5/10/17 - MYTH: The Straight Shot at the Title
The way I look at it no one gets a straight shot at the title. No one ever has and no one ever will. Not Dwight Eisenhower, not Tiger Woods, or even the damn Beastie Boys did it undefeated. Not even the Greatest of All Time got a straight shot at the title. Which one, you ask? That’s a trick question. Pick one. Muhammad Ali got beat. Michael Jordan both got cut from his high school basketball team and did that thing where he played for the Wizards. Nonetheless, we still call him the GOAT. Robert E. Lee almost did. To this day, he’s one of just two cadets in the history of West Point to graduate with zero demerits, but then, of course, the Confederates lost the war. “Almost, Bobby Lee.”
Meanwhile, here we are pretending that success is the absence of failure. We don’t even know what the very thing we want most even is. We think it’s the results and forget it’s actually the process that makes a champion. The results are success, sure, but the process is thoughtful, repetitive failure. Yet, most of us don’t even know where to begin. We think failure is to be avoided at all costs. As a result, we have no strategies to deal with it when it comes and we mistakenly take it for a signal that we’re off course. We avoid it like the plague and, worse yet, sometimes we even pretend it’s not there all together. Hell, we melt like the Wicked Witch of the East when negative feedback hits us.
What’s the dream of a bonafide modern day loser? A fortress. Mediocre, highly replaceable individuals spend all their time and energy building the fortress of a lifetime. What the walls and the moat and the cannons of the fortress do is protect the individual inside. They insulate him/her from the other realities of living life, including errors, failed attempts, discomfort, and disconfirming information. They pretend life is fine. “See, it’s safe. We’re good. I promise. There’s nothing to worry about. Want any orange juice? It’s fresh squeezed.. I’m in the best mood, aren’t you?” The result, as you can imagine, is an augmented reality. The pretend life inside the fortress doesn’t give a proper depiction of reality, and (worse yet) it solidifies the impossibility of peak expression. Sure, pursing greatness doesn’t mean you’ll achieve it, but forfeiting vulnerability guarantees you’ll never be great. After all, peak expression isn’t possible when you remove the ugly, monotonous feedback loop of any excellent pursuit. But, hey, you can’t blame them, right? It seems the options are to trade a little discomfort for a chance at greatness, or enjoy pseudo-comforts and bask in eternal irrelevancy. We seem to join Team Irrelevant often.
Rather, those in the running for greatness invite errors, failed attempts, and disconfirming information in. They sit with them and get to know them. They talk and share stories with each other. After all, getting intimate with these painful folks is the source of any GOAT’s greatness. It’s here that they get all the secrets. It’s where they continually formulate their plans to level up. After all, high performers value disconfirming information over the appearance and praise. Focusing on praise is maintenance. Focusing on how you’ve made mistakes is your ticket to improvement.
Chances are you’re avoiding the wrong things. I dare you to make a contest of how much you can welcome painful errors. Get to know your negative feedback better than those giving it to you and always maintain expectations for yourself that exceed anyone else’s expectations for you. Nothing is guaranteed with these habits, but you will have a chance. The alternative cannot say the same.
“Death by Muscle Up”
Every minute on the minute perform:
1, 2, 3, 4.. Muscle Ups