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Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.
No one has the time to wait anymore.
We want everything instantly. And when it takes longer than expected?
We quit. Well, “most” people do. They lose their stomach for the long game. It’s why most people never drop those 15 extra pounds or reach their goals. It’s not a microwavable instant hit.
And reaching great big goals? That’s an endurance sport.
It's an ultra-marathon - not a 400m sprint. You've got to be able to push through those times of discomfort. You've got to be able to keep running when you split open a blister. And you've got to find the strength to push on just a few more steps when your legs are on fire. It’s about persevering through the pain for glory.
Same goes with life.
Meet 34-year-old Andre Ingram.
You see, Ingram spent the last 11 years (and 384 minor-league games) playing basketball in his quest to make the NBA.
On April 10, 2018, Ingram stepped onto a NBA court as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time in his career. He’ll earn almost as much on his 10-day NBA contract has he had the entire season playing in the minors.
“If you set a goal, and someone told you that you are not going to bet able to get it until 10 years from now, and you do this every day you will be able to get there, that is pretty impressive to me,” said Lakers (now) teammate Alex Caruso. (source)
11 years. 384 games. And finally, goal achieved.
That doesn’t sound like the “overnight success” story we fall for in today’s media, but it’s the real story and how someone less talented than his counterparts finally made it to a stage most of us only dream of.
Guts. Determination. Perseverance.
That’s what defines a Competitor.
Talent is great – but how many talented athletes sit at home and watch less talented players nightly on Sportscenter? Tons.
Talent is part of the equation to success – but it’s not the biggest.
In Grit, author Angela Duckworth scripts out a formula for success that describes effort being the most important factor in achievement because, according to her, “effort counts twice as much as talent.”
“Many of us, it seems, quit what we start far too early and far too often. Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, ready to get on that treadmill again and keep going.
By Duckworth’s calculations, “someone twice as talented but half as hardworking as another person might reach the same level of skill, but still produce dramatically less over time.”
per·se·vere / pərsəˈvir/ verb
to remain steadfast in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success
Talent will only get you so far. And for many of us, talent hasn’t ever gotten the job completely done. The majority of Competitors aren’t the most talented ones – in fact, most of them are the most persevering, being willing to hang on and outlast their competition.
But never giving up? That doesn’t require talent. It requires heart.
And heart is something a true Competitor has plenty of.
Press onward. Hang on when everyone else gives up. Persevere.
Because that’s what Competitors do.