Unfortunately, There’s No Substitute For Hard Work
Richard Earls, Travel Research Online
What is the calculus of
success? Is there a formula to being really good at whatever you most want to
One of the really great
characteristics about children is their unfailing knowledge they can do
anything. Draw a picture? Hand them the crayons. Play the drums? Give
them those sticks. Converse about the universe? Have a seat and lend an ear.
Somewhere along the way, we
adults learn to limit ourselves. We become convinced of our personal
borders. We accept we aren’t musical, we can’t draw, we decide our intelligence
has severe limitations. We circumscribe ourselves even as to activities we have
never tried! Can you sculpt a figurine out of a block of stone? How do
you know? Why are you certain you cannot do something you have never
tried? And if you have tried, how many times?
An unfortunate consequence
of the logistics of our educational system is the certainty we develop over
time we are good at a very few things and no good at most others. Convinced of
the small parameters of our playground, we fence ourselves in with these
limiting mythologies. In a time of increasing specialization, the
Renaissance ideal, the polymath, has become ever more distant.
It appears as children we
inherit all of the great qualities of inspiration, imagination, and creativity
only to decide later to put them away and not use them. Yet, without these
qualities we are forced to adopt mediocrity as the platform from which we live
our lives and, for our purposes here, operate our businesses. I continually
hear from travel professionals who begin their conversations with me by saying
Let me repeat my often
stated assertion: I am not talking about positive thinking. I’m actually no big
fan of simplistic notions fostered by way too many motivational speakers.
Success has more to do with working smart and working hard than whistling while
you work. Of course, once you have the first two down, a little music
never hurt things.
Let’s go back to the day
you decided to enter the travel business. Remember the child-like enthusiasm
with which you began? Did any one of you get into your new business proclaiming
“I’m going to be really average at this”? I doubt it. At the
beginning of any enterprise, we always manage to again tap into that creative
wellspring and enthusiasm so easily accessed by children.
What we all need is a bit
more naiveté about our potential.
It’s well known the idea of
talent is overrated. Tiger Woods was not born a golfer. However, he was born to
a golf coach and began practicing at age 3. Amazing what 34 years of practice
every day of your life will do for your game.
Maybe what is lacking here
is a willingness to open up to the potential you have to be capable of anything
you determine to do. Being a great travel professional, or anything else for
that matter, is not a matter of innate talent. The best travel consultants
I have met are simply hard workers who don’t give up. They listen to the
industry’s business coaches, they attend webinars they learn from their
Contemplate the possibility
you can do anything you want to do and you can do it well. You just have to
practice, you have to be willing to move beyond early successes that don’t
resemble anything like perfection.
Pick up a musical
instrument and learn to play. Teach yourself a new language. Learn to sculpt.
Take a risk on starting the newsletter, undertaking a speaking engagement, or
entering a new market.
Sometimes it takes years to
be an overnight success. That is the real math of success.
Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.