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"Everyone has talent, but ability takes hard work." Michael Jordan

What's your idea of making it big? Do you envy how superstars are portrayed in the media: living in a fabulous mansion, washing down caviar with champagne before surf and turf, golfing/schmoozing/partying with the rich and famous every day, having their image up on billboards promoting some product? That's what it's all about.

Or so you think.

This image of success is a media-created fantasy. It’s not the daily regimen of high achievers – far from it. If you read stories of those who have sustained success, note how hard they work. But they find a way to make their work a game, and they love playing it. Many of their day-to-day activities would seem trivial to most of us. Yet because they love their craft, top athletes, Hollywood stars and business moguls are willing to habitually do everything it takes to win.

Since I'm a Chicago sports fan, Michael Jordan (featured prominently in the documentary The Last Dance on ESPN) is my favorite example of "non-glamorous success." During the championship years of the Bulls in the 1990s, Jordan played professional basketball at an unmatched level.

Whose life was more interesting during that period – yours, or his?

Your immediate answer might be his. But if you dig a little deeper you'd find that during each basketball season, MJ was either playing in basketball games (which he dominated), practicing basketball (he was a notoriously tough practice player), working out (he was among the first to hire his own personal fitness trainer to work out with every morning), or traveling to another city to play basketball, practice basketball or work out – pretty exciting, huh? You might protest, "But what about all those cool commercials he was in? Wheaties, Gatorade, Nike, “It's da shoes!'" My answer: Have you ever been on a photo shoot? It takes hours to set up a single shot, then often dozens of retakes of the same scene to get it right. Ain't much glamour in that...