Back in 2011. I got a last-minute invite to a huge party. Friend of a friend was celebrating his birthday and I was invited to join in the festivity; dozens of people drinking, smoking, and doing crazy shit in a mansion of a house.
When I got there, I realized that my friend was nowhere to be seen and that I didn’t know anyone else there. Alone, out of place, and bored, I decided to chat up this cute blonde girl sitting by herself.
She was really cool, interested in technology, and had high aspirations – something I could easily relate to. She told me her dream is to one day be employed at Googleplex, Google’s Sillicon Valley headquarters. She knew it was a long shot and that odds are stacked against her, but she was convinced she’s going to make it.
I was amazed at her determination, as it resembled my own. I told her I adored her aptitude and that she might as well become the new Marissa Mayer (who was then still at Google).
“Who?” – she responded with a puzzled look on her face.
At first, I thought she was joking, but soon realized she wasn’t. Marissa Mayer was, besides its founders, arguably the most well-known person from Google, one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world, and literally the face of company for years. It wouldn’t be a big deal if someone not interested in technology or Google hadn’t heard of her; but Blondie had a very specific interest, and failed to know a thing like that? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.
“Oh, I don’t care about that stuff. I just like what they do…and I LOVE their offices”.
GET REAL AND STOP LYIN’
It became clear to me that Blondie was only in love with an idea. Working for Google would be, like, sooo much fun. They’d probably be working on cool stuff all the time, which would be more games than work. Their offices are the coolest on the planet, and who wouldn’t want to work there? And, of course, they’re Google, so the pay must be a killer.
In her mind she wanted it for the perks. She didn’t think for a second that, while the job would certainly have them, most of the time would still be spent on…well, work.
All she knew was she wanted to do it, nay, that she will definitely work there one day. But after asking her how she would answer their famous impossible questions, she didn’t even know what I was talking about.
You often hear people joking around saying things like “One day when I’m rich, I’ll buy this whole damn place, haha”. In reality, they know they won’t become rich or successful. They don’t even try to do it, as they aim for the middle and follow the path society laid out for us.
On the other end of the spectrum you have Blondie, who already thinks of herself above the rest of us “mortals” because she will one day be a superstar. However, she’s living in a delusional state; she doesn’t concern herself with requirements and necessities for obtaining that lifestyle. She’s not only unaware of reality, she doesn’t even want to be aware of it. She’s completely satisfied in her daydreams, where the sun is always shining, beer is always cold, and nobody ever fails.
HUSTLE HARD OR GO HOME
When Facebook became a sensation and Zuckerberg world’s youngest billionaire, my dad told me: “Hey, look at this kid, he built this website and it became popular, and he’s only 19. You’re good with computers, why don’t you make a similar thing?”
My dad, like most people, only focused on the part where it said an underage kid became a billionaire by building a website. In reality, it took time, dedication, vision, knowledge, expertise, treachery, entrepreneurship, money, connections, partners, investors and, most of all, lots of hard work.
Building a thing like Facebook is not a feat that can be achieved by anyone, and Zuckerberg’s age wasn’t relevant. He was a smart, skillful, and dedicated individual with a vision. Most people wouldn’t be able to achieve the same thing even if they were anywhere from 19 – 99 years old (and “good with computers”).
If you want to achieve great things or do something more with your life, vision is mandatory, but not enough. Just like love is not enough for a successful relationship, dreams and ideas are not enough for a successful future.
In their essence, ideas are nothing. They’re dust floating around that can materialize in an infinite number of ways. An idea is only as good as its execution. As former CEO of DocStoc, Jason Nazar said:
People have come to me and said: “DocStoc is successful because it was such a good idea. DocStoc is a great idea”. DocStoc is a lame idea. A place you can get documents? The Internet was invented as a place to get documents. Google calls web pages “documents” because the Internet was invented as a place share documents, and 30 years later I am like “Hey, here’s a place to share documents!” Duh, not a good idea…but probably ok execution. Ideas do not matter in business, execution does!
You future is only as good as you make it. Harvey Specter stated he doesn’t have dreams, but goals. Dreams are not real. They’re a fictional story we make up in which we our oblivious to the fact we live in a virtual reality.
It’s okay to have dreams, but when it comes to success, it’s a must to have goals; they are checkpoints and you need to set yourself on a path that leads you right to them. You have to take everything into account and hustle, hustle, hustle. Don’t talk about what you’re going to become one day, work on getting there. As Ryu from Styles of Beyond said:
Real hustlers don’t talk, they just go get it.
Blondie’s dream of working at Google is just that – a dream. It’s fun for her to imagine herself strutting around their offices, playing video games all day, chatting with Larry Page and Sergey Brin while posting photos of her workday on Instagram. She never took into consideration learning details about the company, investigating the hiring process or acquiring skills they value. She doesn’t concern herself with the path to getting there because it doesn’t exist; despite her beliefs, it’s not a goal, but a mere dream.
After our conversation, I was perplexed. I immediately left the party to go home and work on my current project, something that would get me one step closer to achieving my life’s goal. And it’s because of actions like that that I know I will achieve what I want, because I’m not only hoping it will fall in my lap, but because I strategically work on it until it does.
It doesn’t matter how you define success. What matters is what you are doing about it.