I've often been asked what I think the single most important quality is for success in life. Sometimes, I'm posed with the question of what is the distinguishing feature of highly successful people. And, in both cases, it comes to the same thing. To express it, let me quote a passage from the novel, The Life of Pi, page 168.
I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me. I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me. In my experience, a castaway's worst mistake is to hope too much and do too little. Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one's life away.
There was much I had to do.
The worst mistake is to hope too much and do too little. That is one of the most common mistakes in our time. We hope that a ship will come and rescue us - or a talent scout, an agent, a producer, a business builder, a venture capitalist, a friend with contacts. And in the meantime, we do too little.
There are many qualities involved in success, and several characteristics shared by highly successful people. But if I was forced to pick just one, it would be the tendency or proclivity toward action - an action orientation to life and work: taking the risk, trying that one thing, talking to that other person, putting in the extra hours.
Of course, we've all heard about the importance of working smart and not just hard. But what do they both have in common? Working. Action.
And it's especially important, as Pi shows us, when you've got a tiger by the tail.
What action can you take today, to move closer to your goal?