I don’t know what to say when someone tells me they’ve quit. It’s one of those rare moments when I’m speechless.
I grew up in a house where you either succeeded, or you weren’t finished yet. There was no happy middle ground. Homework was either completed or I was working on it. The option of not completing it never entered my mind.
Sports further emphasized this point. I could not imagine telling my coach, “Well, I tried, but I just couldn’t get the job done, so I’m gonna stop now.”
Nope. No way! I’d never say that! I’d rather walk into a bear’s den beating a pot with a metal spoon with a raw piece of meat tied around my neck than do that. It’s just not happening.
So, now in life I feel similarly. I am either achieving what I set out to do, or I am not finished. It’s that simple. I think it can be best summed up in the idea of trying vs. training.
Trying sounds okay when you first say. “Sure, I’ll give it a try.” It’s innocent. You’ll do your best. The problem with trying though is that it leaves that other option out in the open. The other option being you can walk away if it doesn’t work out.
Training on the other hand takes that other option right off the table. Training is an entirely different matter. For starters, there is a plan. You know what you are going to do to make it happen. No wild swings. No shooting from the hip. When you train you measure your progress, make sure you’re on track, and you use every resource you can to achieve success. When you train you discipline yourself and follow a set of rules or guidelines. If you experience a setback, you get up and begin, again.
See the difference? Training and trying are not the same. Trying is a half-hearted effort. Training is focused on a result. Those who try sometimes get lucky and make it. Those who train make it every time. It might take awhile, but they will get there.
Imagine you are given the amazing opportunity to win a million dollars during an NBA halftime show by shooting three foul shots. Make three in a row and you win a million dollars. The contest will be televised live in three weeks. Would you try to make the shots or would you train to make the shots? I’d train! You’d find me out on the playground basketball court late at night, even if it was raining, practicing those shots. I’d read books about the psychology of performing under pressure. I’d watch video. I’d consult coaches. And let me tell you this… I’d win.
Our journey in life is no different. Do you have a plan? An accountability partner? Are you focused? Do you miss practices? Are you disciplining yourself?
You do know you’re playing for more than a million dollars, right?
So, how do you win a million dollars shooting a basketball free throw? How do you win at life?
Simple. You train.