People talk about success comes with hard work. Keeping your eye on the prize and the ultimate outcome. And the journey is more important than the destination.
These things might be true, but I think another way to rethink this into something more concrete is to consider what it takes to win the game you’re playing. It becomes good to consider 3 things:
1) What’s the game you’re playing,
2) What’s the end prize / goal,
3) What’s it take to start to win (this is the ‘journey’ part, and the biggest part that matters)
Jay Williams, a very successful college basketball player whom also played for the Chicago Bulls, talked about meeting LeBron James in the gym and tells the story of how LeBron was working out and practicing when Jay showed up on the day they met, and hours later after Jay was leaving the gym, he realized LeBron was still there working out. LeBron told Jay that he was there to prove that he was going to outwork him in every way and how Jay’s mere presence inspired LeBron to hit it even harder to prove it.
Who knows down deep why Jay wanted to play in the NBA – maybe fame, or fortune, or maybe he loved the sport and would have played even if there was no money in it. But to consider the 3 questions earlier, the answers may be:
1) Game is basketball
2) Prize is $4 million and fame
3) Journey is working out, practicing relentlessly, traveling often, not being able to eat poorly, not party a lot.
For some, the prize of $4 million starts to not seem so great if you’re away from your family, stressing out before every game, wearing your joints down and potentially having a crippling old age (eg. football players / boxers are definitely in this mix).
Want to make it big in corporate America? List the answers to the questions:
1) Game is corporate America
2) Prize is stable $80k income
3) Sucking up to bosses, dressing in uncomfortable clothing, traveling, 60 hour workweeks, firing bad employees, being a hated but effective boss.
The corporate America game isn’t the same for everyone, for both “what’s required” as well as “the prize” (eg. the prize may be fully monetary based, like if someone works at a hospital, they may like the money and the appreciation from healed patients).
People erroneously focus on the end goal and prize, and then wonder why they never make it. They blame it on not having enough willpower or motivation and conclude the problem is with them.
But the problem isn’t always the individual.
Whatever the prize is may not be worth it if the game isn’t worth playing.