There is no substitute for hard work. I am sure you have heard that before, but it is so true that it bears repeating–>frequently. Most people are looking for the easy way out, the magic pill, the surgery versus the lifestyle changes. Think about that, how are you going to be capable of defending your spot at the top of the heap if you just got handed a ladder to get there? You won’t have any of the necessary experiences and knowledge to maintain your place at the top. You would be an epic failure, I might add. The type of hard work I am talking about is your mindset and your self esteem. These are the “something” that separates poor from rich, average from great, and happy from unhappy. If you want to distance yourself from the crowd, you have to do the hard work. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.
Despite of the circumstances that you are born into, you have a shot a changing them. A real shot, if you apply yourself. That’s one of the many things that makes this country great, the fact that you can rise above almost anything to get ahead. We have all heard the story of the inner city kid or the poor rural child who got a college scholarship for sports or academics (or both!) and gave themselves a real chance to excel. Sometimes it is because of harsh circumstances that people learn to work hard, change their lives, and “make it out” of the confines of what they were born into. There are systems in place that help further this agenda, and I am certain the world is a better place every time someone manages to escape their past and write a much better present and future.
With the world of knowledge at your fingertips, through your phone or through the internet, there is no reason you can’t change your mindset in order to change your circumstances. If you are surrounded by people with negative thoughts and actions, “Surround yourself” with people who are positive and successful. You can be “friends” with people like Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Joe Rogan, and anyone else who has a better outlook on life than you get from your immediate surroundings. There are no excuses…do the work.
In sports, there are three kinds of hard work: The daily, the long range, and the competitive. The daily work that needs to be done varies widely. depending on what you are trying to accomplish. If you want to lose ten pounds, then three days a week of workouts and a better diet will probably do the trick. If you are trying to make the US Olympic team, you’d better be working your ass off day and night. Your long range goals should dictate your daily approach, the macro needs to lead the micro. Again, if you are gunning for the world stage, you have a lot of other people to be better than, and they are probably working just as hard if not harder than you. This means you need to work hard, work smart, and stay health to train. You’ll need help along the way, in a variety of areas. You need to assemble a team of supporters who can help you get to where you want to go, and you need to uphold their support with your efforts.
When you look at the competitive side of sports, take it from me that the physical requirements are a given. You must have developed them along the way to a high degree, otherwise you are not really in the game. Once this is achieved and maintained, now most of what you do switches to the mental aspect. You have to learn to effectively handle everything that comes your way: competitive stress, wins, losses, heartache, execution under duress, injury, and much more. You need to work on these things daily as well; you can’t wait until you are on the podium to think about who to thank. You can’t wait until the only thing you have to look forward to for the next eight weeks is a grinding and painful rehab to start thinking about how you will get through that scenario and bounce back better than before. If you are serious about greatness, you are thinking about these type of things all the time, and you’ll reach a point where nothing really catches you by surprise.
I recently watched a great video clip of Kobe Bryant from many years ago, and he imparted some great wisdom worth sharing. He was speaking to a girl who was one of the top college basketball players in the country at Notre Dame, and they had lost in the semi-finals of the national tournament that year. He asked her if she had watched the footage of the game yet, and she replied “Oh no, I don’t ever want to see that, it was too hard to take“. He invited her down to his office the next day to watch the game footage with him. He asked a very poignant question of her:
“How are you going to avoid those same mistakes
if you don’t review and learn from them?”
They watched the game together, and she saw what she needed specifically to work on. Not just more work, not just more fitness training, but the exact things that faltered under pressure in that game. She came back better and stronger the next year, far better equipped to compete again. THAT is doing the hard work! There is no finish line; the quest for never-ending improvement must continue to be a core tenant in your life.
If you want a happy life, you need to do some hard work. You need to dig into the muck inside your head and really find out what you think about yourself and your future. If you have grown up in an environment where you are told you are a loser and will always be a loser, all day every day, you have some serious reprogramming to do. If you have your own doubts and fears, you need to do the work on those things too. EVERYONE has something, so don’t think you are alone. But, you will be in better and smaller company when you start doing the hard work. Self exploration and growth is no easy path, but it is essential.
If you are content to be sort of happy, kind of satisfied with your life, etc., then no action is necessary. If not, grab a shovel and start digging. Get professional help of you need to, but that work has to get done. If not, the demons that haunt you will move into the basement, and start working out…
To recap, only you know where your weak spots are, and what you need to work on inside. Only you can dig through the muck and filter out what actually matters and start discarding the rest. You have to do the hard work to improve, refine, and redefine your life. It is never too late to start this, and remember that it is never too early to start either.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.