What Motivates Success?

“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”
― John Lennon

You don’t need to have been around in the 1960s to know who the Beatles are. They took the music industry by storm and became the biggest-selling band of all-time. But, here’s the question: what motivated them to become one of the most influential music bands in history? Fast forward to two of today’s music megastars, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift: what motivated them to become best-selling artists? The short answer in all three examples is passion.

The Passion Behind Success
You see, the Beatles didn’t set out to become one of the world’s most influential bands, they set out to make a great record. When they achieved that goal, they set out to make an even greater record… They were motivated by their passion for music and wanting to produce the best sound they could from one record to the next.

To a certain extent, Ed Sheeran did set out to be a best-selling artist. He was fuelled by a passion for music he’d developed during tough times in his childhood, and he talks openly about being bullied for being “a very weird kid”. His drive came from always being told he couldn’t do something, and his need to prove to all those who doubted him that he could…

Taylor Swift shares a similar backstory to Ed. She was never the “cool kid” in school and suffered at the hands of bullies. Song-writing was her escape, but her passion for music had been with her since early childhood.

The link between the success of the Beatles, Ed Sheeran, and Taylor Swift is passion. Successful people love what they do and do what they love, but success doesn’t just happen, it’s the result of hard work and perseverance.

The Hard Graft of Success
Success doesn’t just happen. The Beatles, Ed Sheeran, and Taylor Swift all made the decision to succeed, and then worked hard at making it happen. Let’s face it, if you’re not passionate about doing something, you’re unlikely to do it, right? It takes passion to drive your decision to succeed and it takes passion to stay motivated through the hard graft of making success happen.

It’s fair to say that the music industry is guilty of perpetuating the “lucky break” and “overnight success” myths: the notion that being in the right place at the right time and being seen or heard by the right person is all it takes to rocket to stardom from nowhere. Well, nothing happens by chance and “lucky breaks” only happen to people who make their own luck.

Think about it. The Beatles had their first hit in 1962, but the band formed in 1960, and their passion for music had been with them since their early teenage years. Ed Sheeran had his first chart hit in 2011, but he’d been recording music since 2004, and he’d been penniless and sleeping on friends’ sofas for almost three years.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.” – John Lennon, quoted by Ed Sheeran

Taylor Swift had her first Top 10 hit in 2008, but she’d been signed to a record company since 2005, and her commitment to pursuing a career in music had involved her parents moving home while she was in her early teens.

“I’m the type of person, I have to study to get an A on the test. I have to work really hard to get the record deal – I have to spend years at it to get good. I have to practice to be good at guitar. I have to write 100 songs before I write the first good one.” – Taylor Swift

You see, there’s nothing “overnight” about any of these success stories, and their “luck” was the result of hard work and perseverance. There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be, so, if success is where you are meant to be, what are you working on today and every day to get there?

Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach, Mindset trainer and Keynote speaker

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