My grandparents survived the Second World War, the devastating famine after the war, which took almost the 3rd of the Ukrainian population, and communist persecutions.
Their life philosophy was “work hard”. And they did work harder than anyone I know.
Their life has been nothing but the struggle for survival.
Cultivating potatoes, vegetables and fruit on the acres of land, tending domestic animals like pigs, chickens, gees, ducks, goats was all they did all the time.
It might seem like they had a big farm and should have been rich.
But no. They weren’t rich at all. They just didn’t starve.
My childhood memories are the ones of poverty and scarcity.
So the idea of working hard is not all it takes to succeed.
Some people say, you have to be smart to succeed in life.
Well, my dad is one of the smartest people I know.
He has two college degrees, he is brilliant with numbers and math ( which is genius in itself, in my view) and has worked as an engineer for about 30 years.
Yet, we didn’t have two pennies to rub together.
His friends use to ask my dad, “Leonid, if you are so smart, why are you so poor?”
To which he had no answer…
My dad had a friend, called Alek.
He had multiple kebab stands in our village in Ukraine. He was driving the latest German car ( at the time), lived in a three story house and every year was going abroad for holiday with his family.
And yet, his IQ was nowhere near my dad’s.
Besides, Alek didn’t work that hard either.
He had many people working for him.
I couldn’t understand what’s was missing. What was taught in our family: study and work hard to make it in life, didn’t add up.
Despite hard work and high IQ, we were struggling.
What if it is not about hard work at all?
What if everything we are taught at schools is a lie?
Being curious in nature and being so fed up with the destitute conditions I grew up around, I set a goal to figure things out to build a better life for myself.
I moved to the USA on my own, which is quite a journey as you may imagine, which you can learn more about here.
Initially, it was very hard to build the life from scratch on my own in a foreign country.
Being the product of the environment I grew up in, I was working hard. At times, at 3 to 4 jobs at the same time.
It didn’t bring me neither success nor fulfilment. It brought me exhaustion and frustration.
I decided to take a different approach.
Instead of going from the outside, like most people do, trying to change the conditions and circumstances, I decided to take a different approach.
From the inside out. I began expanding my consciousness and nurturing my mind with the success phycology.
I was curious what it takes to succeed and become an achiever.
What amazed me was that hard work wasn’t really on top of the list in any of the books, programs and conferences.
Taking action — yes. But not hard work.
There is a difference between taking action and working hard.
When you take action, it is intentional, it is aligned with your dream and vision.
When you work hard, well, you just work hard.
When my grandparents were planting and digging potatoes, they just worked hard. They didn’t have a vision to open a veggie store or a street market to elevate their life, provide for other people and create employment.
I also discovered, it is not about being academically smart or having a degree.
The richest people in the world don’t really have degrees. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Liliane Bettencourt ( L’oreal shareholder), just to name a few, are college drop outs.
So, what is it that makes the difference in life?
I have found, self-belief and a clear vision are the foundation to become an achiever in life.
When you believe in yourself, you will dedicate your time, energy and money to the cause you believe is important.
Some people call it “doing what you love”. It could also be called “living on purpose for a purpose”.
You also need to have a vision that is bigger than you or your current circumstances. You need to have a servant heart and be willing to work for a cause that will make the world a better place ( even if it is one person at a time)
All famous people we love and admire have made a difference on a large scale.
Whether it is computer technology (Steve Jobs), technical progress (Elon Musk), cosmetics (Mary Kay), financial world (Warren Buffet), media (Oprah) or even the world of books ( like JK Rowling who picked the most “uncommercial” genre of children’s books but vision and self-belief helped her become a billionaire)
They were not afraid to say yes to themselves to the big and audacious dreams. As a result, they changed the world.
Confidence and vision are the pillars of success in life.
If you have these two things sorted, everything else aligns.