We have become so accustomed to instant gratification and quick hits of dopamine, that it is difficult to imagine having to work hard in order to achieve results. Pressing a button, scrolling through endless feeds, video games, access to unlimited entertainment right at our fingertips…how can we not expect to be programmed for instantaneous results. There are a few spheres of life that still require years of hard work and dedication in order to achieve mastery. One of those spheres, for the time being (until there is a way to program the brain without physical activity/exertion/old school programming), is athletics.
I try not to laugh when I tell my players that it will take them years to gain elite level strength or master a skillset. The blank stares of disbelief are too comical not to enjoy. They tend to snap out of it within a few seconds, and almost shake their heads in order to nullify the statement. They try to convince themselves that, like anything else, they will find a short-cut or a way to bypass the necessary effort. They just can’t fathom weeks, months, let alone years of trial and error, failure and defeat, and endless hours of practice before achieving a goal.
The mentality relating to sowing seeds and cultivating them with hard work (reap what you sow) is no longer relevant. Nobody farms anymore. Plowing, planting, watering, grooming, and finally harvesting the reward for all of my efforts? Nah, fuck that…I’m gonna click this button and get whatever I want. When you couple the influence of instant gratification with the self-esteem/everyone gets a trophy movement, the disconnect becomes severe. People are now so used to being handed things, that when they aren’t given grades, playing time, raises, bonuses or the reward they expected, they are actually offended.
I’m not getting what I want just because I want it? I’m here. I’m breathing. I’m alive…why aren’t I getting what I want? Well, your work wasn’t good enough. You didn’t practice hard enough. You didn’t spend enough time on it. You didn’t want it badly enough. Someone else is outworking/outperforming you…Pish posh. Bullshit. Look, man. I’ve been getting whatever I want, just because, my whole life. That’s how this works. I show up like everyone else and don’t do anything out of the ordinary, but I should be getting rewards and results that make me feel special.
The mentality is actually sickening. No accountability. No personal responsibility. No long-term thinking. No goal setting. No competitive mindset. No hard work…I’m here, so give me what I want. It’s me. Me. Isn’t that enough? Why would I have to do anything but be me? It’s okay for fun and equality to be emphasized to very young children in their first few years of athletics…I suppose. But that’s not how life works.
Life is a competition…for the gnat, the fish, the bird, the bear, and the human. We don’t bypass that biological necessity of the struggle for resources, space, and the ability to reproduce. Whether people realize it or not, or are purely convinced otherwise, they are in competition with their peers from the moment they leave the womb, until they are dead and buried. It’s a race. Hate to break it to you. Those who get ahead, typically stay ahead. Just ask anyone in the top 1% of their field of interest. Ask them how much time, energy, and effort it took to get there. The good news is that in this day and age, a little work goes a long way because I can assure you that most people are doing the absolute bare minimum. Work hard, surpass your peers, and reap the rewards. They’re ripe for the picking…just reach out and grab them. That’s all you need to do.