Everybody on earth, without exception, yearns for an easy path through life. Most people won’t admit it, but when faced with a challenge everyone pines for a simple solution. The truth of the matter is that the easiest path will never get you to your destination. This is what separates people with motivation from people with drive. Motivation will get you out of the door, but drive will keep you going when the path takes a more difficult turn. Please don’t mistake this; the path WILL get very difficult. Anyone who has attained a high level of achievement in any kind of profession has struggled and has relied on their internal drive to get them through it.
Success often clouds memories of those struggles. Ask someone successful to relive the hardest parts of their journey and they will likely give you a watered-down version of what actually happened. That is because the memories and details of the struggle fade with time. This actually happens biologically. When women have children, the euphoria of having a healthy baby immediately displaces the painful memories of childbirth. This is known as the halo effect.
In my experience, the halo effect can often power motivation. I recently launched a new, direct to consumer invisible orthodontic aligner company called byte for people looking for alternatives to expensive dental procedures. Spurred on by my past successes, I was anxious to get this incredibly useful and innovative product out the door (incidentally, if anyone is interested you can find the product online at byteme.com). Right up until the moment of launch, I didn’t encounter any significant struggles. I told myself that it was due to experience and wisdom, that I was better at starting businesses now and that I could expect smooth sailing from here. I was lost in the halo effect of previous successes, and wistfully hoped that every venture I attempted in the coming decades would go smoothly.
I was wrong, of course.
Challenges presented themselves, and I was once again forced to tap into my internal drive to keep moving. The trick is to appreciate the struggle and accept there is no other way. You can long for a path without it, but to be on the forefront you are going to have to pave your own way, take the hits and roll with the punches along the way. The further along I get in my life/career, the more I understand that the huge, pain-in-the-ass challenges and problems are inevitable. The greater the challenges, the better the potential outcome.
Struggle is guaranteed. It isn’t fun. I do not enjoy it at all but I tell myself daily to appreciate it. And the truth remains that it is the only path to success. If it were an easy mountain to climb, everyone would be hanging out at the summit. In order to get yourself out of base camp, you have got to work harder and have more grit than everyone else. If you can do that, you will be rewarded with the view from the top. Persistence pays off.