The George Lucas Success Story: Talent or Hard Work?

You may not be a fan of Star Wars, or of science fiction in general. You may not like the directing style of George Lucas. But one thing that no one can argue with is his success. My wife has been reading a book about the making of the first Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It took George Lucas four years to make the first Star Wars movie. He directly oversaw almost all of the work himself, and dealt with a movie company who didn’t want to fund his movie or trust his direction decisions, a special effects company in California who didn’t complete work unless George was right there making it happen, and a labor force in London that would NEVER work past 5:30 and took three meal breaks a day. Fun fact, George Lucas hated writing, but he wrote the story and dialog for this movie by making himself sit at his desk 8 hours a day until the story was done. He didn’t wait to be “inspired,” instead he was just disciplined enough to get the job done! He was dedicated to his work, still working on the sound reel up to the day that the movie was released in theaters.

The point of this story is that this man decided he was going to be successful at something and he didn’t quit until he made it work. He was passionate about what he was doing, and didn’t give up when things got hard, when people stood in the way of his creativity, or when he didn’t reap immediate rewards. Something else we can learn is that you don’t have to be an expert in a field before starting; you learn as you go. Star Wars was only the third film Lucas had directed. But he still gave it everything he had and more! The Star Wars universe that we see today is the result of the very dedicated work of one man not calling it quits, even in the months and years of frustration and resistance. His key: a little every day. He did something every day to make his dreams a reality. It wasn’t his hobby, it was his life and passion!

We often find ourselves making a hobby of something that we say we want to do with our lives, and then wondering why it doesn’t work out. We let the urgent take over the important things. We let the daily clamour of life get in the way of dedicating ourselves to what we are good at and are passionate about. Do you really want to work for yourself? Do you really want to be the best painter, salesman, electrician, musician? What are you doing about it? Are you wishing, waiting for inspiration, or putting in an hour a week? Success is based on routine and habits applied over time. Creating a habit requires that you have a reason bigger than right now, and discipline to make yourself do it for at least three weeks consistently. Do you have what it takes, or do you just wish you had what it takes, but don’t want to work for it? We see someone’s success and wish it were ours. What we don’t see is what the success was built on: Rejection, discipline, sacrifice, late nights, doubts, failure, criticism, risk, and persistence, and did I say hard work!

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone

This is not the part where you promise yourself that you will be committed to X until you are a raving success. That isn’t enough. You have to ask “Why am I doing this?” Then you have to let your ‘why’ drive you to make habits. Then you have to make your habits a way of life. Then over time you begin to see the fruit being produced, from the seeds of success that you planted, weeks, months, or even years ago, and have continued to water through your decisions and choices of how to use your time!

When you look at what you have achieved and what you want to achieve, don’t look at where you are not, rather look at where you want to go and build a road to get there. Find people to help you, encourage you, and people who will kick you in the seat of the pants when you want to quit. Make success a way of life, not a hobby. If you do this, you may be the next George Lucas, the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Wright Brothers, the list goes on. Hard work is what they had in common. Not luck.

Create your own luck, Own it. Do it. Be Better.

 

 

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Busy, or Purpose-Driven?

Is there a difference in being purpose-driven and being busy? How do we stay purpose-driven in all of the busyness of life? How do you manage the urgent so meaningless tasks don’t run your life?

Let me ask you a few questions. At the end of each day when you crash into your pillow, how do you remember your day? Do the words hectic, long, stressful or unfulfilling come to mind? Or do you look back with satisfaction and have feelings of accomplishment, purpose, achievement and (yes, even for you tough guys out there) love and joy as you drift off to sleep?

No one has a perfect day every day, but if we look back over the last few days, weeks, or even years, we see a pattern. When we wake up in the morning, is it another day to survive? Or is it another day to bring us closer to a goal we have and see what we can accomplish today?

Focusing your thoughts in the right direction isn’t always easy. There seems to be so many thought groups out there that they get mixed together like so many berries in a blender. But there are three general schools of thought that tend to drive us each day.

First is the survival mode, and that comes down to “What do I have to do today to cause myself the least amount of pain until the day is over?”

Second is the mindset that life is comprised of achieved goals. “I am not happy until I get there.” Usually this involves the “Once I reach this goal I will be happy” idea which almost anyone could argue will never be true. It’s an age-old concept that getting somewhere only makes you want to go somewhere else.

Third, that life is more about the journey than the destination. The best version of the third school of thought is “I am driven to be more, but am be content with the growth and blessings I have been experiencing.” Be careful, though! This group of thought can have its drawbacks if not properly used. It can become a twisted version of thought group one, except that now there is no drive to survive. Instead, it looks like “I don’t care if I survive today because life’s one big journey that won’t ever have an end.”

When I asked the questions at the beginning I wanted you to take a deep look into your motivations and decide for yourself how they are, or are not, helping you. You need to have a purpose for getting up in the morning, a reason for rolling out of bed when others are still in bed staring at the backs of their eyelids. At the same time though, if your goals consume you, then your driver will always be achieving something you don’t have, and that will lead to a great sense of dissatisfaction and resentment, even when you pursue your goals with the best of intentions. That will rob you of joy in your life. Life has to be a steady pace, a marathon of growth. You should be able to ask yourself every day “How did I make myself or someone else better today” and be content with the answer to that question. Being busy for its own sake, or feeling discontent at the end of each day because you survived without living is a quick way to spend a lifetime you can’t reclaim on things you will regret. Find a purpose. Enjoy the journey. Be someone’s good today.

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:10-13

I don’t think anyone could argue that Paul was not purpose-driven, or even that he did not stay busy. But what you also saw in him was an ability to be content and simultaneously make people better, while shooting for the goal of heaven and bringing people to Christ with the efforts of his life!

We should all seek to be driven by purpose, content to grow.

 

If you’re interested in how to find balance in life and how to live purposeful days, click here to sign up for my FREE course 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams! Here you will learn how to be honest with yourself, how to manage your time, to set and achieve goals and more!