What it takes to be successful.


Thanks to social media, I’ve had the opportunity share my work with a lot of people over the past several month. Each time I post a drawing, at least one person makes a comment similar to “How did you learn to draw like that? I can only draw stick figures.”

My reply is always the same: there was once a time that I could only draw stick figures, too.

A person doesn’t get “good” at something overnight. I’ve spent literally thousands of hours drawing throughout my life. In the beginning, my drawings were utterly terrible. But, over time, they gradually got better. I still have a lot to learn.

We live in a society in which people are increasingly looking for shortcuts to success. Here’s a secret: there aren’t any.

Want to be the best at something? It’s as easy as four steps:

Learn. Practice. Apply. Repeat.

Sounds simple, right? It is if you’re willing to put in the work. A LOT of work. As in YEARS of work.

Find something that you’re really passionate about and learn everything you can about it. Absorb that knowledge and begin testing what you’ve learned. Make mistakes, learn, and refine your approach so you get better the next time you try. Do this over and over again.

But 8-hour work days won’t cut it. Many more hours are required. Every day. Here’s my routine:

– Get up a 7am, and spend an hour with my family as we get ready for the day.
– In the office by 8:30am.
– Work until at least 6pm (I try to work “smart” and hard to accomplish everything within those hours)
– Family time until 8:30pm (when my daughter goes to bed). Time with my family is the most important part of my day, and I won’t compromise it.
– Draw from 8:30pm to 1am (while my wife studies for her classes).

I don’t watch much tv. I don’t go out to “party” very often. I follow this routine almost every day.

I wish there was an easier way, but I haven’t found one. In fact, nearly every successful person I know has a similar work routine.

Don’t get me wrong, serendipity often plays a role in success, too. But that “luck” wouldn’t have magically happened without the countless hours of WORK that preceded it.

Once you realize that you have the power to control your own destiny, there are truly no limits to what you can accomplish (assuming that you’re willing to work for it).

So, want to be great a something? Start learning. Start doing. Start failing. Get better. Every day. Anyone can do it.

If you want it, go get it. No one will hand it to you.

Start now.

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