There’s a question I ask myself over and over again: “How do you become outstanding?” I ask myself that question about a lot of different topics. For the most part though, I ask myself that question with respect to physical training – martial arts, CrossFit and Kettlebells.
I firmly believe that the right behaviors repeated over time will produce consistent, predictable results. So, for me, the key to “How do you become outstanding?” is to repeat the right behaviors over and over again.
But, what are the “right behaviors?”
This is where the question really is. Obviously, if you do the “right” things over and over you’ll get your result. It’s knowing what those right things are – or figuring out what they are before you run out of time. (“Before you run out of time” can mean many things and will mean different things to different people. It can mean getting too old, running out of money, losing interest in a goal, missing an important peak in the history of the pursuit, etc.)
The time thing is something I continually grapple with. An interesting side note here is that, in looking back at skills and goals I’ve pursed in the past, I can say one thing without reservation. If I had stayed with some of the things I started out at early in life – no matter how poorly I felt I did them at the time – I would have been absolutely outstanding at them now.
This tells me that one thing you need to do to become outstanding at something is to keep doing it and keep learning no matter how bad you think you are or how long you feel it’s taking.
I think – particularly in myself – there’s a “distorted perception” that happens when you want to become really good at something. You sort of lose site of the progress you’re making because you’re so focused on the weaknesses you’re trying to overcome. Progress seems so painfully slow. But, again, even if you make painfully slow progress that progress will add up to great skill eventually.
This brings me to a great concept and a great book I read recently: “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. Jeff’s Slight Edge concept is the “little bits of progress added up over and over” idea defined and built up in awesome detail.
Another illustration of this comes from Stuart McRobert’s classic, Brawn. McRobert espouses over and over in all his writing that little bits of progress repeated over and over again add up to BIG gains. The classic example is the idea of adding just one pound to the bar on your bench press once a week. Not too impressive. BUT, add up those one pound gains over an entire year of consistent training and you’ll have added 50 pounds to your bench press!
By the way, below is a pic of my small discs for loading a barbell with VERY SMALL weight increases. They go as low as 1/16th of a pound! Pictured below are: 1lb, 0.75lb, 0.5lb, 0.25lb, 1/8th lb and 1/16th lb. With these you can literally go on for EVER making tiny gains in strength every workout – if your patience can stand it. And mine never could…
This is exactly what Jeff Olson talks about in “The Slight Edge.” Jeff explains how there are no “quantum leaps” in progress. Progress can LOOK like it came in a quantum leap but what you’re really seeing is the cumulative effect of all the little – sometimes imperceptible – bits of progress that have been made when they finally accumulate to get big enough to be seen.
I’m going to continue to explore this topic, but here’s one rule I believe is valid for becoming outstanding: Focus on making little bits of progress with consistency month after month and year after year.
Originally posted on my site: [http://deathbywallball.com/becoming-outstanding-kettlebells-crossfit-martial-arts]