I can say with certainty that every athlete that comes to me wants to be great. Why else would they invest the time, money, sacrifice, hours and commitment? I also know that many people want to know the surest fire path getting what they want, so I thought it’d be cool to write about what makes a great athlete so great.
- Fearlessness-Great athletes don’t fear things such as injury, loss, failure or a shooting slump. I have never been as scared as I was the couple of days following my knee injury, but I then started thinking about this very question that I posed in this article and I realized that there can be no more fear of injury. It all starts in the mind, if you get hurt, go to the appropriate measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again if it is even preventable and then forget it. I spoke with Louie Simmons yesterday and he said, “Kyle, its all in the mind. Believe that you will come back and you will. There is no fear, that’s hogwash.” Great athletes also don’t fear losing because they know from their time and sacrifice that they’ve done everything they can to prepare and although no one wins every time, they have greatly increased their odds. Great athletes need an almost cocky swagger, much like Arnold Schwarzenegger had. Know that you are great, that you can win in the big spot, that you can hit the game winning shot and you will. It’s all about mind set. Fear nothing.
- Commitment- I remember taking a page out of Larry Bird’s book when I was in high school and I would take 500 jump shots per day. I did this for 2 years. The results were phenomenal and then I fell in love with weight lifting. Great athletes are committed to being great at their craft above all else. They are no different than someone like Steve Jobs that was obsessed with his craft. If you want to be great, you will lose balance much of the time, this is the price to pay. You can’t be half way pregnant. I am often in awe of how much great athletes need to sacrifice but at the same time I understand it because they are chasing a dream. Larry Bird used to show up 6 hours before game time to start shooting. Think about it.
- Coaching and Education- When you are coming up against a beast you don’t know, you need to arm yourself with education. In sport, this can be done through meticulous record keeping and a great coach or coaches. No great athlete ever got to be great without the help of a great coach. Great coaches have been there with other athletes before, they know what it takes. Learn and absorb as much as you can from great coaches. Become a sponge around them and become a sponge around athletes that have already done what you want to do. Don’t fall into the trap of the 99%ers, the people that have the chance to be around greatness but instead of learning, they just talk the whole time about what it is that they do great. Those athletes and people will never be great.
I have seen it in kindergartners and I have seen it in elite level athletes. It is what causes people to stay fat, poor, druggies and the list can go on. On the flip side, it can also the root cause behind many great triumphs and success against insurmountable odds.
The choice can be as simple as behaving in a classroom to winning the Mr. Olympia title like 8x time winner, Ronnie Coleman. I am speaking about commitment and consistency. “Once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment” (Cialdini, 2009). And with that being said, if I have spoken with you before, I have probably used you, but don’t worry too much, there was no harm meant. Ever since I started competing in bodybuilding and perhaps even earlier than that, I have had a peculiar habit of telling people I was going to do something that seemingly seemed out of reach for someone with average genetics like myself.
My idol, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a master at using this principle. He told his buddy’s when he was 15 years old that he was going to come to America and become the best bodybuilder in the world, go to Hollywood to act and then go into American politics. Of course, they all laughed at him because at the time, he couldn’t even speak English. But look at where he is now (scandal aside). How do you explain it?
“Once we have made up our minds about issues, stubborn consistency allows us a very appealing luxury: We don’t have to think hard about the issues anymore” (Cialdini). This is akin to using other people’s will power. Remember when I said I have used you before if you have ever read my site or spoken with me? This is how: I have stated to you what I was going to do and by when. I never knew the exact term for this until I became a learned man ☺, but by committing publicly to something, I had to become consistent with those words in all my actions. I have used yours and other people’s will power. This might sound like a selfish thing, but most people never use their own will power for anything, so I always figured, why not use theirs and save mine for something else? We all have a finite amount of will-power so for example, by stating to yourself only that you will bench 400 pounds or get down to 7% body fat or win such and such a contest, you will more than likely never reach those pinnacles. But the moment that you post those things to your blog or facebook or go shooting your mouth off to anyone and everyone that will listen, your commitment will cause you to be consistent with those actions. Your actions then become automatic to match with your commitment.
I have used this to:
• Get ‘lost cause’ students to become leaders in the school (to the amazement of the classroom teachers)
• Become a champion bodybuilder
• To help countless members at my gym reach their strength or performance goals that in some cases, they have been unable to reach in their previous 5, 10 or 15 years of trying (this is a top secret method that I will not tell you exactly how I implement, if I did, I’d have to kill you☺).
• To help myself on the rise to becoming the top strength coach in the world. And think about that, if I kept this desire to myself, I’d have no chance of reaching it.
• I’ve already committed to a bodybuilding show this year in addition to writing two books. Again, if these things were kept private, I’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of coming through.
Once you understand this concept, you can literally accomplish anything. And if you understand the concept, if you come across someone that somehow goes against this rule, you are dealing with a loser, plain and simple. Get as far as possible away from this person. The reason I say that is because commitment and consistency are two human psychological needs and for someone to go against this principle is like a jellyfish in the ocean, getting washed around with no purpose. I dare you, go ahead and apply this to your goals, watch what happens.