The motivational speakers screaming at the top of their lungs aren’t all wrong. There is greatness in each of us. But we aren’t born great. Only deliberate practice combined with patience gets us there. The greatness within any field narrows down to pillar rules. If you stick to them, you’ll be far ahead of the curve.
There are standard barriers in all fields. The people who achieved legendary feats and left a legacy behind. When we compare our creations with them, our motivation well dries fast. Their level of work appears unachievable to us because we don’t stop to consider one thing. We don’t see their start, their struggles. We only look at their peak creations.
We all start flawed and confused. It requires dedication and commitment before achieving excellence. The following are some questions to help you find greatness within yourself.
Who is your crush?
If you’re working a dream job, who inspired you to dream? If you are grinding to pursue goals, who ignited the fire in you? That’s your crush. It can be a singer, writer, painter, dancer, or whatever you want to be. They were once in your place.
Michael Jordan had a favorite player. Shakespeare drew inspiration from writers before. Picasso wasn’t born with a brush in his hands. Someone sparked the curiosity in him years before the world knew him.
Have you paused to wonder why are you drawn to your crush’s work?
Is it their honesty and word delivery? Is style what pierces your heart? Or are you in awe looking at how prolific they are?
Find the reason and double down on it. You don’t need to run surveys to understand your audience. Create what you’d like to consume and you’ll pluck out weeds from your garden. Your creations will be impactful and relatable.
Can you take a bullet?
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
You can’t do the same thing millions of times without guidance and expect to improve. The sheer repetitions will only get you so far. Don’t let the long stretched road discourage you. Don’t be offended by words meant to improve your game. To excel, you’ll need to take criticism like a champion.
You’re in bad luck if your immediate reaction is fleeing to self-defense mode. Don’t bother to justify your actions. Listen instead. Listen without emotions like the feedback is for someone else’s work. Analyze it and apply the good bits.
How OCD-ed are you?
If you drop your weapons the minute you face friction, what kind of a soldier are you? The path to greatness isn’t clear or easy. It has never been and will never be. It comes down to numbers.
If your goal is only desired by three other people, you have a 25% chance. You can analyze your competition better and plan counter moves. You can slightly push yourself and take the trophy home.
If 30 million people are running a marathon, things take a different turn. The competition will be fierce and unpredictable. You’ll be outworked and outsmarted. It will take everything you can give to have any chance at all.
The greatest people you’re inspired by are beasts. They don’t let anything get in their way. They plan life around their goals. They’re committed, practice crazy hours, think different, and are obsessive.
Beethoven worked long hours and often dipped his head into cold water to refresh himself. Kobe played a bench-warmer to 100 multiple times when he was in high school. Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times but still kept going.
How obsessive you are will be a strong deciding factor in how far you get in life.
How rusty is your ring?
Steel is strong. A bridge can hold a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds. It doesn’t budge when several vehicles pass simultaneously. Yet, when left unmaintained for long enough, it catches rust. Years pass and rust eats out the strength. Until it weakens to the lowest point and crashes by a bird’s weight.
Your friends, family, colleagues, and who you read and watch online. They form your ring. The ring of life. Your beliefs about yourself, and view of the world are subconsciously enforced by your ring.
Your ring requires careful maintenance. You must stand guard and take care of rusty parts. Don’t let them eat out your strength. The stronger your ring, the better your chances to succeed.
How rebellious are you?
If you do what everyone else does, you’ll achieve nothing better. The herd mentality has no place if you’re looking to live life to the fullest. To be the greatest you can be, you’ll need to break some rules. Listen to mentors. Read what the best have done before you. Then adapt. Apply your own flavor.
What’s your north star worth?
You can have a perfect childhood, the best coaches, excellent body condition and all the time in the world. And still, fail. Or you may have nothing. No shoes to practice. No light to write. Surrounded by temptations and darkness and without a guide. And still, succeed.
That’s because our mind controls the body. If your mental frame is broken, nothing from the outside can fix you. Hence, your chances to succeed will be boosted exponentially if you know your north star. Your “why”.
You’ll practice your craft with busted ribs and a broken nose. You’ll show up when your world is falling apart. You’ll make time amidst chaos and always find a way to push further when everyone quits. You’ll have something to fight for.
The greatness is achievable but it requires sacrifices. Often those sacrifices are greater than the value of achievement. You decide.
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