How is what you’re doing today affecting what you want to become tomorrow?
It’s a question that deserves to be posed more often. Unfortunately, the question that replaces it is: will this thing I’m doing make me look awesome?
Every day, we have a fresh new twenty-four hours to work on our goals. Everyone gets the same amount of time, so the only thing left is a choice. Will I do the work that will push me towards achieving my long-term goals?
Furthermore, there is another important idea that is required to achieve your goals. Sure, it’s great that you’ve found the drive to take a little bit of time each day to take a couple of steps in the right direction, but is what you’re doing the best use of your time? Said differently, is what you’re doing directly applicable to performing at your highest level?
I think we can forget this truth at times, particularly when we are surrounded by others. Instead of trying to do the things that will give us the most application for our performance, we do things that look good, but don’t really help us.
Take a distance runner for example. She enjoys running long races that are around 30K or longer. Yet she’s at the track once a week with a group doing 400m repeats. Is that track workout directly applicable to her trail races? I’d argue it probably is not. Replacing that track session by a session of hill repeats may better suit her running goals. If she doesn’t do this, she may be spending extra time on a component of her running that may not even be applicable to her racing? And since the goal of competitive athletes usually revolves around being race-ready, she will probably be better suited to run other workouts.
It’s all a question of applicability. If what you’re doing doesn’t have some direct link or application to what you want to be able to do tomorrow, you may want to change what you’re doing. Think about it: you only get so many hours a week to train or work on enhancing your skills. Why would you ever waste that precious time doing things that aren’t going to get you to the level you want to be at?
It all comes back to the notion of doing the work that matters. It’s certainly not glamorous, but it’s what needs to be done. For the trail runner, hill workouts will have a greater applicability to long trail races than 400m repeats on the track. For the basketball player, static drills aren’t quite as applicable to a real basketball game compared to dynamic drills with defenders.
In order to do the work that will transform you to who you want to become in the least time as possible, you need to find the things that you can practice which will have the greatest carry-over to your performance. Usually, this means a return to the fundamentals. They’re usually the best skills you can practice in order to get better at your craft.
It’s good to remember that the ones who are helping themselves the most in their quest for mastery aren’t the ones who are trying to look the best. They’re just solely focused on improving themselves, others be damned.
If what you’re doing isn’t applicable to what you want to do, why are you still doing it? By being ruthless with how you spend your time, you can train in a way that has direct applications to how you want to perform.
Whether or not you’re a world-class expert, anyone can harness the power of training with applicability.