The Simple and Undeniable Prerequisite to Exceptional Achievement


Inspiration is for amateurs  -Chuck Close

The actor, producer, rapper, songwriter Will Smith, in an interview with Tavis Smiley responding to a question to what he attributes his success:

“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right? You’re not going to out-work me. It’s such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle. It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”

With that kind of philosophy, it is little surprise Smith was ranked by Forbes as the “most bankable star” in the world. Moreover, according to Fantasy Moguls, Will Smith is the only actor who has had eight CONSECUTIVE films gross over $100 million domestically and eleven CONSECUTIVE films over $150 million internationally. Luck? Hardly. We get the results we earn.

Rick Pitino once said, “Never let anyone out work you or out hustle you. Ever.” Pitino is the only men’s basketball coach in history to lead two universities to a NCAA Championship. He is also the only coach to lead three different universities to a Final Four in four different decades.  A coincidence? Try again. The seeds we plant today bloom tomorrow.

Woody Hayes, head football coach at Ohio State from 1951–1978 once said, “They may outsmart me, or be luckier, but they can’t outwork me.” Hayes won 5 national championships at Ohio State in 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, and in 1970. Fluke? Not a chance. Exceptional achievements require an exceptional work ethic, only one other man in history has been better than Hayes. Coach Bear Bryant…He reached 6 national championships at his time in Alabama. Once again, the theme is clear, he was quoted as saying,  “I’m no miracle man. I guarantee nothing but hard work” and “There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and guts between dreams and success.”

There is no excuse for laziness, apathy, good enough, complacency or even contentment when an individual has aspirations that surpass the bare minimum. 

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