Effort is the Only True Key to Success

There are all kinds of things on the Internet you can try that claim to be a “key to success.” And while many of them do have merit, there is only one specific thing that makes a massive difference: effort.

Because in the end, success and failure are gauged in the amount of effort you put into various steps and procedures. If you don’t follow a course, you’ll get nowhere.

And that’s probably the most difficult aspect for everyone. You can have the most brilliant plan of action for life and career. But without the follow-through, that’s all it is; a plan.

One Key to Success to Rule them All

Yeah, I tried to make a joke there based on Lord of the Rings, but I’m not sure if it stuck well. But in reality, the statement is true.

All of the secrets and behaviors people want you to follow to be more successful all center around one inescapable truth: your effort.

For instance, let’s take a running back for any football team. How did he get that position? By putting in the effort to boost physical prowess to run fast and avoid being tackled.

He didn’t do it by sitting on the couch wishing while eating corn chips and drinking Mountain Dew.

If you truly want success in life and career, you got to make it happen. This means you need to put in the effort to become more than you are right now.

Everyone will have a different path because we all have unique needs, wishes, and demons to fight. But without putting in effort to accomplish goals, then the planning phase really doesn’t go anywhere.

Want to lose weight? Create a diet plan and exercise routine you can stick with and do it.

Want to be a popular blogger? Learn everything you can about content, website development, SEO, your niche, and do it.

It’s all about how you inspire yourself to take action. In reality, we are the only ones who truly hold ourselves back.

9 Ways to Inspire Yourself to Put in the Effort

The hardest part about putting in the effort is getting yourself to move. It’s too easy to be complacent and talk yourself out of taking action. And without focusing on this key to success, it’s hard to achieve your goals.

And yes, I’m guilty of this, myself. I could have taken action to finish my novel in October 2020. But, I didn’t. Between being incredibly busy last month and then wasting time with non-productive things, it’s still not done.

In other words, I didn’t put in the effort to accomplish my goals, although I had ample time.

So, what can we do to get our lives on the right track and stop being complacent?

1. Getting in the Right Headspace when Waking Up

How you view yourself and the day the moment you wake up will play a major role in how you proceed. Seriously, how often have you woke up in a bad mood only to have it influence the entire day?

Lately, I’ve been making sure that my “headspace” is where it needs to be to accomplish my goals. This means I take steps to put myself in a good mood, whether it’s by exercising, eating healthier, or listening to uplifting music.

Find a way to energize yourself to put in the effort to conquer the day.

2. Being Confident in Your Decisions

Confidence plays a massive role in maintaining effort. Because without feeling positive about your resolutions, you can make illogical decisions, take irrational actions, or literally talk yourself out of maintaining this key to success.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to walk around being cock-of-the-walk and narcissistic. In fact, it takes a bit of effort to know the line between conceit and confidence.

However, having faith in yourself and your abilities will lead you to where you want to go. Sometimes that means failing at something so you can learn from the experience.

And like I always say, “Nothing is truly a failure as long as you learn something.”

3. Never Assuming You Know it All

Being a “know-it-all” plays a bit into the last point of being conceited. First of all, you don’t know it all, no matter how hard you try to cram everything into your head.

What I mean with this point is being open to learn and grow as a person, or willing to expand your knowledge of your preferred career path.

There’s a running joke among my close friends and family…I’m never wrong. It’s not that I’m “never” wrong, it’s that I don’t speak or support an opinion unless I know it as fact or truly believe it as fact backed with evidence.

And when I am wrong, I learn and grow. Meaning I put in the effort never to make the same mistake twice. This means researching, learning, and understanding new material.

Yes, everyone makes a game out of trying to prove me wrong. One of my friends takes a screenshot every time I admit fault…which is a very small folder of images.

In the end, being open to knowledge and actually putting in the effort to grow is an essential key to success when it comes down to effort.

And see, some might think what I said earlier as being conceited. In truth, though, it’s about confidence in knowing that I am correct when I speak and not adding anything if I truly don’t know about the topic.

But even I have to learn and grow sometimes.

4. Learning from the Past, Not Dwelling On It

Like I said before, nothing is really a failure as long as you learn something from the experience. The trick, though, is to make sure you learn and not dwell.

Too many of us, including myself, can easily get sucked into a negative state by stewing too long on things we’ve done in the past. Playing the could-have, should-have, would-have game isn’t helpful.

Keep in mind that beating yourself up over past decisions for an extended period of time is going to sap the energy you should be using to put in the effort to succeed in your next attempt.

5. Learning the Difference Between Critics and Trolls

A lot of people will put in less effort to avoid being criticized. It’s only human nature about not wanting to purposely feel bad from the interactions of others.

However, there is a big difference between actual critics and trolls. And as a prominent part of the key to success, you need to understand the difference.

For one thing, critics will actually give you a logical reason as to why they don’t like something you’ve created, said, or done. A troll hates for no other reason than because they are unhappy and want everyone else to join in that misery.

Another one of my favorite sayings is, “You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.” So, if someone can’t give you a rational or logical reason as to why they don’t like something, they aren’t really worth your effort.

6. Knowing When to Force Yourself into Action

Sometimes, everyone needs some kind of kickstart to get going. Some need it more often than others, but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. There are a lot of things that can sap your effort.

Now, I’m not saying that you should get out of bed and get to work if you’re suffering from the flu or have a fever in excess of 104 degrees.

But, you need to be able to identify when you need to force yourself into action. And for the most part, I’d bet you’d be glad you did when all is said and done.

Although I get the “I don’t wannas” quite often, I know I feel far more accomplished when I push through and accomplish a task.

7. Using Apps, Tools, or Notebooks to Organize Yourself

Organization is often pivotal for someone to succeed. In my case, it’s keeping track of my day with Asana and spreadsheets to ensure I am more productive. The end result is getting far more done and reaching many of my goals.

But, not even the best apps and tools can help if you don’t have the effort to stick to the plan.

As effort is the key to success, creating a good plan for yourself can only go so far. You then need to enact the follow-through, which is where a lot of people fail.

8. Don’t Get Sidetracked with Diversions

Diversions, especially for someone who works from home, can easily tap your energy, motivation, and determination. It’s too easy to get sucked into a social media rabbit hole or find yourself in the weird areas of YouTube.

You need to identify where your time-sinks are and take action to avoid them.

For me, I try not to load up a single video on YouTube until AFTER 5:00 PM. That’s when my “workday” is complete. And that’s only if I’ve met my productivity goals for the day. Otherwise, I’ll “stay late” and work on a few projects to meet those goals.

For instance, I track every second of my day in a spreadsheet. I essentially clock in and out whenever I leave my desk. And lately, I’ve been aiming for a certain percentage of an 8-hour day to complete.

Yes, it’s a bit convoluted. But, it keeps me motivated and ensures that I’m being as productive as possible. And since keeping forward motion is a key to success, the effort I put in only works towards my goals.

9. Maintain Consistency

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of effort being the key to success is consistency. Not everyone puts in the same amount of effort at all times. But, consistency can deliver all kinds of benefits over the short-term.

In a moment, I’m going to share my experiences with consistency and why it’s imperative to put in the effort.

If you can get the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill, it’s only going to get bigger and better. But if you don’t lay out a consistent plan and stick with it, success is often far more difficult to achieve.

An Example of My Efforts

So, I have a few key elements to share when it comes to effort and maintaining consistency. I have two instances where my efforts are quite noticeable and one where a lack of consistency has actually hurt my chances.

WriterSanctuary.com

At first, I created WriterSanctuary.com as a way to share my experiences learning how to become a freelance writer. It’s grown and developed over time. But, can you see what year I decided to stick with a semi-consistent publishing schedule?

WriterSanctuary 2020
As of November 9, 2020

In 2019, I only wrote 48 blog posts. But in 2020, and really focusing on what I was creating, I’ve produced twice as many articles while getting almost three times the visitor traffic.

ColoradoPlays.com

I built ColoradoPlays.com late in 2017. And I did a few articles here and there without really putting in a ton of effort. However, there is a significant difference between 2019 and 2020 over 2018 and 2019.

ColoradoPlays 2020

That’s the difference between 17 articles in 2019 and 42 in 2020…a jump of 8,274 visitors, so far. And this doesn’t count the articles I plan on writing before the end of the year.

WriterSanctuary YouTube

Now, let’s take a look at what a lack of effort and consistency does. In this example, we’ll look at the YouTube channel for WriterSanctuary, which I really haven’t put in a stellar amount of time.

YouTube 2020

Sure, I have 765 more hours of watch time in 2020 than I did in 2019. However, I also created far fewer videos. In fact, I’ve published 30 videos less today than I did this time last year.

And as you can see, I don’t have a lot of growth towards the end. It’s all evening out in terms of watch time.

My lack of effort has stalled the channel in terms of growth. Without consistency, I can’t expect big changes to happen, especially on YouTube when most viewers want video content at specific times.

It’s much like a television station having timeslots.

Can you imagine that if I put in the same amount of effort for the YouTube channel as I did the blog, where I would be today?

When it comes to YouTube, consistent publishing of quality videos is key to success. And this boils down to putting in the effort to make and upload that content.

So, what can I do about getting more video views? First off, I learn why I am failing this year and work to correct the problem.

The Key to Success Comes Down to You!

In the end, the key to success all comes down to what you put into the venture. Are you spending time honing your craft? Are you looking for ways to expand knowledge and make more of yourself?

Or, do you sit and wallow in self-pity hoping things will change soon and blaming everything under the sun except for the one thing that is truly holding yourself back?

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let 2020 and all its problems keep me from achieving my dreams. Because the only thing that is truly holding myself back from being more of a success is me.

Take charge and find the drive that lifts you up to grab life by the throat and beat it into submission.

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Michael Brockbank

I've been a freelance writer since January 1, 2012. I've worked with a myriad of clients and currently the Content Marketing Team Lead for GreenGeeks web hosting. My fingers are also in a lot of different industries such as gaming and fitness.

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Megan Grant
2 months ago

Love this! There’s a lot to be said for effort and work ethic. I think with the internet and social media today, people think that success should be instant and viral. 99.99999% of the time, that’s not how it works.

Also love the bit about getting in the right headspace. I start every morning with journaling and affirmations, and I’m trying to find a form of meditation I can stick to.

Great article!

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