Striving for greatness and success doesn’t require extraordinary talent or resources. People who achieve great things weren’t marked by fate to succeed. No one knows, when he’s starting out, whether he has any chance of success of if he’s just wasting his time, but the people who succeed keep going anyway. Whether your goal is to make it to the top of your field, or just lead a quiet, fulfilling life, your mindset makes all the difference in how you face life’s challenges. Here are some ways to live every day like a champion.
Focus on what’s in front of you.
Every champion knows that as soon as you start looking ahead to the next game, match, or fight, you lose focus and stumble. Always keep your mind on what you’re doing and never take anything for granted. Although the stakes for you might not be the NBA playoffs or the Wimbledon trophy, getting into the habit of focusing on what you’re doing is absolutely essential. It’s especially important in our current age of distraction. Social media, multitasking, and hyperconnected offices all distract us from our most important work. Not only that, studies have found that constant distraction makes us less happy. Champions can focus on what’s in front of them without being distracted by the fans, the last point, or the next one.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Competition inherently means comparing yourself to others, but champions know that your only real competition is yourself. Comparing yourself to others either makes you unhappy or complacent. And such comparisons are always arbitrary. The only comparison that matters is whether you are better than you were yesterday. Have you spent time improving a weakness? Have you taken a meaningful step toward one of your goals? Focusing on consistent improvement, rather than reaching for some arbitrary benchmark is the only sustainable path to high performance.
When obstacles appear, most people complain. Obstacles can slow you down, give you a headache, or make you give up entirely. However, champions know that challenges are opportunities to get stronger. This is obvious in the gym. You add plates to the bar to make it harder to lift. In life, though, we’re always looking to take plates off, and avoid the bar entirely, if possible. How are you supposed to get stronger without resistance? Champions don’t want an easy final just to get a trophy; they want to face their top rival so the trophy means something.
Learn from setbacks.
The path to the top is never smooth. There’s an old saying that masters have failed more times than amateurs have ever tried. Failure always feels awful and no one likes it, but champions learn from it and try again. We almost always underestimate how difficult things will be. If you want immediately increase your determination to persist in the face of failures, estimate the number of times you expect to fail and multiply that by ten. Then decide to keep trying anyway.
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