The road to “mastery” is long, arduous, and sometimes painful. Although many people think about embarking on this journey, only some of them actually start, and very few end up “mastering their craft”. But why is that? Why do some people quit along the way, while others persevere and succeed? What is the key factor that sets them apart?
Truly successful people are different because they have an inner urge to achieve their goals. In other words, they are driven!
Whether you are an athlete, musician, businessman, or scholar, your career will be filled with challenges, obstacles, and setbacks. However, the way you respond to these difficult situations will ultimately determine your level of success. It’s your choice. Are you going to give up or keep moving forward when things get hard?
If you decide to keep moving forward, no matter what happens, then you will substantially increase your chances of “mastering your craft”. But what exactly is going to help you stay motivated in the face of adversity?
The answer comes in the form of a question: why? More specifically, you need to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing? For example, if you are a musician, are you playing music to receive accolades, challenge yourself, make others happy, or be a positive role model for the younger generations?
Ideally, your “why” should not be based on extrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards such as money and praise are the by-products of success. They only come after the execution of great performances. They are fleeting and not fully under your control. Therefore, you need to find a “why” that is enduring. Something that comes from within. I truly believe that the strongest sources of intrinsic motivation involve “becoming the best version of yourself” and “positively impacting the lives of others” (or a slight variation of these two sources).
Listen to Eric Thomas, also known as the Hip Hop Preacher, talk about the “why” to players from the Miami Dolphins:
Set aside quality time to complete this exercise. Give yourself a minimum of 20 minutes. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably and focus only on the task at hand. Take 3 deep breaths and relax (close your eyes if you need to).
In your journal, write down why you’re doing what you’re doing. Write down as many “whys” as possible and evaluate each one of them. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a challenging situation that may occur in the near future. Repeat that “why” to yourself a few times. Does it motivate you to keep moving forward? If so, great! If not, look deeper. Try to find something that is more meaningful to you.
Once you come up with your “why”, write it down in your journal in a short, positive, and clear form. Repeat this “why” to yourself whenever you are faced with a challenge, obstacle, or setback. It will help keep your inner fire burning!
Set goals. Do just one thing at a time. Keep it simple and smart. Do it consistently. Reflect on the process.