A greater line of bullshit has never been uttered. Who are the people saying this?
1. Successful athletes while hoisting their championship trophy.
2. Successful businesspeople giving a speech to all of their admirers.
3. Successful entertainers accepting an Academy/Emmy/Grammy Award.
4. Parents who are trying to provide inspiration to their small children (I suppose this is no worse than telling them there is a Santa, so I’ll cut the parents of the world some slack).
Just because the following statement is almost always true:
In order to be successful you must work hard, and you must want it bad.
doesn't mean that this statement must also be true:
If you work hard, and want something bad enough, you will be successful.
Why? Because we are only in control of a small fraction of what goes on around us. There's an element of randomness and luck to the universe. We really have no better option than to set goals and work hard to achieve them, so I’m not advocating hopelessness or pessimism. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking that if you do everything right then the only possible outcome is success, or even that the most likely outcome is success.
My dream is that one day a wise and successful athlete, businessperson, or entertainer will deliver the following acceptance speech:
"I was capable of doing what I needed to do in order to succeed… (pause for effect and survey the audience from left to right)
I was committed to doing what I needed to do in order to succeed…(another pause)
I persevered through adversity…(point right index finger to the heavens)
and it turned out well for me, didn’t it?...(big smile).
If you have a certain skill set, the internal drive to achieve, and whole lot of good fortune then you may also become as successful as I am, but you probably won’t. Thank you …" (exit quickly stage right)
This speech may not strike you as inspirational, but it is truthful. I am more inspired these days by truth than I am by bullshit, and the older I get the better I become at recognizing the difference between the two.