The Secret of Superstars

Do you ever wonder what separates stars from superstars? What separates Michael Jordon from other great basketball players? What separates Tiger Woods from other great golfers?

It is easy to assume they are superstars because of their superior physical ability. I do not think so. During Michael Jordon’s career there was another basketball player many people would argue had superior physical skills to Michael’s. The player, Dominique Wilkins, was certainly a star during his career, but he was no Michael Jordon. And there are undoubtedly golfers who can out hit Tiger Woods on the golf course. Physical prowess alone cannot not explain it.

Maybe you think superstars have a stronger desire to win than everyone else. Superstars surly love to win, but winning is not what drives them. Stars are driven by the desire to win, not superstars. How can you tell the difference? It is easy. When stars win, they celebrate. For stars, winning is like climbing Mt Everest. It is a journey with a very definite destination: winning. Like the summit on Mt Everest, once they reach their destination they have achieved their goal and so they celebrate. Not so with superstars.

Superstars are not driven by the love of winning. That passion fades too quickly. No, superstars are driven by something much stronger. Superstars are driven by their hatred of losing. For them, competition is not like summiting a mountain, it is like running away from a monster. A monster called losing. And this monster never tires, never gives in and never stops chasing them. It is why their celebrations after winning are so short lived. They have to keep running.

The hatred of losing will drive a person further than the love of winning ever will. It is the curse (or the gift?) that the superstar possesses. It is the only thing that will make someone re-double their effort after they win. It is the necessary ingredient for super stardom.

Unfortunately you cannot pretend to hate losing to make yourself a superstar. It is either within you or it is not. The desire to keep running after you have won the race is not a part of many people. But do not despair. The superstar may win more often than everyone else, but it is likely the enjoy it less. Contentment is not part of the superstar’s existence.

So, the next time you wonder what it would be like to be a superstar, just know that you can actually beat them at something: enjoying winning. You should be content with that.

Why Are You Here?

The surest way to self reliance is to make money doing what you love. ~ Carl Weisman

Why are you here? Not, why are you here visiting this blog, although thank you for doing so. Why are you here? On planet Earth? At this moment in time? Have you ever thought about that? Most people haven’t, which is too bad.

Some people know why they are here and they have always known. I have often thought that the greatest gift you can ever been given is to know your life’s purpose at a young age. The problem is that only a precious few receive that gift. You know them: Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Yo-Yo Ma. They never question how they spend their days. For the rest of  us, it is a—sometimes lifelong—journey, if we choose to embark on it at all: what is our life’s purpose?

How important you think the answer to that question is depends almost entirely on your age. In your twenties? Who cares, pass the beer. In your fifties? Can’t sleep at night not knowing the answer. Time is running out.

If you are like most people, myself included, the way you spend your days is one giant amalgamation of random events. Maybe it was the major you casually chose in college, or some part time job you took one summer or some charity at which you volunteered. Whatever the circumstance, most of us are in a place we did not thoughtfully or consciously choose. Life chose for us, and we dare not change because we are too busy trying to make ends meet.

When you are trying to make ends meet, it is difficult to ponder the question, “Why am I here?” But if you are struggling to make ends meet, either financially or emotionally, have you ever considered that not knowing the answer to that question maybe the reason why?

Half the people I speak with over the age of fifty cannot wait until the day they retire. Do you know why? They hate the way they spend their days. They want to do something else. They are  not living their life’s purpose.

I have spent the better part of the last five years searching for my life’s purpose (as if it were some treasure, just waiting to be dug up). Am I living it today? I am not sure. I can tell you what I have done in the last five years. I have acknowledged my strengths, identified my passions, narrowed down my genius and I now spend my free time doing what I love: writing. And one more thing: I will never stop looking. The answer is just too important.

I would like to think that sharing what I have learned on this journey is my life’s purpose, along the way inspiring others to discover theirs. Maybe, maybe not. In the mean time, I am pretty happy doing what I am doing and I have a vision for so much more. All the result of the continuous search for meaning. Maybe that’s the key: identifying your passion isn’t a destination but a journey. And there is one thing I am sure of: they key to your happiness and fulfillment depends on your being true to your journey and not anybody else’s. Are you ready to take that ride?