The one thing all successful people have in common

What separates all successful people everyone else is that they form habits of doing things failures do not like to do. You’ve heard that saying about how when the going gets tough then the tough get going? This is the same thing. Successful people recognize challenges and accept them as a necessary path to where they want to be. Those who fail recognize the same challenges and do their best to avoid them. They believe there must be another way to the top, especially because the digital age has taught us the paths to success across all platform is numerous, but no matter how you begin your journey to the top you eventually have to overcome the same challenges that have been presented to everyone throughout history. You have to fight through creative blocks and do things that may seem mundane or boring because doing them is the only way to get ahead.

Stephen King did not wake up one day and write a novel the world wanted to read. No one who has ever written anything meaningful has done that. The only way to become a great writer is to write every single day for years and years. Some mornings the words will flow out of you like water from the Mississippi into the gulf of Mexico, but most of the time the words will be hard, if not next to impossible, to find. Writing is hard. Everything worth doing is hard.

Part of you will try and explain away the struggle by saying you need a break or some time away, but this is resistance fighting your desire to progress from the inside out. Successful people realize that in order to live the majority of their lives as champions – AKA the people they want to be – they must suffer in the short term. They accept the hardship that comes with starting at the bottom of any field and do whatever they must in order to get ahead. If this means long hours, they work as long as it takes to get the job done. If this means reading and doing research, the library and Google becomes their best friend. If this means going to the gym daily, or cooking every meal, or setting aside an hour a day to focus on developing one specific skill, successful people find the time to work on their goals. Sacrifice is part of the game, and successful people are far more willing to make short term sacrifices in exchange for long term gain than those who fail.

We all encounter walls in individual journeys through life. What separates those who succeed from those who fail is how they respond to the presence of those walls. Successful people understand that walls do not exist to keep us out of something, but rather to make us prove how badly we want to excel at whatever it is we are trying to accomplish. In order for any industry or creative medium to progress you need the most talented and driven individuals at the helm. Walls exist to ensure there is a separation between those capable of overcoming the hurdles inherent in a field and those who will stumble at the first sign of hardship. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but it is one that exists in all career fields around the world.

Creativity and success are processes, not events. To excel at anything in life takes time, sacrifice, and doing things you might not otherwise choose to do. Does everyone start at square one? No. Life is not fair and never will be, but the vast majority (95% or more) start from roughly the same place. Everyone is born with a dream and in order to make those goals a reality they must put in work. Whether or not you are willing to do the work required to be whatever it is you hope to become is a decision only you can make, but know your choice will decide your course in life for many years to come. The work is worth the effort as long as you stick with it.

Make a decision to succeed and commit to seeing it through. The only other option is failure.

James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also the Film Editor for Substream Magazine and the host of the Inside Music podcast. He would like you to follow him on Twitter, and he encourages you to share dank memes with him whenever possible.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.