Quick Takes:

  • Don’t be afraid of hard work
  • Opportunity is only one side to success, but so is preparation
  • Adopt a hustler mindset that pushes you to put in hard work
  • There are no setbacks to hustlers, only opportunities through further preparation

“I’m not a business man, I’m a business, man.” – Jay Z, Rapper and all around awesome guy

Maybe I should title this article “#HustlerMindset” to better appeal to millennials? Just kidding.

Anyway, there’s something I’ve noticed lately: people want to be successful, but only a fraction of those people actually want to put in the work. In fact, at various points in my life, I’ve been susceptible to this very same lack of work ethic.

I’m not trying to call you – or myself – out. The fact that you’re even reading this is proof you’re willing to entertain the idea of hard work. I’m simply trying to point out that there’s a pandemic brewing where people are allergic to the idea of sweat. Or more accurately, are unaware of the effort needed to be successful.

It stems from a shared paradigm where it’s believed that successful people have achieved their success through some sort of luck or divine right. Almost as if the achievement of their goals were bestowed upon them.

It’s this idealization of success that causes us “normal folk” – myself included – to believe that our own success is unattainable. Or, if we don’t believe that our success is out of our reach, we definitely believe in overnight successes, and more importantly, we want to know how to become one.

Well, we can all be overnight successes…Overnight successes thirty years in the making, that is.

It’s no wonder that Coleman Cox once quipped, “I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it.”

When we look at successful people, what we don’t see is the years of hard work and preparation it took to get them to their pinnacle of success. If we think of success as the equation below, we only see one part of the picture:

Success = Opportunity + Preparation

When looking at others, we see the success, and we see the opportunity they took advantage of, but we rarely see the preparation. Think of it this way: opportunities present themselves to everyone, but it’s only through dedicated preparation that successful people can:

1. identify and opportunity, and

2. take advantage of it

Before you can be successful – which from my perspective is becoming a successful entrepreneur – you first need to hustle.

Hustling is the idea that you’re going to do what it takes to get you to where you want to be. With a value-adding mindset, you’ll wake up early, go to bed late, dedicate time to networking, and follow your plan to success.

Whether you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, climb the corporate ladder, or even sell t-shirts on the street corner, it all comes down to your ability to hustle. If you read my post regarding EOFire, or have downloaded my free PDF: Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur, you’ll know that you need to put in the work. 

You’re always a hustler first. Getting that in your head will help break through this success paradigm. If your goal is to be an entrepreneur, for example, your first step is to hustle. Only after you’ve hustled enough to afford to pay others to hustle for you, do you truly become an entrepreneur.

Hustler first, entrepreneur second. Always.

When you realize that luck and success are both byproducts of hard work and hustle, it becomes clear what you need to do.

What’s your definition of success? Be realistic about what it’s going to take to get there. In fact, be happy that the road to your goals are filled with hard work.

Two reasons for that: first, it means that your goals are defensible and hard to obtain, meaning that getting there will put you on a higher level than average. Second, life is really all about the journey. When you focus on the path to your goals rather than fixating on the end result, you’ll always be successful.

With a hustler mindset, you’re always learning. You’re taking your experiences, both bad and good, and using them to propel you forward. Don’t shy away from the work, use it as a positive.

To a hustler, there are no setbacks, only opportunities.