

I recently began reading a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In the book at the very beginning, I can’t recall if it’s in the foreword or the first couple of chapters but he explains that Hitler had aspirations to become an artist, a painter to be exact. He even went as far as to apply for great art schools in Europe. I don’t think anyone has ever seen one of his paintings but he decided on taking over the world instead. The author jokes that taking over the world was an easier task than beating his own natural laziness. The author goes on to talk about how we have to go against our natural inclination to put things off.

“Blue sand falls in an hourglass on a rocky beach” by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Don’t Procrastinate & Make a Schedule

People who want to start doing something never state they aren’t going to ever get started. They like to say “I’ll get to it someday” or “I’ll start tomorrow” but it never happens because people like to procrastinate and put things off. To overcome these things is difficult. I struggle with it myself. In order to overcome this the best thing to do is to come up with a routine or schedule to life your daily life by. Some like a strict schedule while others like a very loose schedule. I happened to have the latter of the two when I worked at Font Awesome for two and a half years. To give an example most of my days (that I don’t have class) go something like this:

  • 9:00 AM Wake Up
  • 9:00–9:45 AMMorning Routine (shower, get dressed, etc…)
  • 9:45–10:00 AM Sit down & check multiple news sites
  • 10:00–1:00 PM Work session (Take a break at times to play a game of Overwatch or two)
  • 1:00–2:00 PM Lunch
  • 2:00–5:00 PM Work Session (Take a break at times to play a game of Overwatch or two)
  • 5:00–7:00 PM Writing
  • 7:00–9:00 PM Work Session
  • 9:00–12:00 AM Personal Projects & Video Games
  • 12:00–1:00 AM Read or Watch TV before going to sleep
  • 1:00 AM Go To Bed

As you may have picked up I really do enjoy my loose schedule as it lets me do as I like through my day. At Font Awesome as a developer I made my own schedule most of the time with a few exceptions. Some people work better this way. Some people can float from thing to thing while still getting a lot of progress done. Others of course love the set schedule which I can understand and it takes a lot of discipline to do either but far more for a set schedule. Either way you prefer, a schedule will work wonders for the majority of people. Just take whatever you like to do in your day or you feel you need to do and cram it into the day; it will all fit in the day if you work with it. Don’t forget to add in sleep as you can’t go with two hours of sleep nightly unless you’re a superhuman. Some people can deal with five or six hours of sleep whilst others require their full eight or even nine hours a day.

Rewarding Yourself

Manage Your Time & “Rewards”

If you fit everything into a schedule, then try to live by it; chances are you’ll grow disciplined to do these rituals naturally after a while. It’s not uncommon for those still in school to wake up daily a few minutes before their alarms go off because they’re so used to waking up at a set time that it just happens naturally. It can happen with everything in life of course as humans learn behavior they can learn a schedule. The key with the schedule of course being to maximize the uptime in your day and minimize your downtime. Downtime is always nice but use it as a reward for yourself after doing something good or something that is an accomplishment. For me I’ll fix a bug I was stuck on in my code I’ll watch the Arsenal game or win four or five games on the trot in Overwatch I’ll allow myself a bit of time to watch some YouTube at the end of the day. Simple things like that give you something to work toward because they’re things you enjoy that you don’t get to do on a daily basis.

When Impossible is Obtainable

Sometimes you’ll already be working full time and have a packed schedule and you can’t fit anything into this schedule. If it’s something you really want to explore and feel like it’s your calling in life there’s nothing wrong with taking a leap of faith so to speak to try to achieve this dream and make it a reality. A very popular YouTube vlogger, Casey Neistat, recently published a video where he talks about making your dreams a reality. Casey, against all odds managed to triumph and become an amazing success and inspiration to millions of people. Casey dropped out of school at the age of 15, ran away from home and got his girlfriend pregnant at the age of 17. He is a self made man who became a great man. Casey is now one of the most popular YouTubers, he’s a CNN correspondent, and he’s made and sold his own start up. He’s a millionaire at this point in his life but he maxed out his credit card and his tax return to purchase a video camera because it was his dream to do this. Casey videoed things and eventually was asked to video a mother’s four kid’s as a home movie to give as a present; for doing this he was given $50 and that gave him his first taste that his dream could really be a reality. He had to take that leap of faith. When you have a kid, or two, and a job chances are you don’t have a lot wriggle room but neither did Casey and he did it so these things seem so far away yet they’re still tangible.

Everyone has dreams for their life but why aren’t they living them? After today that shouldn’t be the case. After today you now have direction on how to reach your dreams. How to become a success. Clearly this isn’t the only thing but I would say this is the biggest thing by far when it comes to becoming successful. You have to know how to get from point A to point B and it’s never going to happen unless you start and build toward that dream, that goal, and there’s no better time to start than here and now.

Knowledge is everything. Software Engineer, Coach, Writer. Helms Media Founder. Much love.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store