“Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.” ~ Julius Erving
What do you think is necessary to succeed in your field? What do you think is a key ingredient for success?
An important thing, I believe, is being a professional.
What does it mean to be a professional? The quote above explains it:
- You do something you love to do.
It’s simply too difficult to get good at something you hate.
- You keep doing it no matter what.
This is the key. This is what separates professionals from amateurs. Amateurs stop when they don’t feel like doing their work, while professionals will keep doing it.
The fact is: there will be days when you don’t feel like doing what you’re supposed to do. On such days, you want to do anything else but work.
But the thing about the professionals is that they have strong self-discipline. Garry Kasparov, for instance, followed a strict schedule for his chess training. He takes pride in it because it made him feel like he was improving while his competitors were sleeping. Stephen King, another example, said he always writes at least 2,000 words a day.
A good book on this topic is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In the book, the force that keeps you from doing what you’re supposed to do is called Resistance. Resistance is the enemy that you must overcome.
How can you do that?
Here is a good tip from the book on how to overcome Resistance: learn how to be miserable. Learn to endure the misery of doing what you’re supposed to do when you don’t feel like it. The author learned this lesson when he was in the Marine Corps, and he found it invaluable. He learned to keep moving forward regardless of how he felt.
If you want to be successful, this is an important lesson to remember. The principle is this:the more you can endure misery in the now, the more you will gain reward in the future.