If You Do This, Ordinary Actions Will Result In Extraordinary Success

Aristotle is quoted as saying “We are what we repeatedly do.”

I agree with this quote. The thing about the people in this world is that they repeatedly do things that do not bring them closer to what they really want in life.

They get up, go to work (or not), buy something, eat, watch TV, sleep – repeat.

Look, I’ve been around long enough to see plenty of this and have learned that this is how the majority of people are going to live. But if you feel up to it you can unleash a tsunami of potential locked deep inside yourself.

It all begins with a goal far above the level you are currently at.

Everyone needs to have at least one big goal, otherwise what the hell are you doing?

But for that goal to really matter, you need to have a deep and powerful WHY.

Find Your “Why”

Your “Why” is the deep meaning behind why you want something. It’s not just a goal you chose

Do you want that promotion at work because you want more money, more power, more respect, or is it just what you are supposed to want?

None of those reasons are a WHY. They are just minor things that will not keep you going towards your true goal.

Take Elon Musk for example. He has more money than he could personally spend for the rest of his life. He also has more power and certainly more respect than most people do. So why isn’t he just living life up? You know, buy a tropical island, a mansion, an expensive yacht, cars/planes/trips/etc.? He could do all that all while never having to do anything he doesn’t want to do ever again.

So why isn’t he? Why is he dealing with multiple businesses, naysayers, government red tape, and a hectic schedule?

Musk believes that to reduce the likelihood of eventual extinction, humanity needs to be a multi-planetary species. Because of this, establishing a colony on Mars is the long-term goal of SpaceX — his rocket company.

The rest of his projects are all about saving the Earth – solar panels, electric cars, the hyperloop. His goals aren’t about himself, he has taken it upon himself to save humanity.

That is a deep and powerful WHY. It gets him fired up to do all the things that he needs to do.

That’s a good thing, because we aren’t going to be on Mars tomorrow. It will require millions of things to be accomplished and invented along the way. It will require Elon to decide upon hundreds of thousands of directions to take the projects.

Day after day, it will take a long time.

His big WHY gives him the ability to stay the course on this huge undertaking while millions of other people have already given up on their simple New Years Resolution to lose weight.


The “Now” Mentality

One of the greatest killers of goals is expecting near-instantaneous results. That is going to be a problem in the society of today that expects everything to happen on demand.

If a website doesn’t have at least free next day delivery most people will go looking elsewhere. Want to binge-watch a TV series – you got Netflix, Hulu, Amazon TV and more to give you what you want right this moment. Want to eat but don’t want to cook – Grubhub, UberEats, and plenty of other services will bring you your food in almost no time at all.

Did you eat too much? Well here is a pill that ‘guarantees’ you to lose all that weight in a month. If that doesn’t do the trick, there is always surgery.

It’s not just quick services we are demanding, it is spilling over elsewhere. You have young workers, people fresh out of school, that demand a raise just a few months after being hired because they feel they aren’t being rewarded fast enough (calm down, let’s see what you can do over the long-run first).

You got people that invest their money and expect it to continuously double every month. If it only went up 5% in that timeframe that is much too low. For every crypto millionaire, there are a million people that have a dollar less.

Maybe it is social media that showcases the winners without showing the millions of losers that don’t get a mention. I don’t know, but it all is leading to a society that believes they can have everything they want immediately.

This might be the reason why FAR fewer books are read than TV shows watched. Reading takes time and concentration to understand and retain. Watching the next episode of The Big Bang Theory is easy, fast, and you can turn your brain off.

Here is the thing about reaching your goals – you can’t order it on Amazon and get it the same day. It takes years of work. Day after day of working towards it.

Forget about instant gratification and learn patience. This journey is going to take a lot of time.


The Difference Between Success and Failure

I am not talking about success and failure as a single victory or defeat, a win or a loss. On the path towards your goals you will lose numerous times, it is just part of the journey. Nor is success only had when you arrive at your big goal, as there will be many victories too.

I am talking about success or failure in the big scheme – achieving your goal or not.

Just like an investment, you choices will compound. Rarely, if ever, does a person do one single thing and be at their goal.

Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t just lift for a day and then become Mr. Olympia. No, it is a daily grind where you are disciplined and motivated to work hard to get that fraction of a percent closer. He had to workout and eat well and get plenty of rest – all of these were conscious choices.

He had to go and lift the same weight hundreds of times. Thousands of times. Maybe even a million times. Whatever it took, he was driven to succeed.

Every day he got that much stronger, but it was imperceptible on a daily basis. He couldn’t see any change from one day to the next. But there came a point in which he could see where he was today and it was miles from where he was.

Just like compound interest. It starts small and you might not even know it is working. But given enough time it becomes the most powerful force in the universe, as said by Albert Einstein.

That same force can work against you.

Say Arnold found lifting weights to be too tedious and the local apple strudels too delicious to resist. Instead of gaining muscle, he gained fat. Just a little bit, imperceptibly so. But that little bit compounded over time will result in a very fat man.

Success or failure is not one huge “all-or-nothing” thing. It is a series of choices, good or bad, repeated again and again over a period of time. Those choices will accumulate on top of one another until you arrive at the inevitable destination they foretell.


Once you Start, Don’t Stop

You don’t have to be the smartest, the strongest, the richest, or the quickest person in the world to get to your goal. Often it is achieved by the person who set themselves towards it because of their deep WHY.

The first thing that will set you apart from the rest of humanity is simply to start. The second thing that will set you apart from those that start is to not stop.

You see, most people won’t even start. They will live their lives directed by other people.

Some will start, but hit an obstacle and give up. They go and live a life of regret.

A precious few, out of all the people in the world, will build up the deep fire within to jump over any amount of obstacles and any amount of problems and any amount of defeats to find success.

These few people will come upon an obstacle and do what it takes to get past it. They will find any problems not as a negative, but as something to help them grow stronger and more resilient. They will find the lesson in every defeat. They will rest to regain their endurance, BUT THEY WILL NOT STOP.

Do you remember that Aristotle quote from earlier? There is a second sentence. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

You can’t fake excellence. Excellence is only built up over time as you continue to do what is difficult.

“Excellent” people might not have been the smartest, the strongest, the richest, or the quickest person when they began, but they are damn well close enough by the time they reach their goal.

It is the accumulation of uncountable ordinary actions that lead to extraordinary accomplishments.


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  1. Mr. Robot

    An amazing article, thank you very mich for sharing it. Especially the part of the instant-gratification is so true in society nowadays. And I hate to see where it will lead in the coming years…
    Mr. Robot recently posted…Portfolio review – February 2018My Profile

  2. Hustle Hawk

    Very interesting post – thank you.

    “Everyone needs to have at least one big goal, otherwise what the hell are you doing?”
    >I tend to ask myself this ask question a lot.

    “But for that goal to really matter, you need to have a deep and powerful WHY.”.
    >I don’t have a ‘why’, so instead I try to focus on capability instead. The tricky part is then determining which capabilities to expand and pursue.


  3. Steveark

    Good message. I think that having a Musk type Why is pretty rare. In my case it was just to produce a product everyone needed with less environmental impact and at a lower cost and more safely than it had been done before. That isn’t particularly noble in some ways but if everyone is doing that then the world gets better. That was more than enough of a Why for me.

  4. Reverse The Crush

    Amazing post, Justin! I really feel like we’re on the same page and share a lot of the same perspectives. I’ve noticed the “now” mentality too. I’ve seen the entitlement and impatience first hand. I absolutely think more people would be happier in life if they understood their why. I would be extremely depressed with that TV watching, work, sleep cycle you described. I love the overall message of this post man. As always, I can count on your blog and your side hustles for motivation, I got to keep repeatedly working on my goals. Keep it up!
    Reverse The Crush recently posted…Dividend Income received in February 2018 – DIU # 9My Profile

  5. fin$avvypanda @ finsavvypanda.com

    Hi Justin.

    This was a very meaningful and inspiring post. Very well written and well thought out. I love it!

    Too often, people want NOW. If they don’t get it now, they will keep complaining and b!tching their entire lifetime. All that time could’ve been spent wisely be just starting and slowly progressing. This is exactly why Amazon, Uber, Netflix, etc. are able to make money from the masses, lol… they solve their problem of wanting instant gratification. And they these companies deserve to be making the huge profits!

    Anyway, I wanted to add that once you do see results, you will have to keep going. Gotta maintain and improve! I believe that compound interest works for everything in life 🙂

    Again, great post!
    fin$avvypanda @ finsavvypanda.com recently posted…9 Irresistible Quotes That Will Help You Achieve Success and HappinessMy Profile

  6. Mr Defined Sight

    Outstanding post my friend! Finding your WHY is one of the most important things. Once you have that, be relentless and don’t stop. I’ve seen far too many people give up on their goals way too fast. Most don’t have the dedication or patience to commit long term. Success and happiness aren’t always found immediately. It can be a process.
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Ring Ring, It’s Your Former Workplace Calling…We Want You Back!My Profile

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