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Quit Screwing Around and Get to Work The best things in life and business aren't free. They are earned.

By Steve Tobak Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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If you spend a lot of time reading online content and business books, and I suspect you do, I can tell you with absolute certainty what the biggest threat to your success is: You think you can win by taking the easy way out.

You think I'm kidding? What do you think you're doing right now? One thing's for sure: it isn't work. Besides, haven't you ever heard that you get what you pay for? So how much do you think free advice is worth? That's right, every penny.

Well, I see you're still here, still looking for free advice. OK, fine. I'll tell you everything you need to know in just seven words: Quit screwing around and get to work. Not only that, I'll throw in these three reasons why that's the best free advice you'll ever get, and it won't cost you a thing.

The best things in life are earned.

You know the cliché, "The best things in life are free?" Whoever came up with that had no imagination. Yes, there is beauty in the simple things. But life stopped being simple when you decided to live it with your eyes glued to a screen, gorging yourself on useless content and conflicting advice about what you should and shouldn't be doing.

Related: Your Brand Is Your Promise. Don't Make it Lightly.

Here's the thing: Whether it's a quiet home in a nice neighborhood, a sweet ride, good food and wine, an island vacation, a loyal dog licking your face, great friends, or even everlasting love, the best things in life are earned. Truth is, you can't have any of those things without earning them. Not even a dog's loyalty.

And guess what? There's only one way to earn things. That's right, by working for them.

You will find fulfillment.

Try to think way, way back to a time before you became immersed up to your eyeballs in the bottomless pit of despair we like to call social media. You can find a lot of things online but the one thing you will never find is fulfillment. Someday you will realize that, hopefully sooner rather than later ... or too late to make a difference.

In your heart you know what you're looking for. You're looking for fulfillment. Well, I'll tell you where that comes from. Fulfillment comes from achievement. And achievement comes from work. You know, I feel just as fulfilled chopping up a tree for firewood as I do developing business strategy for a corporation. It's all work. It all feels good.

Fulfillment is a sense of accomplishment. You can't accomplish anything without working at it.

Related: Success Comes When You Stop Playing Games

It's the only way to win.

There's nothing sadder than the way our culture has been completely brainwashed into believing that trying is the new definition of succeeding. That you can win without having to fight and ultimately beat the competition. That everyone who walks on two legs and breathes air is a winner.

Try as they might to herd us like sheep into a quiet little pen called political correctness, the bell curve that describes the distribution of human performance will never be bred out of society. There will always be exceptional individuals who hold no one accountable but themselves and live each day striving for greatness.

The only way to achieve great things is to do great work – to do what you do better than anyone else. And the only way that's ever going to happen is if you get to work and discover what it is you love doing. One thing's for sure. You won't find it in a book or a blog. And you definitely won't find it on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

While I'd love to tell you I can lead you down a golden path to the land of your dreams – where you'll wake up every morning feeling motivated and inspired and go to bed every night feeling satiated and fulfilled -- I can't. Nobody can. Only you can find that on your own personal journey but you've got to take the first step. So do it. Get to work.

Related: Why Self-Promotion Is a Terrible Idea

Steve Tobak

Author of Real Leaders Don't Follow

Steve Tobak is a management consultant, columnist, former senior executive, and author of Real Leaders Don’t Follow: Being Extraordinary in the Age of the Entrepreneur (Entrepreneur Press, October 2015). Tobak runs Silicon Valley-based Invisor Consulting and blogs at, where you can contact him and learn more.

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