It’s not uncommon to see people wanting to get better, but failing to do so. I want to address a point which dramatically increases people’s chances to improve in anything and everything they want to get better at.
See, in every discipline, there’s a small percentage of people who are absolutely amazing; sometime’s there a single person who is overwhelmingly better than even the runner up. While there’s a lot to say about methods and techniques and aptitude they may have, there’s something that we can copy: we can start working on improving ourselves.
If one of every thousand people who do a particular activity, say, jog, acquire a certain level of awesomeness, like being able to run a marathon, versus none of the people who don’t have physical activity… then, while jogging doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to run a marathon, it’s orders of magnitude a better situation to be in than having no physical activity.
In other words: In order for your ticket to be drawn, you need to buy into the raffle.
Of course, it’s much better than that; while buying into these proverbial raffles you’re usually already winning: getting fitter, living healthier, working better, getting closer to your goals. The sooner you start, the faster you get there. And if you manage to start now, it means that you’ve managed to value your long term goal over short term comfort, which is something you will need to do time and again in order to become ever more awesome.
The Method – or one of them, anyway
Think about the first thing that comes to your mind that could get you closer to your goal. Start doing that unless you find something better to do.
Think about your goal. Imagine you’re already there. Now backtrack: what did you do to get there? It’s a good excercise to find better next steps.
Think about any kind of person with legendary performance in what you want to improve. Maybe you’ve read about their lives. Maybe you think “It’s too late”, or “It doesn’t apply”, because they somehow got a headstart. This advice still applies, because while you may not become them, you will become a version of yourself you will be happier with.
A little example:
When you think about a master martial artist, think about their method, their story, and think: if they’d been in your place, what could they have done? Maybe start doing just five push-ups every day, so that you can work all the way to Bruce Lee-style, two-fingered push-ups. Even if you never get there, you’re bound to wind up much better than you are right now.
Rethink your strategy every once in a while. Not for giving up, mind you, but to accelerate or maintain the rate of your improvement.
If you’re not getting any better, if your goals aren’t any closer – it’s healthy to take as objective a measure as possible of every performance indicator to find out about this – well, then, it may be time to change your approach radically. I suggest you only give up if your life is going to be better for quitting.
Start now. If you make mistakes, start correcting for them as soon as you take notice. Every little victory gets you closer to your goal, and recouping the little defeats that we inevitably accumulate helps you keep up the pace.