I was casually chatting with my friend at a coffee shop the other day, when he huffed, “I’m so disappointed with my life. I just wish someone would wave a magic wand and give me the life I want.” For a second I was stunned and then from my subconscious the message came, “Life is what you make of it.”

I know from personal experience that if I’m willing to put in the effort and hard work to reach my goals and outcomes, chances are I will be able to achieve them and reach faster. So many times I’ve seen others and myself look for short-cuts. But, they provide only short-term results and are not sustainable.

All around me when I look at those who have been able to build resilient businesses, they have put in the required time and effort. If they have been able to consistently deliver results, it is because they are willing to learn, adapt, unlearn, and change.  As we absorb this success principle, we continue to get better and make things work for us as we move forward towards our long-term vision.

So I shared with my friend a very personal powerful story.

“Years ago, when we were mischievous schoolboys together, I came across a contest in the newspaper. It carried the image of a famous transformational speaker inspiring a host of people. The contest read: ‘Send us a caption describing this image in 30 words and you could win $100.’

It seemed like a fortune to my excited eyes and I dashed to my father. Dad’s an English professor. When he writes this for me I am almost guaranteed to win. Or so I thought. “Son, I’ll correct what you write, but I won’t write it for you.”

I flung the paper in anger and left. The submission deadline passed and then the next week’s contest began. And although every week a new contest would be printed, I childishly refused to enter.

Years passed and I rolled into my teen years. Economics was an intimidating subject to me at the time. With trepidation, I approached my father, and he said, “Do it, son. I will guide you.” I wanted someone to give me the answer; I didn’t want to take responsibility.