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It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.
This is the title of a powerful little book by Paul Arden, and it couldn’t be more true.
Because while you’re out there wishing you were doing something else, wanting the life of someone else, other people are out there getting what they want.
They set their mind to do something and do it.
Of course, it’s not easy to do. Nothing worth doing ever is.
But it doesn’t matter, because it’s what they want and they wouldn’t settle for anything less.
Here are five ways you can get what you want…
1. Be persistent
There’s nothing more important than persistence. If you don’t keep trying, you’ll never accomplish anything.
Received a rejection slip from every publisher you’ve ever sent your book to?
Don’t give up. Rewrite your book if you have to. Then try again.
Get turned down for your perfect job?
Get a new skill. Do something that will blow them away and convince them they can’t possibly continue their running their company without you. Then apply again.
Can’t seem to finish a 5k? Unable to convince the pretty girl down the street you’re the one for her? Can’t seem to master that skill so important to your future (or current) career?
Only through persistance will we try enough times to achieve our dreams.
2. Seek out criticism, not support
We all love to hear that others love our work.
Praise for what we do reassures us that all our efforts paid off. That we’re as wonderful and talented as we’d always hoped we’d be.
But think twice before you go asking your Aunt Elma whether she likes your newest e-book (you know she’ll say yes).
Because while approval may be comforting, it doesn’t teach us anything.
It’s the criticism that lets us learn.
So don’t ask others if they like your work. Unless they’re comfortable being incredibly honest (and most people aren’t), they’ll tell you what you want to hear: that it’s good.
But if you want it to be better, to be really, truly good, start with a different question.
Ask, “How can I make it better? What could be improved?”
Even your Aunt Elma might have some useful advice with questions like these.
3. Show up
Like persistence, showing up is a vital component to eventually doing something great.
You have to go to work on a regular basis to do anything worthwhile.
You have to keep going to the gym if you ever want to get back into shape.
You have to keep writing your manuscript to ever reach its end.
Every day you take off, every hour you spend not thinking about your goals is another moment wasted.
So show up.
4. Invite failure
Most people tend to look at failure like it’s the opposite of success…
As if it’s a bad thing.
But failure is only bad if you give up after one try.
Seth Godin says that failure is part of the natural process of becoming successful:
“All of us fail. Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from failure than everyone else.”
Without failure you’ll never learn anything. Failure is what teaches you how to make things better.
So invite failure, because it means you’re on the right track to success.
Just make sure you learn from it.
5. Create goals
“Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.” — Paul Arden
Having a clear, specific goal is crucial to determining whether you’ll be as great as you want to be.
In the book, Arden shows how pop star Victoria Beckham dreamed of being famous since she was a teenager…
And made the unequivocal goal to become as famous as Persil Automatic (yep, the laundry detergent).
Strange, maybe, but it worked.
She lived and breathed this dream. She worked toward it. And she’s now one of the most recognizable celebrity faces in America… the UK… and probably around the world.
But this isn’t easy to do. It means you have to pick a goal and stick with it. No floundering.
(Full disclosure: This is the hardest step for me, and I have to constantly work at it to stick to just one thing.)
It’s your choice. You can be great, or you can be mediocre.
You can show up, or you can stay home.
But it’s up to you. No one can force you to be good.
So how good do you want to be?