You know the part in the movies where for a minute and a half they show a bunch of clips of the characters working, and then the job is done? If you have ever watched a sports movie, I know you know what I’m talking about. It’s the part where the main character is starting to train again after an injury, or they become really commited. It shows months of hard work in ninety seconds of the character doing push-ups and running and practicing and training in general, and by the end he or she is super fit and good at his or her sport.
I am always motivated by these parts of movies. The character worked hard and spent hours training and in the end he or she is transformed. But these parts are partial truths. You do have to give it all you have to become the best, and if you work really, really hard then you can end up transformed. But what is skipped is the pain and the sacrifice. My coach always tells my team, “You have to torture yourself to become a legend.” He’s right. To be the best at your sport, or anything, actually, you have to push yourself harder than you think you are capable of going. You have to want the result so bad that the momentary (or sometimes not so momentary) pain can be pushed to the back of your mind. You have to realize that every time you think “I can’t take another step” you need to take five more because that’s the difference between just missing the chance and making it big, whatever “big” may be in your case.
The other untold side of the story is the sacrifice made to be the best. The early morning alarms and missed social gatherings, the time spent practicing. It is a huge commitment, and the commitment has to be made to yourself. You can try to reach your goal for somebody else, but you can’t make it unless you want it. You are the one who has to get up a five thirty in the morning and you are the one who has to say, “I can’t make it to the beach today, I’m training”, and most of all you are the one who has to push yourself when you work. You have to be determined enough to give some stuff up. There is always a price, and more often than not it’s paid in a non material form, like time, rather than money.
The reason the entire development of the character’s skills is compacted into a minute and a half of clips in movies is pretty obvious: nobody wants to watch or act out the real months or years of work it takes to get from amateur to pro; hardly anyone even wants to do the work. But anyone who has put in those hours will tell you that that is where the real story is. That was their home away from home and that was their life for that time; nothing else mattered as much as that work did. That is where they learned and fell and got back up, and that is essentially what they are made of now: all those months and years spent training.
So remember, next time you watch a sports movie or another with the one and a half minute work session, that it is not that easy. You have to do more than want it to go big, you have to be willing to torture yourself and make sacrifices and you have to spend a lot more time than ninety seconds to be the best. If you don’t make it in the end, you will know you gave it everything you had. But if you do make it to your dream, you will know that every step was worth it.