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Labour day Monday.  The long weekend that marks the end of summer, and while fellow North Americans were taking the day off, I was doing exactly the exact opposite.  I live by a simple rule: no days off. Why? Well for starters, I take pride in my work.   As an entrepreneur who started my first business twenty years ago, I know first hand that for a company to thrive, the driving force behind it needs to remain committed to reaching goals, no matter what it takes.

Attaining success in business, and in any facet of your life requires passion, dedication and the ability to make sacrifices.  As cliche as this might sound,  I find out what my competitors are doing, and multiply it by 10–a simple yet effective rule created by Grant Cardone.

As my fellow competitors gathered around me laughing and snapping images of my shame, my father bluntly told me to get up and fight until death. Guess who ended up winning that game and won MVP? If it weren’t for my dad telling me to shake off my shame and grow a pair, I would probably spend the rest of the tournament on the bench, sulking in sadness while the other team took the lead. As the common saying goes, “Fall seven times, get up eight.” I felt the adrenaline rushing through me as I scored that final winning point. It was life changing. Not only did I gain victory in the match, but also a valuable life lesson that I’ve carried with me for years. You have to work for what you want–no excuses! Strive past your mental and physical barriers. Step outside of your comfort zone. Do the unexpected. Snap that knee back into place (that hurt like hell), kick ass, and take names.

Over the years I haven’t stopped building on my work ethic–it’s part of my daily regime.  From books to articles and videos, I have been searching for inspiration from my successors in order to grow personally as well as professionally to surpass my goals.  I want to share some messages from some of the world’s most successful people–quotes I use as affirmations to inspire me to set a high bar, and surpass it.  Although this post is about the correlation between work ethic and a successful business, I’d like to point out that these tips are in no way solely directed to and entrepreneurs–we set goals as individuals, envisioning our futures to be of a particular caliber, following unique paths to what we consider success.

Work ethic is a universally important habit to attain to, pardon my French, take life by the balls. The former Fresh Prince of Bell Air, and blockbuster actor, Will Smith stated, “I’ve never viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. While others are sleeping, I’m working. While others are eating, I’m working. There’s no easy way around it. No matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you’re not skilled. If you don’t study, if you don’t work really hard and dedicated yourself to being better every single day, you will never be able to communicate your artistry in the way that you want.”

The fact of the matter is that there are many amazing talents out there that have the potential to be successful, but very few with the right attitude. “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, but if we get on the treadmill together, there are two things: you’re getting off first, or I’m gonna die. It’s really that simple”.

Humans are conditioned to think short term. With instant gratification at the root of our existence, we stick to comfortable lifestyles. Ultimately there is no “major key” to getting what you want. “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” (Eric Thomas)

The answer lies within your true dedication. Work ethic is something that requires work! And I don’t just mean getting out of bed and dragging yourself to your job. Get in there, put in your hours, then double that. Use your resources. Research your successors, understand your trade, and reach for the stars. The answers are right in front of you, so what are you waiting for?

Chris A. Hughes