I was out for a few beers last night with a couple pal’s. Both guys are successful. They’re very good at what they do, and the confidence that comes with being good – even the best – at what they do comes across, not in an arrogant way, but in an assertive attitude. Every man should have that attitude. Every guy needs to know he’s a winner, that he’s here for a reason, and a good reason at that.
Not everyone can be world class, true, but that notion limits the majority from even attempting to be the best at what they do. Most of us walk into work, content with being average, getting by, and surviving. But who is excited by mediocrity? Deep down we all want to be world class, we all want to be the best at what we do, not so others can praise us – that’s a vain, unhealthy motivation – but so we can hold our heads high and feel the pride that comes with perfecting our craft.
The following is a guest post from a reader of this site, and a guy who’s started his own business, who’s forging his own path. I’ll chime in from time to time in the article to add to the conversation, but take these words and run with them.
How to Overcome the Pain Period & Become World Class
Every time I start something new I suck. Chances are I’m not alone on this. The large majority of the population sucks in the beginning of anything new. But for most people, sucking at something is a tough pill to swallow.
It’s what makes people quit time after time. Being world class means you are in the top 1% of your skill. No matter what you are trying to do you have to understand natural talent is overrated.
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Don’t Be a Prodigy
Prodigies almost never become world-class. Everything came easy to the prodigy. They didn’t have to have to lose sleep to master their skill. They didn’t have to sacrifice time with friends and family to master their skill. They didn’t drudge through the tough moments that are required to become world-class
For the prodigy, the skill was easy.
They put in some time and effort, but not as much as everyone else. They picked up their skill in record time and trumped their competition. There are always stories of the “next big thing” in sports, music, business, etc.
But the reason why most prodigies trail off is because they lack the proper investment.
Someone who’s devoted countless hours to their craft is highly invested. They remember every plateau, every obstacle and every small win. Without the existence of a serious challenge it’s hard to become truly invested in something. So as the rest of the competition becomes more invested, the prodigy starts to wander off into the abyss.
If you are currently working on getting past the pain period and becoming world-class you are in luck. I have done a lot of obscure things in my life like competing against future MMA fighters, playing professional poker, and starting internet businesses. Through it all I have figured out how to overcome the pain period that plagues us all.
Let’s get to it.
Chad here. There’s a common myth about prodigies that’s addressed in Malcolm Gladwell’s, Tipping Point, and Matthew Syed’s Bounce, that most prodigies are born. The evidence, even in the arena’s of athletics, chess, math, and music, says otherwise. A prodigy is simply someone who has an incredibly focus and interest in a craft at an early age. They still have to put their 10,000 hours of PURPOSEFUL PRACTICE in to reach their potential, but their skills aren’t necessarily innate, as we’d all love to believe.
So even those prodigies that we envy because of the ease at which they play, had to put the work in. Work is unavoidable. If work is something you’re not prepared to do, then you’re not going to be world class. It’s impossible.
Check out this video and buy Bounce.
1. Acknowledge the Pain Period
Becoming aware of the struggle is the first step. You need to fully acknowledge that you are a student and your ability is limited.
2. Accept the Pain Period
Once you become aware of the pain period you need to accept it. It’s important that you understand this part is necessary, if you can’t accept these tough times as a necessity then it will be too easy to quit. Just know that these tough moments are going to shape you, they are where you grow and improve.
3. Measure Progress
To truly understand how well you are doing, you must measure your progress. Find a metric that fits your new skill. For example if you are starting a blog, you could measure your email subscribers. If you are training for a marathon, you could measure your distance ran. Whatever metric you decide upon, make sure you record it diligently.
Note: Only measure your progress against yourself. NEVER measure yourself against other people’s progress.
4. Enjoy the Small Wins
If you acknowledge small wins you will never lose sight of how far you have come. By measuring progress these small wins will be much easier to recognize.
The small wins are the fuel to keep you going. Keep note of these and truly see how much progress you have made.
5. Appreciate the Journey
The end-result of anything is never as awesome as the journey itself. Plenty of people aspire to make one-million dollars but very few people truly find joy once they hit that magical number. What most of these people find is building up their business to hit that number was really where the joy came from.
Your journey is no different. Embrace the obstacles. Embrace the plateaus. Love every second of the process because the end-result is an afterthought compared to the journey.
6. Do It Until It Becomes Beautiful
Once you have overcome the pain period, you will start to see things from a different point of view. Your perceptions have been changed by reaching a whole new level of skill.
Doing something until it becomes beautiful is something I wrote about in my e-book, and it basically means getting so good at something that it becomes art.
No matter what you are trying to master – anything can become art. Achieve these high levels of perception and officially become world-class.
Understand that the pain period is exactly what it sounds like…just a period. It’s nothing more than a phase. If you persist, it will pass. So set forth on your journey and surpass the prodigies because you possess the skills to conquer anything you desire. You just have to put in the work.
Kevin Cole (@performdestiny) is a writer and entrepreneur. He runs a raw and honest personal development blog called Perform Destiny where he gives unsexy advice on hustling, human growth and becoming badass.