Success is a nebulous term. By societal measure success is often equated with financial achievement. If making money is your primary objective, setting out to achieve that result can be an exercise in futility. Conversely, examples abound of passionate people, even in the most obscure arenas, reaching the pinnacle of both their profession and their bank account. Passion and process it would seem, is the egg that comes before the chicken. This is not to suggest financial achievement ought to be a goal at all, for as we are often reminded, money cannot buy happiness. (I’m unconvinced poverty can either.)
By his own estimation, Bruce Springsteen doesn’t have much of a voice. So how is it that a fella whose crooning can be mistaken for the sound your cat makes when you step on his tail can manage to sell 64 million albums? Better voices are kicked off of America’s Got Talent every week. How is it that he can fill stadiums at will? Two things come to mind. Firstly, it is not his voice that people pay to hear, it is the passion he pours into his product – and passion is contagious. Secondly, most of us, if placed in his shoes, would have quit. Even the most obviously gifted are rejected on a regular basis. Between when he first picked up a guitar at 16, to becoming an overnight success at 26, how many times you figure Springsteen was told ‘you can’t’ -‘you aren’t good enough’ -‘no’ ? Whether you are a fan or not, (I happen to be) we can agree that his is a remarkable example of diligently and relentlessly crafting your product. Put another way, he worked on his process. Eventually, the results followed. He is also the embodiment of the John Wooden plea, ‘do not let what you cannot do, interfere with what you can do.’ He recognized his weakness -singing -, and overcame it with song writing, band leading, and energy.
“I would argue that the most successful people have a process, and stick to it longer than their competitors.“
In my profession, as I would guess in most, individuals often prosper despite being seemingly ill equipped for the task. Conversely, countless languish despite being blessed with the attributes most of us would have thought would serve them well. What is the defining quality? I would argue that the most successful people have a process, and stick to it longer than their competitors. Those who do so with conviction and energy seem to reach a little higher.
Thanks for reading,