As a result of my five year study of the habits of self-made millionaires I am often asked by the media what is the secret to success. If I were to boil down all of the data I’ve accumulated on the reasons for success I would have to boil it down to this:
The secret to success is:
The Persistent, Long-Term Focus on Something You are Intensely Passionate About.
Long-Term Focus – The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on one thing for however long it takes for you to become uncommonly expert in that one thing. In my research, I found this long-term period to be an average of twelve years. Twelve years devoted to becoming the best at what you do in one particular thing.
Passion – What makes it possible to focus for a long period of time is Passion. Passion = something you love doing and will continue to do until the day you die. Passion = activities you cannot stop engaging in and cannot stop thinking about. Eventually, these activities become habits.
There is a world of difference between willpower-based activities and passion-based activities. Willpower-based activities requires Forced Focus. This is a type of short-term focus that taxes the brain and uses a lot of brain fuel (glucose and oxygen). The brain becomes an involuntary partner and fights you when it perceives you are using too much brain fuel. And the brain always wins that battle.
Passion-based activities, on the other hand, utilizes something I call Unforced Focus. Unforced Focus enables you to engage in activities for longer periods of time. This unique type of focus eventually transforms passion-based activities into habitual activities. Think about a time when you found some activity you were really passionate about. Didn’t you want to engage in that activity every minute of every day? Eventually, you became so good at that activity that you could perform it in your sleep. It became a habit.
Tapping into Unforced Focus fast tracks habit formation and enables you to become an expert in your passion-based activity. Your brain wants you to engage in passion-based activities to save brain fuel and it will fight you when you engage in willpower-based activities because those activities expend too much brain fuel.
If you engage in passion-based activities, your brain becomes a voluntary partner and rewards you with this supernatural Unforced Focus. Unforced Focus leads to habit formation. Through habitual repetition, you eventually become an expert. And that leads to success.