Original question from Quora:

Why do some people succeed and some don’t?

And don’t tell me the clichéd “hard work”, because I believe that some people work as hard as you, have the same drive, have good tutors, but they still don’t succeed. Why do you think it’s so?

My Answer:

Well, there is an unbelievable reason some succeed and some don’t. It’s so simple that it’s almost universally overlooked. It’s a helluva secret hiding in plain sight.

I have an olympic story that explains it, and there are thousands of stories like it if you care to look.

Ryan Murphy is the 21 year old swimmer who just won gold in the 100-meter backstroke. How he got there is incredible.

When he was 8 years old he wrote a letter to his parents declaring that when he grows up he wants to be the best swimmer in the world. He dreamed of breaking records and winning olympic gold.

He drew a picture of himself winning olympic gold.

Now, consider that he now has broke an Olympic Record and won Olympic Gold. What he set out to do at age 8 he did at age 21.

How did this happen?

Well I grew up swimming starting at age 6, so I have some idea of the process. You go to swim practice multiple times a week. You work hard. You compete in swim meets on weekends. You get better.

If you train hard enough, long enough, you can become the best in the world. In the sport of swimming, it helps to be a little taller and skinnier, so at 6′3″ 185 lbs. he’s got the right genetics for it, which helps.

But here’s the thing…

Without the dream to win gold, the belief that it’s possible, and the drive to make it real, I don’t believe you will ever be in a position to win a gold medal.

The people who make it to the top believe they belong there and they work ridiculously hard to prove themselves right.

They make their dreams real.

Those who don’t succeed don’t have dreams, don’t believe in their dreams, or don’t work relentlessly to make them real. You need to have all three.

If you take any of those three things away and success won’t show up.

The unpleasant truth is, about 80% of all people never have those things in place to achieve anything. So in reality, they get what they really want or believe they should have - what they’ve already got.

Until you truly believe in a better future, you can’t make it real. Once you truly believe in a better future, you have to make it real.

If you want to succeed in anything…

Dream. Believe. Act.

-Brian

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