The Secret to Success Everyone Knows But Only the Best Are Smart Enough to Follow
...or why we suck at things.
“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” ~ Yogi Berra
If you’re anything like me, there is something you want to be good at but currently suck.
…or worse, there is something you are good at but a competitor is great at, and you can’t seem to catch up.
You show up and do the work but never get better.
…worse, you’re disappointed in yourself.
…worse yet, you regret settling for mediocrity for so long.
You act like it’s all good around your colleagues, friends, and family. You are filled with potential, and everyone sees it.
Except, you know, potential is bullshit.
You can’t escape the feeling that you’re underachieving.
Those last few minutes before you fall asleep…you’re tortured in those last few minutes, knowing, deep down, you’re not as good as you could be.
…and it eats at you.
What a f@#$ing loser…
You’re a disappointment. It’s shameful. You’re capable of so much more…
What the f@#$ is your problem? Everyone else is crushing it, and you’re still grinding away like some wet-behind-the-gills rookie bitch.
This is when the negativity and excuses flood your brain:
“It’s not my fault. I’m not as naturally gifted at <insert activity> as <insert whoever it is you envy>.”
“What if I fail? Everyone will judge me.”
“I’m so busy as it is; I can’t go any harder than I am currently.”
“It’s OK. I still have time. I’ll get after it tomorrow.”
“If only I had <insert tool>, I could be as good as <insert person you envy> at <insert activity>.”
There is only one reason you’re not where you want to be; you haven’t made the particular activity a practice in your life.
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Practice vs Developing a Practice
What’s the difference?
“Developing a Practice” is the continuous improvement process toward increased effectiveness.
Essentially, getting better at the thing becomes a way of life.
The difference between making something a practice and practicing something is night and day.
Making something a practice demands deliberate and intentional action.
Deliberate practice takes the concept of practice to a deeper level by focusing on the activity and the quality of the practice time.
“When we practice something, we are involved in the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal. The words deliberate and intention are key here because they define the difference between actively practicing something and passively learning it.”
—Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind
You’re not just showing up and going through the motions.
You’re not hoping to get better.
You’re not relying on willpower to get you through the tough times.
Practice is a habit.
Practice is a lifestyle.
Your practice is deliberate and intentional.
You don’t shoot for grand goals but small micro improvements, each stacking on top of the next.
Developing a practice is the compound interest of being awesome at something.
As the bestselling author of Atomic Habits, James Clear, says, willpower is like a muscle. It gets fatigued as you use it throughout the day.
Willpower will NEVER get you there.
Practice must become a habit.
The 100-Hour Rule
Eighteen minutes a day for one year. That’s all it takes to be better than 95% of the world in any discipline.
Eighteen minutes a day of practice.
I don’t care how hectic your life is, how important you are, or what burdens you’re forced to bear…you can find 18 minutes.
As Jesse Itzler explains (below), 18 minutes daily is 109 hours a year. That’s just 1.2 percent of your total available time in a year.
You now have NO excuse for sucking at something that matters to you.
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“Everything is practice.” ~ Pele
Here’s a tough pill to swallow; you’re practicing right now.
By reading this, you’re practicing personal growth (hopefully, that’s how you’d categorize these articles).
But you’re also practicing when you watch Netflix till 100am. You’re also practicing when you hit the snooze button three times the next morning and then race around like a lunatic, stressed about being late to work for the third time this week.
You’re practicing when you snap at your spouse.
You’re practicing when you tell yourself you will run five miles and stop after two.
You’re practicing when you commit to fasting 13 hours a day but give in to late-night cravings.
Everything is practice.
"God is love, and to be with God is to be pulled into his life of love. But love is not just a feeling or emotion; it's something you do, something you practice." ~ John Mark Comer
You don’t just do practice; you live practice.
What you make a practice becomes who you are.
So maybe the real question is, who do you want to be?
Figure it out and get to work.
p.s. if you miss this one, it’s worth the read…
p.s.s if you are enjoying Finding Peak, it would mean a lot to me if you shared this article with your network…
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I started my journey with content marketing about 6 months ago. I’ve recorded about 100 videos with my agency, and I’ve recently been writing 2 blog posts a week. We’re stuck at 1-2 inbound leads a week, which is much more than the 0 we were getting previously. I get these feelings you’re describing. “Is it working?” “What am I doing wrong?” “If I had Ahrefs I could be better at this...”
Stephen King said in “On Writing” you have to pray that the altar of the muse for a long time before she will acknowledge you. I think any craft functions that way.
A craft is learned one grueling, hard-earned lesson at a time. How to identify topics people care about? How to write good hooks? Where to publish it? What is my medium?
It’s like you say. One step at a time.