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  • Writer's pictureAntti Vanhanen

Your Secret Superpower

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

One of the most common and least helpful "wisdoms" of our culture is the idea of self-discipline and hard work as the keys to success:

  • Look at Michael Jordan who shot hundreds of jump shots every single day during the offseason!

  • Look at Starbucks CEO who works 13 hours a day and then continues working from home!

  • Look at billionaire Mark Cuban who didn't take a vacation in 7 years!

  • Look at Apple CEO Tim Cook who starts his day at 4:30 each morning!

  • Look at Venus and Serena Williams who were up hitting tennis balls at 6am from the time they were 7 and 8 years old!

There are countless examples just like this, and they all say the same thing: work hard, have superhuman self-discipline and success will be yours.

And that's the belief we've swallowed without question for years.

Whatever goal you have, you can have it if you just work hard at it.

But that's not how life really works, is it?

It's super easy to want nice things and outcomes - like having a six pack, a million dollars, a thriving business, or a successful rock band.

Almost all of us have goals just like this, but we're just not making a lot of progress.

It feels like something is missing, like we are lacking motivation, will power and self discipline to keep grinding.

So we double down on our self-discipline and motivational strategies.

We vow that this time we're not going to give up; that this time, we are serious about it.

So we read books on motivation and self-discipline and we attend seminars that have us ready to run through a brick wall.

But the motivation fades. And sooner or later, we're back to square one.

Except this time, we are frustrated and a little ashamed of how easily we gave up yet again.

But what if we're looking in the totally wrong place?

What if you already have a superpower but you just never realized you did?

You see, the reason Michael Jordan is willing to practice hundreds of jump shots a day is probably not because he has so much self-discipline, but rather because he enjoys it so much. He gets immense satisfaction from honing his craft.

Said another way, the emotional price you or I would have to pay to take hundreds of jump shots a day would be huge compared to what that emotional price is for Jordan.

The same is true of almost all the great "hard working" success stories.

In each case, the person who found success was doing something that they were so obsessed with the hours and days and months just flew by.

Their superpower was never self-discipline but rather that they found something that fascinated them.

They then followed their fascination until it turned into obsession.

And when you get obsessed by something, you will spend a crazy amount of time and energy on it and it will not seem like work.

You will become a master in your field, regardless of what it is.

So that is the true superpower that each of us holds: our attention.

Not in the sense of "where should I direct my attention?", but rather where does your attention naturally keep flowing?

What fascinates you? What do you think about in your spare time? What do you want to do even when you are tired?

When you find that thing - or things as is sometimes the case - you won't have to struggle for motivation or self-discipline.

You can just follow your calling to wherever it leads.

Just like Michael Jordan, Mark Cuban, Tim Cook or the Williams sisters did.

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