There are those that talk and there are those that do. I suppose the real question is who do you want to be in this equation? Do you want to talk about your life? Or, would you rather live it? The question itself is simple.
Keep in mind, each and every one of us has a dream. We all have hopes and wants. We all have desires and ideas. We have visions that can often be clouded by our perceptions and doubts. We have distractions that provide obstacles that aren’t even there. I find this amazing. No one else can see this the same way. No two people are exactly alike and although dreams are shared, this does not mean that everyone has the same desire to achieve them.
I think it is amazing the way we can either talk ourselves into or out of something. We can either encourage or discourage our best efforts. We can lose sight of our goals by considering the threats of uncontrollable outcomes. Will I make it? Will I fail? Will people point and laugh?
This is incredible to me. No, really. It is. We have different connections to the definition of success and achievement. We render ourselves to the influence of both internal and external judgements. We think too much. We delay too often, and yet still, there is a drive in each and every one of us. We all have this. However, like any living or breathing thing, our drives and desires have basic needs for survival. And just like us in the physical sense; these things need to be fed and nurtured too.
The same as we need food and water to live, our desire needs nurturing the very same way, and yet, somehow we fail ourselves. We starve ourselves; in which case, our desires and our dreams become malnourished. We forget the benefits of personal, physical and mental fitness.
There is a big misconception, which I see very clearly. I see this misunderstanding as true to the heart and although misleading, I remind myself of the misperception that champions never fall. This is simply not true. In fact, true champions fall more than anyone else. Even the most successful have failed or hurt, bled, sweat or suffered. No one gets off easy. Whether the work up front is hard the efforts in the background are grueling, which nobody sees or talks about; nothing comes so easily. Life is work. Champions lose too, but they get back up and go at it again. And this is what makes them champions.
Even if during a natural process, something comes easily like a win or a victory, still, what’s the thrill in something so momentary or temporary? What is the thrill of a gem that will only shine for so long? The point is nothing shines forever, unless we make it so. This means work.
I see people dedicate themselves to their craft. I see them working and failing and struggling or figuratively speaking; I see them make weight (so-to-speak). I have met with competitors that told me they wake up to train at 3:30 in the morning because their opponents are already training by 4:00am.
I often go back to the ideas of Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. This is where Gladwell talks about his 10,000 rule.
I am not sure about the exact quote itself but here’s the gist. The rule is that it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials.
I am not sure about the math or if the hours or the calculations are correct. However, I do know there are those who argued the rule. But not me.
I know there used to be a lighted sign atop a billboard that used to shine in blue neon letters. The sign read, “Perfection is not an accident.”
And I agree. Perfection is not an accident. Then again, I’m not really sure what perfection means. And I say this carefully because intellectually, yes, I know exactly what perfection means. However, I am reminded of a quote by Salvador Dali when he said, “Have no fear of perfection. You will never reach it.”
See, I combine these two points of view. I think we are deceived by our own ideas sometimes. I think our ideas about perfection are based from a sense of inaccurate judgement.
I combine the two ideas because there is a gross misconception that there is something so misleading about the word perfection. What is perfection?
Is it only the state or quality of being perfect?
Or is it something different altogether?
Could it be that we are already perfect and our mind takes on the pressures of acceptance and approval?
Makes sense, right?
Perfection, as in the highest degree of efficiency or the perfect embodiment or example. According to the textbook definitions, perfection is a quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence; the act of perfecting. Therefore, in spite of our so-called imperfections, flaws or defects of character, we are all born perfect. The question is what are we doing to live up to our highest degree of excellence? What are we doing to perfect our crafts and in which way are we looking to achieve our best potential?
I have come here more times than any of us can count and each time, I openly discuss the facts that life is not always a harmonious place. People are mean. People lie. People are deceptive and there are those who at best, they can only be loyal to themselves. I say it this way on purpose because at best, they can at least be loyal to themselves. However, on most days their self-centered disloyalty turns inward, which means we betray ourselves first. Thus, any disloyalty to anyone else afterwards is only following a trained pattern that connects to our mindset.
I have met people that live this way. More to the point, I have lived this way myself. I have lost myself to intentions that were disloyal to my best interests. I have lost to myself because of emotional inaccuracies and mental obstacles, which in my heart, I was distracted to believe that I never had the capacity nor the ability to overcome.
I was in fact, intellectually lazy and emotionally intimidated. So what did I do? I cheated. I looked for the quick fix. I looked to calculate my ten thousand hours by cutting this in half and I dressed the part. I played the game but deep down, I knew the truth, which was that I never fed or nurtured my dream. This means I gave up on myself, which means that although I tried, there was no one else to blame.
There are those among us who’ve fought and scratched, begged and borrowed to get to their best place. By any means necessary, they did the work. They trained. They improved and where they were flawed, they saw to it to strengthen their weaknesses. They dedicated themselves to perfecting their life, their potential and their dreams. Moreover, they did this without worrying about the outcomes. There are people that have fed and nurtured their discipline because in all fairness, these people understand that yes, everyone has their own agenda. No one is ever going to advocate for someone else as well as they will advocate for themselves.
Without drive, without the skills of resilience and endurance; without motivation and without inspiration or at least the appropriate direction of both; this is how dreams can die. This is how our will to achieve becomes weak and more than this; allowing ourselves to commit this kind of defeat is the only way that we can truly become imperfect.
There are no real overnight success stories. There are those that seem this way but yet, overnight stardom is far and few in-between. These are rare. The truth is most people have to work for their dreams to come true. They do this at risk of their dreams falling apart. They do this at risk of disappointment. They do this at risk of pain and exhaustion.
Most people who have succeeded are those that reached their level because they worked for their success. As well, they worked to keep their success. They do this because they realize that even diamonds lose their luster (unless you take care of them).
I find myself here, now, at a bit of a crossroads. I write about this and offer this to you because above all things, I am frequently reminded that I am human on a daily basis. This means that yes, there will be days when the sun is shining. There will be days when the skies are stormy. There will be times when I am strong and there will be times when I wonder if my legs are tough enough to help me stand. There are days when life can be discouraging. But this is where the training comes in. I can do one of two things. I can talk or I can do. It all depends on where I want to be in this equation
I am aware that if I am to achieve anything or if I am to become successful at my craft and learn new ways to pull off my trick, I have to be willing to devote myself to the intensive hours of discipline it takes to reach my goals. Whether this comes to me at 10,000 hours or 25,000, I have to be willing to wake up, get up, do the work and no matter how tired or discouraged I might be, I have to have the wherewithal to keep going. Otherwise, my tricks become old. My gems lose their luster. Or worse, my dreams can die.
And who wants that?