I’d started off my morning by writing about Kevin Hart. I delved into his life. I understood his childhood and where it all started for this now incredibly wealthy man. I became familiar with his relationships, his motivation, his passion, his creativity, his drive. I listened, read, watched with admiration.
What he’d achieved at such a young age is commendable. However, as I did, I felt myself get a strange sense of envy.
As I delved into the dates at which he’d first stepped onto the comedy stage I couldn’t help but compare what I was doing at that age. As I read further about him starting to get some traction, bigger gigs, larger crowds, more attention. Again, I’d pan back to my own life.
Oh so by the time Kevin was selling out shows, I’d just started my graduate scheme…right. In fact, I was still in University at that time and Hart's had landed his first break in the acting world.
By the time he featured in Scary Movie I was still living at home with my parents, struggling stay awake enough hours in the day to make it home from work.
Now, 40, he’s an actor, comedian, producer, business owner, story-teller. I can’t help but think, where will I be at 40. Based on the current rate, I won’t even break a million dollars.
And that’s when I come back to how useful is this all. How useful is analysing every successful person in the world? We know the recipe for success. Oh, come on we do.
I do wonder how many of the great people in this world spent any time looking up or sideways. How many of them really would spend a morning or evening analysing what people around them were doing. Not in order to hone their craft, I’m not trying to hone my comedic talent (there is none). I’m merely looking at Kevin Hart in total fascination and trying to unpick the foundations of what made him so successful. Made, I mean is making him so successful, he’s only 40.
What we know
Isn’t the story always the same? Everything (or so it feels) I read about someone successful is pretty much the same. They had an idea or they had something they were passionate about and they held on for dear life.
Like a dog with the bone, they held on. They kept going.
When people thought they were at the bottom of the pile or stupid they didn’t care. Why would they? They were focused on their craft. They were focused on doing whatever they were doing really well. They didn’t spend time dwelling, looking at anybody but themselves. They were too busy.
From reading a lot of biographies, watching endless YouTube content and listening to what feels like the millionth podcast on successful entrepreneurs there are some things that ring true every single time.
I’m starting to think that this self-help addiction isn’t a good one. We know what the common trait are don’t we? Aren’t we all now familiar with what it takes and what we need to do?
You Need Persistence
Persistence. So some people get really lucky. I mean, they are at the right place at the right time. They’d discovered or created something just at the time the market was ready to devour it. Of course, there are massive amounts of strategy in that. I’m not for one second suggesting Kevin Systrom of Instagram didn’t have some vision.
However, what I am saying is that the market was pretty app-free and photography was destined to be the next big thing. Hence that was his pinch of good luck but for the most part, it was all down to him and his persistence.
These successful folk just keep going.
They think long term. That means that they are able to stick with things for a while. Most of us, and I am totally guilty of this, will try something for six months. After six months we think: ‘well it’s obviously not working is it, on to the next thing.’
The truth is, big things take a while to grow. We might not see any fruits of our labour for a while and for some of us that is bitter pill to swallow.
We don’t want to wait. We need results now. And if we can’t see them immediately we give up because we think it’s not working.
If you want to succeed you need to be persistent. Keep going when no one is watching.
You Definitely Need Patience
Patience. Being able to wait. Seeing the prize and not running towards it and forgetting to look where you are going. We’re all guilty of this. We want, well… sometimes I’m sure we don’t even know what we want. We strive for this ambiguous thing called success. We beat ourselves up when we don’t get it immediately and retreat back to Netflix because:
‘What’s the point, it didn’t work.’
Patience is honing the ability to receive a reward later. To resist the pull of instant gratification.
These successful folk are able to resist the urge. They have confidence in what they are doing, they trust in the process and they don’t need a new fancy car to show themselves they are becoming a success.
They keep going and have the patience to know that they may not be successful now, in ten weeks or maybe even a couple of years. But eventually, their time will come.
And Of Course, You Need Positivity
Positivity is all about how you, we, interpret the world around us. Do you see the sun on a bright day or do you feel the wind? More importantly, do you enjoy the light or moan about the cold?
It’s about the way you view the world. What are you drawn too?
You could sit and choose to see the world as a horrible place where nothing good happens or you could choose to look at all the good going on in the world.
“Look and you will find it — what is unsought will go undetected. “— Sophocles
The chances are, whatever you look for, you will find. These successful folk seem to look on the brighter side of life, they seem to view the world as full of opportunity and prosperity. They believe they can do big things.
If you set about having a good day, chances are you’ll have one. If you set about thinking you’ll be a success and that you are on your way, chances are, you will be.
The Other Important Traits
- Hard work
Whatever you are doing you need to be consistent with it, don’t do it for a day and give up, do it for 500 days and then look up, keep your head down for 500 days.
You need ambition, look for the opportunities all around you, don’t settle for second place, keep trying.
Be dedicated, don’t half-arse it. Commit to whatever it is and give it you're all.
And most of all work hard, nothing replaces hard work. You can be the most talented person in the world, you won’t get as far as someone who is willing to outwork you.
Now you know
Now you know, the cat is out of the bag. Let’s be honest though, you knew all that. So, what next? Are you going to continue to watch Gary Vaynerchuk for hours on end, are you going to continue to read endless articles about famous people that have made it? Are you going to retreat back to thinking about doing it and waiting till next week?
And by the way, if you want to do that, that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with whatever you spend your life doing (I mean, apart from the bad stuff). But if you’re not satisfied with your life, if you are beating yourself up about where you are, what you’re doing. If you’re not happy with the life you’ve got, the job, the pay, the career trajectory… whatever.
The great news is, you can change that.
Something to bear in mind though is that if you’ve just spent the last three years of your life not doing anything other than reading articles like this and listening to Gary Vee and you’re still not where you want to be. By continuing to do this, in three years time, you still won’t be where you want to be.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein.
You know the attitude, the tools, the techniques. Find something you are interested in, gardening, painting, writing, people, talking, I honestly don’t think it matters. It’s not like every rich, successful person in the world are all doing the same thing.
The variety proves that you can be successful in whatever you want to be, you just need to be really good at it. You get really good by practising. Not by listening, getting motivated and thinking:
“Okay tomorrow I start.”
Start right now, pick up a camera and vlog, offer to mow the neighbour's lawn, write an article. Whatever, it doesn’t matter, just do something. If you want to get to where these people are, you don’t need to read about what they are doing, you need to do what they are doing. Produce as much content as Gary Vee if that’s who you want to be, don’t watch all his videos in admiration and hope you’ll get there one day.
You’ve got to do the actual work.
Maybe that’s what we’re all afraid of. Watching, observing is easy. Ideating about how we would do it — that’s the easy bit. Doing it. Doing it consistently with patience and positivity. That’s the hard bit.
So, are you up for some hard work?