To accumulate wealth and attain financial independence, the most important thing you need to do is to earn more and spend less. This will increase your savings so that your portfolio can grow as large as possible. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that it all boils down into investment ability, but squeezing 1% out of a small $10,000 portfolio can only take you this far.
In a similar vein, if your objective is to lose weight and lower your blood sugar, you would have to eat less and exercise more. My friends have a lot of theories about weight loss, many involve either exercising more or eating less, but the guarantee of success is to do a little bit of both at the same time so that your body sheds off some of that weight to reach a new equilibrium.
A third example is if you want better grades in school and attain a better Honours degree, you will need to study more and play a lot less. The folks who talk about studying smart so not get the point, it's very often about employing focused time to ensure that you can retain and apply the subject matter.
These three examples shed light on why success is so difficult for everyone.
The first point is that we normally have to do more of stuff which we may not like and give up the stuff that we enjoy doing. For many people, life loses it's meaning once a sacrifice is made. My philosophy is that you have to learn to enjoy the stuff which you may not like at first. For example, exercise releases endorphin which can result in a runner's high, mastering a subject matter can provide a sense of satisfaction and having a larger bank account, well, puts you in a position of better security.
The second point is that your control of the variable is still subject to a curve. You need to master the subject better than your peers to get a better grade. Competition ensures that you need to sacrifice more than your peers to attain success in a field.
This leads to a final point is focus. As every endeavor requires a degree of control, you should not have too many goals. Your willpower is finite. Focus on being a mother/career woman/acrobat/social worker/artist is something only amazing people can do well in, most of the time, you end up sucking at being all of that.
It's useful to ask yourselves if you have an audacious goal the following :
a) What unpleasant task do I need to do more of to succeed ?
b) What pleasantness do I need to give up ?
c) How can I enjoy doing more of (a) and less of (b) ?
d) Is this the most important thing which I should be focused on right now ?
e) Am I doing too many things because I am afraid of commitment I have to give for that one goal.
The last point is an important one. A common method of self-sabotage is to do something with lukewarm effort so that you will not have to confront your lack of talent or ability.
This is what I observe with folks who do a lot of things so that they can seem magical, multitalented or cool.
Doing a lot forms the excuse that you can suck at the most important thing that matters to most people.
Don't fall for that trap.