Photo: Lalesh Aldarwish
This is me (right) in Hollywood Hills, California, hanging out right after helping launch a gaming startup called LVLUP Dojo.
Rewind 10 years to awkward Cole sitting in his computer chair playing World of Warcraft for 22 straight hours.
Every single person in my life told me that video games were a waste of time.
But even back then, on some level I knew.
I didn’t know how, necessarily, but I knew that it was all going to work out.
All I had to do was keep improving, learning, and growing.
I have gotten to a point in my life where I know that any single thing I devote my time and attention to, I will succeed at.
When I choose to do something, it is not a matter of “if.”
It’s purely a matter of when.
And I know that because I have set multiple very, very high standard goals for myself — and achieved them.
When I was 17 years old, I became one of the highest ranked World of Warcraft players in North America.
When I was 23 years old, I had fully transformed from being a sick and horrifically skinny adolescent into a 170 lb shredded fitness model.
When I turned 26 years old, I left my 9–5 job to become a full-time writer — and doing so in a way that has allowed me to begin traveling the world and living my dream. (Currently writing this answer back in Hollywood Hills, California.)
When I turned 27 years old, I launched my first company, Digital Press. And since then, I have been fortunate to work with some extraordinarily successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, keynote speakers, investors, and innovators.
However, for each one of these major accomplishments and the validation they welcomed, were years upon years upon years of quiet hard work that nobody saw.
And not only did nobody see it, but many people condemned it.
I cannot tell you how many times I was made fun of in high school for playing World of Warcraft.
I cannot explain to you how many people, people I thought would be more supportive, questioned my discipline in the gym.
They took one look at my scrawny physique and essentially said,
“Why are you even trying?”
And I cannot tell you, seriously, how many people laughed in my face when I told them I was going to college to study creative writing.
“I didn’t even know that was a real major. Is your plan to work at a Starbucks for the rest of your life?”
…But then as soon as you become an e-famous gamer, as soon as you look like someone on the cover of a fitness magazine, as soon as you start jet-setting around living your dream, suddenly everybody wants a piece.
Suddenly everyone is supportive.
Suddenly everyone wants to know how they too can suddenly do it.
It didn’t happen suddenly.
It happened while everyone else was wondering why they couldn’t wake up tomorrow with a different life.
While they were wondering, I was working.
Until one day, the work paid off.
Anything you want in life is yours for the taking.
The only question is whether or not you work your face off, and have the patience to believe that it’s simply a matter of “when.”
This article was originally published on Medium.