Life is hard; there is no doubt about it. From what I can tell, it isn’t ever really going to get easier, but it can get a whole lot better. By better I mean way more fulfilling, enjoyable and profitable for you and those around you (not just from a monitory perspective.) How do we achieve these things in this type of life, getting beat down from all sides? Commitment (Big goals), Focus (priority and giving up the little things), Efficiency (quit wasting time on things that don’t drive you toward your goals.)
This life has a great way of teaching us how to reach this better if we are willing to listen and learn.
“Life is the best school. God is the best teacher. Problems are the best assignments. Failure is the best revision.” – Wilson Kanadi
“Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.” –Special Needs athlete failing to make bike cut off at Ironman World Championships
I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed with the ability to go to school, own a home, and run my own business, all things of a privileged middle class citizen. But, as I have had these privileges, I’ve also had to walk through the fire of life, like dealing with the cancer of my wife. Do I wish she never had to go through all of this, yes, sure I do. But am I thankful for the numerous lessons it has taught me? Absolutely. Some of those lessons are personal and probably only pertain to me, but several I believe are universal. My hope is that you will benefit/learn from our trials/lessons and not have to experience them first hand. With that, here are my top 3 ways to find your better.
It all starts here; you have to have a big goal, your destination, where you really want to get to. If you don’t, you’ll just be driving around in life aimlessly lost. We don’t go to the airport and pick out any plane hoping it takes us where we want to go. We plan our travel, buy the ticket, and make sure we get on the right plane to get to our destination. It’s the same way with life. (That includes all areas of life, business, finances, being a great parent or spouse, and athletic performance.) You can’t just hope you’ll become great at these things. You need to be totally committed to a plan, and then put that plan in action with 100% commitment and focused.
Once you’re committed, it’s time to really focus, and this is where a lot of people fall short. They believe they are committed, but they lose focus because there are too many little things in the way, taking away from that focus and true 100% commitment.
Definition of Hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have been.” – Anonymous
I came across this quote a while back and it really stuck me. If you don’t start now with a commitment, and focus with 100%, you will never achieve the person you could have been. Unfortunately, this is how most people will go through life; never finding the better life, and walking through hell.
I had an interesting exchange on Facebook the other day. It was in regards to nutrition. Ketogenic Diet was the subject. It’s a big buzzword right now. I’ve personally studied a bunch of the research that is out on it, and think it is worth considering for any endurance athlete. I could write a whole post on it, so for now we will leave it at this. The diet requires you to be 100% focused and committed to it or you’re not going to truly find the lasting benefits of it. (I’m leaner than I’ve ever been in my whole life, with more consistent supply of energy. There are some major endurance performance-boosting implications there.) Back to the Facebook exchange, the statement that really got me was something like; “I don’t want to be on a diet that makes me fearful of what I eat.” (The diet requires you keep carbohydrates very low in order to keep a steady release of ketones and stay in a fat burning state.) This means you have to stay committed 100%. This is to key to success in every area of life including nutrition. My point isn’t that this diet is the golden diet. It’s probably not for everyone. But regardless, you need to be 100% committed to whatever your (healthy) diet is if you want it to enhance your performance and not take away from it.
To expand on that, if you say you’re 100% committed to being the best athlete you can be, but aren’t willing to give up on things that aren’t producing positive results and driving you toward the big dream, then you’re not 100% committed. If we are “fearful,” of missing out on something, that says we think we are entitled to certain luxuries in this life. In this case it would be the parts of a diet that don’t improve performance, (usually surgery or starchy carbohydrates). If we really want to find the person we can become, it’s going to take giving up things in life that this world wants you to believe you deserve. In business or in athletic performance, you’re usually going to be competing against someone who has a leg up on you, whether that is family connections and starting ahead, or physical genetics that place them superior to you from the start. If you think you’re going to overcome these by being 90% committed, you’re wrong. It takes 100% commitment and focus from every area of life. If you haven’t reached your goals in life, you need to reconsider how committed and focused you truly are.
"Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change.” –Dave Ramsey
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” –Winston Churchill
I think this one is pretty straight forward, but one of the hardest. If “it” doesn’t give an immense amount of value to your life or help propel you toward your goals, then it needs to be cut out. That habit needs to be changed. Whether it is TV, social media, video games, or whatever distracts you from the plan and takes away from your commitment and focus, therefore derailing your efficiency, needs to be changed.
We can all think of 2-3 things right off the top of our head that we can change right now to be more efficient and use our time more wisely. Make a list of how you spend your time each day and see how much wasted time you have on things that don’t bring true value (reduce your commitment/focus), then cut them out or cut them way down.
When you are forced to step up to the plate, covering more than normal because life has derailed “your normal,” you find out what really matters, what is really needed, and what actually brings real value to your life. For me those are different then they are for you, but I will never go back to just being 90%. I want better for my whole family, not just for me. I’ll never achieve that without 100% commitment, focus, and efficiency. That doesn’t mean I will be perfect: far from it! But I will continue to learn, adapt and drive toward my dreams with every fiber in my body until I reach them.
Here’s to your better in 2017 and beyond.