And don’t stop doing the hard things.

I thought this would be an appropriate starting place for my newly minted blog.  Admittedly, this is re-blogged from February of 2014.  But it’s as important to me now as it was then.  Since each year, at this time of year, I like to remind myself of what it takes to be #better.

I got this amazing nugget of advice after reading a chain-tweeted article on businessinsider.com entitled “19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful”.  I feel that this piece was largely “fluff”.

Not that the 19 “things” were unimportant.  They were all (more or less) important.  But in my opinion, there was only one line necessary.  The last one.  “Do the hard things, you might be surprised at how amazing you really are.”

Now, I know that no one should be “surprised” to get better if they’re working at just that.

But… Holy crap.

That is basically it.

I touched on this topic two years ago at this very time of year.  I said: “don’t stop”.  But looking back, I didn’t really convey the message correctly.  And this got me to thinking about success and excellence in general. Success in sport is not all that different than success in other aspects of life such as business or relationships.  You really have to do the hard things.  You have to make the hard things what drive you not to stop.  And not in an I-can’t-wait-to-tweet-this kind of vanity drive.  Yes, we all get excited and send out a little TMI, or post annoying, hollow and profound-sounding motivational quotes sometimes.  Sometimes. That’s human nature.  But examine what drives you on a regular basis.  Struggle has to be something that you just crave.  Like air, food or water, it’s sustenance.

One of my positions at my last career was to conduct investigations.  Why did I get into being an investigator?  Because I got to work on problems that others either didn’t have the time, resources, tools or knowledge to solve.  I sought out that job because when you are competent, routine is boring as hell.  When I had a hard problem, I wasn’t pissed off.  I was excited to roll up my sleeves, ask questions, and learn something, and write a report on it.  No matter how much of an “expert” I was at my trade…  I looked at the hard things are opportunities to grow.  Period.

Such is sport.  The hard things are the opportunities to grow.  That is arguably the most important thing to realize if you seek excellence.  If you want to get better at something, change what you are doing for the better.  If you don’t get faster every year, then try not taking months off this season.  If you identify a specific weakness or problem, you need to work on correcting it diligently.  If you are in a rut, seek out the experts that have the knowledge you don’t, and believe in them, etc.  You may even have to push others out of their comfort zone.  Because that’s how they will grow.

It won’t be easy.  Not much is guaranteed in life.  But I can guarantee you that by definition, what comes hard will not be easy.  ‘Tis the season to put in hard work for 2014 and the years beyond.  Expect everything to get harder.  Then you’ll be prepared to do the work.

And nowhere is it written that hard work does not pay off.

It most certainly does.

So do the hard things.

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