Greatness is Not for the Chosen Few, But for the Few Who Choose it.
Often times people see the culmination of perseverance from years of relentlessly pounding the stone by seeing an athlete raise a trophy, a businessman earn a big promotion, or a scientist make a breakthrough in her field. The success that these people enjoy is a flash in the pan compared to the hours they have dedicated to their craft.
Attaining greatness is not an accident, but rather a choice that we make on a daily basis. Many people do not realize that Steph Curry has been working on his craft since he was in high school. Before practice while everyone had their headphones in and their slides on, he was drenched in a full sweat taking game shots from game spots at game speed. Furthermore, he would not leave the court after practice until he swished 5 free throws in a row. Matt Fraser, who won the Crossfit games in 2016, routinely works out 3 times a day and puts himself through grueling training. He is also disciplined as he eats clean, and sacrifices his social life to achieve his dreams.
When people come to understand the work behind greatness, not only do they come to a realization that it is not sexy, many people are content with the status quo. If you are invested in beginning the path to greatness, below are a couple simple ways you can start your journey.
1. Delay gratification
We live in a feelings-based society where we are encouraged to pursue or do whatever makes us feel good. I promise that you will never achieve greatness if you live your life based on feelings. You cannot make decisions based on feelings because they tend to change minute by minute. Instead, it is important to make your decisions based on your values and dreams. Greatness is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. What are you willing to invest or sacrifice in your life to reap a greater return months or years later?
I am no smarter than anyone else but I trick people based on how much I read. Joshua Medcalf stated that, “your level of influence in the world is proportionate to the amount that you read.” You never know what kind of opportunity may arise from a conversation. Reading puts yourself in a position to speak more intelligently to a number of different topics.
3. Knock the chip off your shoulder
Many people exist for the sole purpose of proving others wrong. Being motivated and driven is a good thing but there are better ways to channel this trait in a more positive manner. Instead of competing externally, compete against yourself. You cannot control the thoughts, decisions, or approval from outside sources so stop trying to prove a point. Next, some people become satisfied in business or sport when they are ahead. When this happens we have a tendency to coast on some days because we are winning. However, when you compete against yourself, being ahead is not good enough as you are no longer concerned with others but rather focused on giving your best effort. Only you know what your best effort is and you cannot cheat the person in the mirror. Developing this mindset will not allow you to become complacent.
These 3 steps are not sexy or flashy. However, neither is the path to greatness. If you make a conscious effort to compete in everything you do, make decisions based on your values and read on a frequent basis, you will be on your path to mastery which experts say is attained through a minimum of 10,000 hours. Whether or not you are willing to endure determines your level of grit but that is a post for another day. Cheers!