It's not "effort", "habits" or "belief" -- it's something far simpler. Isn't it fascinating what some of the world's best have achieved in their fields? Us mere mortals look at what they do and think, "heck, that's never going to be me."
As easy it is to sell yourself short, a part of you does realize that they are the same people as we are. Yes, they may be genetically blessed or born into a wealthy family, but we know people like that who ended up squandering it all.
At the same time, we love rags to riches stories. Tales of the common man who rose up out of mediocrity to take a slice away from the top 0.01%. We see it as proof that good things can happen to those who put in the effort.
Obviously, a lot of it does come down also to luck and factors out of our control, but this doesn't mean that we can become complacent and expect to be dealt a pair of aces every round.
So what do regular people do that helps them break out and smash their toughest goals? I've trawled the Internet to find some stories. I've discovered a common theme that can be summarized as a single six-letter word that reveals the secret behind how they can dramatically boost their chances of success.
The best part is that anyone can do it; all it requires is a slight mindset shift.
Let's have a read.
I don't follow the NBA but I am aware of the contributions Bryant has made not only to basketball, but to his nation as a whole.
His resume is dizzying. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:
- 5× NBA champion (2000-2002, 2009, 2010)
- 2× NBA Finals MVP (2009-2010)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
- 18× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000-2016)
- 4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009,2011)
- 11× All-NBA First Team (2002-2004, 2006-2013)
- 2× All-NBA Second Team (2000-2001)
- 2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
- 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003-2004,2006-2011)
- 3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001-2002,2012)
You don't become that good by accident. His training regimes are a thing of legend. As far as I know, no one in basketball is as punishing on himself as Bryant was.
I found this thread on social community Reddit that shares stories of his most insane training regimes.
Here's my favorite:
Robert (The USA Trainer)
The night before the first scrimmage I remember I was just watched "Casablanca" for the first time and it was about 3:30 AM. I lay in bed, slowly fading away when I hear my cell ring. It was Kobe. I nervously picked up.
"Hey, uhh Rob, I hope I'm not disturbing anything right?"
"Uhh no, what's up Kob?"
"Just wondering if you could just help me out with some conditioning work, that's all."
I checked my clock. 4:15 AM.
"Yeah sure, I'll see you in the facility in a bit."
It took me about twenty minutes to get my gear and out of the hotel. When I arrived and opened the room to the main practice floor I saw Kobe. Alone. He was drenched in sweat as if he had just taken a swim. It wasn't even 5AM.
We did some conditioning work for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Then we entered the weight room, where he would do a multitude of strength training exercises for the next 45 minutes. After that we parted ways and he went back to the practice floor to shoot. I went back to the hotel and crashed. Wow.
I was expected to be at the floor again at about 11 AM. I woke up feeling sleepy, drowsy, and almost pretty much every side effect of sleep deprivation. Thanks, Kobe. I had a bagel and headed to the practice facility.
This next part I remember very vividly. All the Team USA players were there, feeling good for the first scrimmage. LeBron was talking to Carmelo if I remember correctly and Coach Krzyzewski was trying to explain something to Kevin Durant. On the right side of the practice facility was Kobe by himself shooting jumpers. And this is how our next conversation went -- I went over to him, patted him on the back and said, "Good work this morning."
"Like, the conditioning. Good work."
"Oh. Yeah, thanks Rob. I really appreciate it."
"So when did you finish?"
"Getting your shots up. What time did you leave the facility?"
"Oh just now. I wanted 800 makes so yeah, just now."
My jaw dropped. Mother of holy God. It was then that I realized that there's no surprise to why he's been as effective as he was last season. Every story about his dedication, every quote that he's said about hard work all came together and hit me like a train. It's no surprise to me now that he's dunking on players ten years younger than him and it wasn't a surprise to me earlier this year when he led the league in scoring.
Here's the entire compilation for you to read -- I'd bookmark it just for inspiration.
Watch this video first. It might not seem like much, but he's hitting the drum at 1,208 bpm. He beat the record holder by just an extra five beats, but that does make him the new Guiness Book of Records record holder.
On drummerworld.com, a forum for drummers, he explains how he did it.
As far as my technique goes, I do believe that I use 'normal' technique because it comes from the wrist. I practice playing very slowly which allows me to really control each stroke and I try to maintain good body posture and remember to stretch. I also cover my practice pad with a towel to create less rebound. I also practice breathing exercises during my practice. I think that breathing is overlooked with many drummers.
He's had to change how he breathes, holds his wrists, hands and arms to ensure he can beat the drum as fast as possible. It's quite fascinating the level of depth he goes in to to do this. Like everything else, it's not just a simple adjustment. It's a simple adjustment plus a lot of practice.
Read more about it on this thread.
After reading these stories about people who have taken their craft to greater heights, it's clear that they were disciplined, focused and driven. They did things that their peers weren't willing to do. That's the biggest difference, though: they were willing to do it -- and keep doing it.
Their minds are obviously wired differently to the majority of the population. They see the work involved and no matter the ask, if it helps them move towards their goal, they'll do it.
In other words, they see the processes, habits and tasks to achieve their goals as being normal.
"Normal" is the secret six-letter word.
Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.
This quote is commonly attributed to Morticia Addams from "The Adams Family". I think it very aptly represents the point of this piece.
Flies buzz around aimlessly. Meanwhile, spiders craft their webs and patiently wait in hiding. Flies get caught, they struggle helplessly. The spider has lunch. It's routine for the spider, but death for the fly.
We have different routines and habits from the people mentioned above. They are able to dedicate every waking moment to perfecting their craft and being the best in the world. The rigorous training they do is normal to them. It's utterly insane to mere mortals like us.
The point of this article isn't to talk about how to be more productive. It's about having the mindset of the top 0.01%. There are hundreds of articles that will tell you how to start a new habit, but only you in your mind can perceive it as a normal, every day task, thereby unleashing its power to transform you.
If you see a new exercise regime, weekly mastermind meet up, public speaking class or something else as a big deal, it gives you more reason to give up. Turn it into routine and you won't feel as disappointed when you don't get the results you want.
When you feel disappointed, you're letting the factor of chaos affect you. You're the fly. But if you let it pass by, you're the spider. You know there will be more chances. You just have to go about your day like you knew it was going to happen. So whatever you do, do it well. But "normalize" it as soon as you can. That's how you do great things effortlessly and become the greatest version of yourself.
What if you had the courage to only do the work you love? How much happier would you be? What separates the people who have the courage and those who don't? Vulnerability. Accepting that they're good enough to do the work that gives their life meaning.
1percentbraver.com is a community of people all ready to accept that they're good enough. They get access to an online magazine that tackles problems like maintaining peak personal performance and how to promote yourself. They also get access to a recorded interview with a person of influence who's used their vulnerability to empower instead of weaken themselves.
First edition launches June 30th. Click here to apply to join the Founders Shortlist and tell me what work gives your life meaning. If you're a good fit, I'll save you a spot for the launch event.