Everyone aspires for greatness – but few actually get there.
Many get started on their journey but they quit when it gets hard and go back to the ordinary – the easy, the risk-free, and the familiar. They recede to the path of least resistance.
Frustrated with themselves, they rationalize their choice:
“Greatness is not for me. I am a normal person. I don’t have X, Y, and Z resources that some people have access to. I am bound to be ordinary.”
It was not a joke when Benjamin Franklin said that “Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.”
Often people give up their desire for freedom and settle for some or the other form of slavery – and many of them are subconsciously aware of what they did – of the trade-off they made (they know that they had a decent shot had they given it their all) – that’s why they find it hard to respect themselves.
(You respect yourself for the same things you respect others for – grit, determination, and ambition.)
If you are one of those who are still alive, well, here is how to become a champion:
1) Fix Your Mindset
Everything begins with your mind. Drill this in your head:
The absolute worst mistake you can make is not believing in yourself and your ability.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you are capable of everything right now, but with enough effort and action in the right direction, you can get there.
You are potentially capable of everything under the sun.
If you don’t believe in yourself – no one else will either, and more importantly, if you can’t believe in yourself, you won’t last when things get harder.
Anybody can make progress when progress comes easy, but no journey worth making is easy, so on journeys that matter, there are very few people who last long enough to see the fruit of their effort.
We all start at peak confidence, then we hit the valley of despair quickly, and that’s when most of us who don’t have faith in our abilities call it quits.
“It’s too hard and I’m not good enough.” – We’ve all said this to ourselves at some point, right before we threw in the towel.
If you want to scale that slope of enlightenment – you need to have the right mindset – one of faith and self-belief, for without that the battle is lost as soon as it begins.
The easy way to develop self-belief is to develop self-discipline – it’s easy to believe in yourself when you know you can act on your convictions.
If discipline and consistency are a problem for you – you should check out Live Intentionally: Discipline, Mindset, Direction – A 90 Day Self Project.
2) Start Now – Don’t wait for “Someday”
If you want to do it, start working on it as soon as possible – today.
Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not someday.
Most people keep finding excuse after excuse to never get started, and they keep pushing the work further and further into the future, literally to the point that they never start, and sooner than later, time pulls the rug right from under their feet and they wonder what went wrong.
“Someday” is where dreams go to die.
Some-day never becomes to-day.
Some-day is something people tell themselves to-day so they don’t have to come to terms with what they are really doing – selling their ideal future for some more time in the comfort zone.
When you turn to do something new, you don’t feel fully confident in yourself – so you naturally turn to your friends and family.
You know them and trust them – so you tell them your plans and you ask them what they think.
Often, they lack your vision, and they convince you that your idea won’t work out.
Here’s the thing – all of your friends and family either want you to fail (for you succeeding will make them look like failures), or they love you, and want you to be safe, so they don’t want you to venture out and take any risks.
The end result is usually the same – they subtly demotivate you from taking the shot.
If you actually want to get anywhere – stop looking for supporters, approval, or permission.
You don’t need any of those. You only feel that you do – the problem is your lack of self-confidence.
The ironic part is, you’ll get tons of approval and supporters once you actually make your vision a reality.
Everyone will “see it” once it’s visible.
Until then, don’t look for support – you won’t find any, for there’s nothing for people to see except a bunch of hopes and wishes.
Note that this does not mean that you shouldn’t listen to anyone. If someone has a deep background in your chosen field, you should definitely hear them out. But always ignore random people telling you how you’re wasting your time.
4) Practice. Put in the Work
Here’s the boring part – unless you happened to be a prodigy, you’ll need to put in untold amounts of effort and practice before you’re good enough at anything.
There’s no saying how much practice goes into making the best music, the best software, the best anything.
Hell, if you like the writing of this article, I’ll have you know that I’ve been writing consistently for years, and I wasn’t always good.
And I’m not even world-class (yet).
People who are at the top are constantly getting better – they’re putting in tons of work and research into perfecting their craft.
I won’t bore you with a dead horse here, but I will say this:
If you are unwilling to practice, you are unwilling to improve.
And if you are unwilling to improve, you do not deserve greatness.
Whip up some deadlines for yourself (deadlines get work done), and start practicing. If you don’t know where to start – start with the basics and research what good technique looks like.
Be consistent, and it’s literally impossible not to improve.
Food for thought: Here is where the importance of passion comes in. It’s much easier to practice when you enjoy what you’re doing.
Bonus #5) Work Hard in Silence
When you’re putting in the work – don’t be loud about it.
Don’t tell people what you’re up to and they’ll assume that you’re up to nothing … right about until the results are too big to not be obvious.
Then just act like it was nothing – like it all came naturally to you.
That’s the secret to “genius” by the way – geniuses put in untold amounts of time and effort into their craft, and the world only looks at what they finally create and assumes that the results were divine.
The Italians call it sprezzatura – the art of nonchalance.
Keeping your cards close when you’re building yourself also serves some other interesting purposes as well – it reduces exposure when you’re working, and when you’re done, people will not know how you did it.
If people don’t know what you’re doing, they can’t stop you.
If people don’t know how you did it, they can’t emulate it.
So there you have it – the steps to being great at anything – so forget someday and start working on it today.
And don’t tell me that you don’t know what you want – you know, you just don’t want to admit it.
Hope this helps.