What’s your chance, really? Ever since I was a young man, whenever I ran into someone new, and they found out I was a swimmer, the question eventually comes out: “So, did you swim in the Olympics?”
What a stretch. How many people actually swim in the Olympics? Yet so many people hold that as the measuring stick of how good you were as a swimmer. It’s kind of ridiculous.
The same holds true with so many things you do in life. What is the real chance of being a success, the ultimate success, THE BEST, in whatever it is you do? I’ve written before about “the best” and how it’s an overused term. “The Best” is ONE, the sole BEST at something. There can be only ONE, and the chance of that being you… well… is pretty slim.
Should that stop you from trying? Should that stop you from the stubborn effort that if SOMEONE, ANYONE, can be “the one”… why can’t that be you?
To be the best at anything, how long does it take? How many years of work, effort, thought, planning, does it take to be the best? There are many components that go in to being “the best” at anything.
– The Dream: The idea of what it is you want to become, or achieve. If you can’t imagine it, then you can never be it. If you don’t lie awake at night thinking about what “it” is, you won’t become it. “It” is an obsession. It engulfs you, to the point people would consider you a work-a-holic because you have no other life than the quest to fulfill… that dream.
– The Work: We all start toward the dream with a bit of enthusiasm and ignorance. “If I work hard enough, it HAS to happen.” Sorry, no it doesn’t. Nobody deserves success just because they’ve worked toward it or for it. I hear all the time… they should win, they deserve it. That’s NOT the way it goes. The person that deserves to win, is the person who wins. There is very little luck in winning, so stop feeling sorry for yourself when you don’t. Start rejoicing in the effort to be one of those in the race… there are few.
– The Focus: The closer you get to the actual goal, the more you focus, the more you hone your craft. It’s funny how reverse it all is. When you’re moldable, when you’re young, you’re indestructible and can conquer everything. You don’t think or focus. You’re filled with the joy of youth, and don’t have time to focus on the long term, yet this is when you can master the skills that will serve you later in life. It’s like school… skip a few classes early on, and you won’t have the foundation necessary to allow you further development. In athletics, skip the development phase, and you won’t have the skills necessary to allow you to train with purpose. The earlier you “focus”… the better your potential will be.
– The Passion: While this absolutely belongs at the top, you won’t really understand it until the bottom. If you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing, for any other reason than to be the ABSOLUTE best at whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll come up short. You have to love what it is you’re doing to be great at it. You have to wake up thinking about it, thinking about ways to do whatever “it” is… better. You need to obsess about “it” to the point that a discovery, a way you haven’t thought about it before, brings you excitement. The thrill of figuring something out, and then the practical application of going through with the discovery process, brings with it the optimism that it’s all going to work better this time. That’s how you become a success.
When we watch the gifted swimmers, the successful business people, the wonderful musicians, there’s typically something inside us that says how lucky they are. How cool it would be if WE had that talent, that feel, that mindset to become as successful.
Chances are good… we do.
What we need to find is… that thing that we truly have a passion for, and then work toward it without feeling like we’re sacrificing anything else. That by NOT chasing that thing… we’re really sacrificing.
Find what your passion is and follow it to the end. Success, or failure, is defined by whether you lived your life with a goal in mind… or if you were just hoping for a payoff in the end.
Success comes from chasing a dream… not from hoping for a medal.