“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt
Excellence comes from long term commitment, even through the rough patches and over the inevitable obstacles along the path to mastery. And the key to commitment is caring, to truly loving what you do and having a goal that lets you push forward when tired or frustrated, as happens in any great endeavor.
Approximately 75% of Americans hate their job. I admit I hate portions of what I have to do for work but I suck it up and do them, not because I am a masochist but because they are needed for me to do the parts that I absolutely LOVE. And as I do more of what I am good at and enjoy, it diminishes the negative weight of the disagreeable or mundane components, eventually giving me the resources to either outsource or outgrow them. But this only happens because I am doing the important work that moves the organization forward, and do it so well that it expands opportunities for all.
Those who have taken the time and risk to pursue for employment something that aligns with their passions are often called lucky, or gifted. More often than blind luck though is they found something that resonated with them early in life and had talent that they then honed by focused effort. The nerd reading books instead of playing all the sports and then getting up early on the weekend to pursue their academic passions over time becomes the scientist that practically lives in their lab because they love their research, or the writer that slaves away over years and slowly gets themselves into a position to write more and more and about what they wish to (look at Ryan Holiday as an example). Or many professional baseball players that claim they’d play the game for free and have put so much of themselves into the game they love that they get very well paid for it.
Pursue your passion in a way that benefits the world and you’ll be well paid and work becomes play. That’s how you win at life.