Top secrets for success
Talent vs skill & how consistency pays off
By Aditi Raman Shridhar
A lot has been said about how to achieve success. We are all familiar with words like persistence and consistency, talent, skill, knowledge, hard work and smart work, focus, networking, and many more. But how much are we adopting these daily to advance in our careers?
Ask yourself if your current pace of your work is frustrating or exhilarating for you. You’d know if you are doing the right things or not. Many people feel ‘stuck’ at their job or business and it can happen at any time in your career. ‘I don’t know what career to choose.’ ‘I work so hard but I’m getting nowhere’. “I work so hard but I get paid peanuts’. ‘I am burning out’. ‘I am slogging away but no one recognizes me’. ‘I should switch my career path’. And the list goes on. If you resonate with any of these, then you have a career crisis. However, the good news is that it can be solved.
A career is more than just a means of earning money. Being good at what you do generates a lot of self-confidence, self-respect and boosts ones self-esteem. Materializing your idea into a physical result gives immense happiness and satisfaction and inspires others as well to level up their game. Success is an integral requirement of being human. What else are we here for if not for discovering our hidden potential? And a career allows that.
So, what are the biggest road blocks in creating an amazing career?
- Lack of vision and self-knowledge:Not knowing what you want to do, what you are good at and what you enjoy doing are the three biggest reasons that attract a career crisis. You will find a lot of professionals stuck in the wrong workplace. Irrespective of the industry, there are always some individuals that are complete misfits. This is because they either misunderstood being talented at something that they are not, or they got themselves being sucked into a rat race without much thinking. In today’s world there is no such job that doesn’t require intense hard work, consistent honing of skill and knowledge and delivering the best all the time. Having a vision for growth, being result-oriented, constantly updating your skills and knowledge and being consistent in performance is now a pre-requisite to having a long and satisfying career. So, if you are not willing to treat patients 24×7 and updating your medical knowledge all your life, then do not become a doctor just because it sounds cool and intellectual. Chances are that even if you make a lot of money, you will burn out eventually.
- Talent vs Skill: The most misunderstood concept among humans that is costing them a lot of time and money is Talent versus Skill. Some people aren’t able to get much ahead at their work because they feel they are not talented enough. ‘She has a natural aptitude for this work but I don’t.’ Let me break this bubble for you. Talent is simply an aptitude. It requires skill, learning, knowledge, consistent practice and repetition to becoming really great at that talent.
As Albert Einstein said, “Genius is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration.” So even though the famous scientist had the clearest vision about what he wanted to invent, he still attributed success to consistent hard work.
Skill on the other hand is the acquirement of knowledge. You may have a natural aptitude for music and could hit the right notes, but it is going to take several years of learning music, adopting skills to sing various styles of music, practicing every single day and banning a lot of foods that cause sore throats to be able to even think of starting a career in music. Everyone that you have known to have a gift has slogged for years and years to reach stardom and world fame. Michael Jackson is a legend who started training and working at the age of four.
- Monetize what you have: The art of monetizing your work also requires a lot of learning and knowledge. There are many people who are good at what they do and they really love their work but are unable to make a satisfactory income from it. Monetizing your services is necessary because money is a physical reward for all your hard work and creativity. It inspires you to work harder and do more and be better. Money is a huge driving factor for many people and there is nothing wrong with it.
- Being Lazy: You may have found the perfect job, the perfect salary but you are too lazy to be consistent at your work and that could really bring you to a dead-end one day. Being able to deliver consistently is an art and probably the most important if you want to keep enjoying the perks and benefits of a great career. If Jennifer Lopez stops taking care of her body, singing good songs, improving herself as an artist, would you really like to listen to her anymore? I doubt it. Even you want consistent flow of movies, music, books and journals of your favourite actors, musicians, dancers, writers and any professional you admire. So, if you wouldn’t allow your favourites to stop working and giving you amazing entertainment, how do you expect your boss and clients to stop demanding the same from you.
- I’m not good enough for anything: Another self-loathing and extremely delusional belief that often deters people from having their dream career is the feeling that ‘I’m not good enough for any work. ‘I can’t do anything well’. ‘I don’t have any talent or skill’. This is actually impossible because every human being has some inborn qualities, the biggest of them being survival in any way possible. This means that even though you have the worst odds, say you are illiterate, have physical disabilities, are dirt poor, have no family. Yet, you can survive by finding some means to work somewhere and earn enough to eat. So, anyone above this level of existence can do something worthwhile for sure in their lives.
Let me give you the example of the famous entrepreneur Elon Musk. Before he started out to venture into the big projects of space rockets, electricity-driven cars etc, he made himself live off 10 dollars a day doing cleaning work, wiping windows and stuff. He saw that he could sleep comfortably, eat, wear clothes and be clean and hygienic. Once he learnt that his survival was guaranteed, he went on to conquer all his projects and dreams without any fear of losing anything. And he is a billionaire. You can do anything if you set your mind to it. Anyone who is eating comfortably and has literacy is already privileged. So, you don’t have an excuse of thinking that you aren’t good enough.
- Belief: This is a crucial one. As famous psychologist Marisa Peer says, “Belief without talent will take you further than talent without belief.” She adds that she has many clients who have little talent but tons of ambition and they manage to get to the top of their fields. And if you have talent and belief in yourself, you are quite literally unstoppable.
Peer also talks about the four traits that all successful people have.
They are willing to do the things they HATE to get to where they want to be: Often, the things we dislike—exercise, studying, organising, working on weekends or dieting—are what stand between us and our goals. Successful people don’t shy away from these things, they learn to endure them by creating new habits and changing the way they talk about them. So, instead of “Ugh, I hate it when I can’t eat carbs” they say “I love the way resisting sugar and bloating foods makes me feel.” Instead of saying “I hate exercise it’s so boring” they say “my body loves working out.” They say this over and over until, guess what, they begin to believe it.
- They do the things they don’t want to do FIRST: When I first began writing my books, it didn’t come easy to me. I had a young child, I felt like I was always on a deadline and I used to do everything I could possibly imagine before actually sitting down to write. These days, I write first thing without even brushing my hair or even going downstairs, because over the years I’ve trained myself to tackle what used to be a difficult task first. So if you hate exercise, don’t wait until the end of the day. If you have an annoying task to do, schedule it for the first part of your day. Getting this type of task done sooner will also boost your sense of achievement which you’ll carry with you for the rest of your day.
- They never take no for an answer: It’s true that some successful people make it look easy, as if they’re always attracting the right people and opportunities into their life. But the truth is, success doesn’t come to people, people go to it. So people that have achieved things you admire have undoubtedly spent day after day refusing to accept anything but “yes.” If someone turns down their proposal, doesn’t give them the job, or tells them they’re unqualified, they simply take the criticism, improve what they can, and move on to the next opportunity. Absolutely nothing replaces persistence.
- They take action every day in pursuit of your goals: This one’s quite simple, but so many people make excuses not to do it. If you want to be a writer, you must write every day (even if you don’t have a book contract); if you want to lose weight, you must make positive food and activity choices everyday (even if you’re busy at work); if you want to be more organised, you must choose one area of your house to clear up every day (even if it’s just one drawer or table top). If you want your products to be known you have to make marketing calls every day. It doesn’t have to be a huge accomplishment every day, but taking piece-meal steps daily will help you accrue a sense of accomplishment that will drive you toward your goals.
To complete all these steps and make them part of your life, you must erase the words “should,” “try,” and “maybe” from your mental script. You mind is much like a classroom full of children—it knows exactly what to do, but it won’t do it until you explicitly command it so. Begin phrasing everything you say to yourself in the affirmative, take action toward your goals and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Good luck! Until next week.
Aditi Raman Shridhar is an Indian writer & health and wellness instructor.