In a past entry, I commented on those who ask others what they are capable of in life. One example was the aspiring fighter who asked me if he was too old to pursue the sport of boxing. He wanted the formula that would calculate (beforehand) what he could achieve. Such an approach to life is flawed in many ways. Perhaps most importantly, you end up living your life based on someone else’s opinion of what you can do.
This past weekend I came across a quote that was related to this subject. I was flipping through an old book that I’ve had for many years (Leadership Secrets of the Rogue Warrior, by Richard Marcinko). It’s a quick (and fun) read that you can tear through in a day. Marcinko has some interesting thoughts on the world.
One of the more useful quotes is listed below:
“Conventional wisdom is no wisdom at all. Conventional wisdom is taking somebody else’s word for the way things are… It’s the followers of this world who rely on assumption. Not the leaders.”
This is a powerful statement, which is unfortunately ignored by many in this world. Much of the world instead promotes sameness. When you go against the grain, you will often be criticized and doubted. Almost every successful business owner who has started a business from the ground up had to deal with their share of doubters along the way (often friends and family).
Just think of some of the truly successful entrepreneurs in this world. Bill Gates didn’t take a class on how to become the next Bill Gates. No one told him how to do what he did. He didn’t live his life based on conventional wisdom. He instead took chances and set out to do things his own way. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that other successful entrepreneurs have also followed unchartered waters on their way to the top (ex. Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, etc.)
Application To The Sporting World
Oddly enough, this entry has nothing to do with becoming the next Bill Gates. It is actually closely related to training and sport.
If you want to become a special athlete, you must differentiate yourself from the rest. You can’t simply do what everyone else does and expect to somehow come out on top. Training to become the best (at anything) means going above and beyond the idea of sameness. Consider the following example…
Suppose when you wake up tomorrow morning, a well known athletic trainer has put up a new 2-month routine on his website. He has 1,000 dedicated readers who all religiously begin the workout. At the end of the two month routine, how can any of the individuals expect to differentiate him or herself from the pack, when they’ve all done exactly the same thing?
If you never raise the bar and set higher standards for yourself, how can you expect to rise up above others? Great athletes differentiate themselves from the rest. They go above and beyond what is expected of them.
I never listen to others who tell me what I can achieve, because no one knows how much I’m willing to sacrifice and endure to achieve my goals. There are times when I don’t even know. How the hell will someone else have the answers for me?
Take these words to heart. Write your own future. Most of us have more potential than we will ever come close to achieving.