I remember playing video games with my friends when I was little. Back then my entire life revolved around video games, and because of the sheer number of hours I’d put into them I always ended up beating my friends.
To make things more fair I’d often handicap myself against them. When we played Fifa I’d go easy on them, and let them get a 3-0 lead going into half time. Or when we played Mario Kart I’d let them get a 30 second head start.
I had a huge ego as a kid, and even though we were only playing video games I couldn’t accept losing. As soon as my friends began to get cocky, and trash talk me I’d pause the game, look them in the eye, and say, “Time to get serious.”
9 Times out of 10 I’d then proceed to beat them 4-3 in Fifa, or hear them groan as I used a turbo and passed them on the final stretch of the last lap.
Of course, I’m not much of a gamer these days, but the memories have gotten me thinking. Where am I allowing myself to just coast by in my own life? I’m doing better than most people, but that’s meaningless to me.
When I used to play video games with my friends a close match either meant I was in a slump, or I was allowing myself to be brought down to their level. When you’ve invested thousands of hours more into your craft than your competition the results shouldn’t be even be close.
And yet, I’m just doing alright in life. I’ve read dozens of books over the past couple of years, and tens of thousands of blog posts. I’ve invested more time into knowledge acquisition than anyone I’ve ever met. Yet, my life is only marginally better than it was a couple years ago.
However, I’ve maintained a consistent dedication to developing the skill of juggling for over two years now. I’ve averaged about two hours of juggling practice 6-7 days per week for the last two years, and juggling is the one area of my life that’s completely different than it was two years ago. Why?
Because with the other areas of my life I’ve only been interested in improving them, but with juggling I decided to, “Get serious.” I made a firm commitment that as a juggler consistent progress was the only option, and nothing was going to stop me from becoming the very best I could be.
Looking back, that single decision is what caused me to make rapid progress over the last two years. It’s a hell of a mindset. When what you should do becomes what you must do, any obstacles in the way of your success become irrelevant. It’s inevitable that you’ll overcome them.
Starting today let’s take a look at our lives, and see where we’ve just been allowing ourselves to get by. Places we know could use improvement, but we’ve justified as being “Not that bad.”
No matter how great any of us may have been performing, human beings have a tendency to slip back into complacency, and rationalizations. Let’s take a moment, and realize that no matter what level we’ve been performing at there’s always room for improvement, and we certainly aren’t doing the best we could be.
Starting now let’s raise our standards, and stop putting up with our rationalizations of how our lives aren’t, “That bad.” We only get to do this once so we might as well do it right. “It’s time to get serious.”
Picture is of a clown juggler I drew in 2011.
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