Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. played a whopping 2,632 consecutive games. Achieved 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. And most notably redefined the short stop position.
Imagine that. Never having a sick day at work. Being called to play at the highest level at the most competitive environment in baseball, day after day.
How did he do that? Consistency.
“My greatest strength was being able to analyze and see my job. My greatest weakness was that I could take myself in all different directions. So I had to constantly focus what is relevant and what is not relevant.”
Cal Ripken Jr
There are moments when it’s easy to look forward and know what you want in life. Attend a conference. Listen to a talk. Everything’s clear, all you need to do is take action. You know the feeling. But sustaining the energy to achieve it, is something else entirely. Almost as soon as you go to work it feels hard. Sometimes before you’ve even taken the first step.
So how do you reach legendary status?
1. You need a vision
2. Get really okay with where you are
3. Remove all distractions
Then it becomes a simple matter of HOW.
Principle 1. Vision
Arnold Schwarzenegger gave an incredible talk on success. “You need a vision.” He shared that he grew up among small farms. His folks wanted him to stay in Austria. But that was their vision for him. Not his. “I didn’t want to be around farm houses and little buildings. I wanted to be in America.” Most people close to you have a vision for your life. But when you are clear on your vision, they may say no, hear “yes”. When they say that’s impossible. Hear, “That’s possible.” When they say “not yet.” Hear, “now.”
One day Arnold stumbled upon a magazine of Reg Park on the cover. Reg Park was a 3 time Mr. Universe and Arnold saw him on the big screen as Hercules. “I read that and I said to myself, this is the blueprint for my life. This is exactly what I want to do.” Arnold had a vision. “Do you know how great I felt when I knew where I was going,” he said.
It was just a question of “How do I do it.”
When people saw him in the gym they would ask. Why is it you are working out so hard? 5 hours a day. 6 hours a day. Arnold had a vision. “For me I am shooting for a goal. Every rep that I do gets me closer to accomplishing that goal.”
Principle 2. Satisfied with where you are
What stops people from achieving their vision? What make’s it hard to be consistent? They become unsatisfied with the journey. They become tired of where they are. And they make a change when they were on the right path.
Get really comfortable with your situation. Love who you are. Love where you are. Love the way you live. Love your friends. Love your family. Love your situation. I mean this. Change happens when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired. But there are times when we don’t need to change. When we need to persist.
Change happens when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired. But there are times when we don’t need to change. When we need to persist.
Pete Adeney retired at age 31. This is a true story. He started work as a computer engineer in his 20s. And got really comfortable with having less. He road his bicycle to work. Didn’t have a car or a payment. He lived in a small house. But was happy with his life. He was able to live on $25,000 per year. So he saved the majority of his income.
Meanwhile his friends were living on $120,000 a year. They drove nice cars, were purchasing bigger homes, and spending everything they made. When he retired at 31 they were broke.
He had a vision, to retire. And he could achieve that vision because he was satisfied with his quality of life. This may sound crazy but it’s the biggest secret that I know of. Being satisfied with where we are in life makes achieving where we are going possible.
Principle 3. Remove all distractions
Cal Ripken Jr had a vision of playing in the big leagues. A very humble guy, some days he felt he was playing beyond his ability. But then he would remember he put in the work and could do the drills and would ground himself.
But there’s a lot of noise that can try to knock you off your goal when you’re focused. Distractions come from left, right and centre. Cal spoke of how he would notice subtle changes in a game and could see an opposing team getting ready for retribution. Maybe they’d start throwing balls wide toward the batters. This could throw him off his game. Obviously you don’t want to get hit by the ball. Yet it was all mental. He’d watch other batters step up to bat completely ignorant to what was happening and then crush the ball. He wondered, “Didn’t they notice what was happening?”
“Sometimes being so much in the moment that you don’t see what’s going on around you. That’s a good thing. My battle all the time was to stop those other things from coming in that could take away from that concentration of that moment,” said Cal.
Removing distractions isn’t about doing one thing for the rest of your life. It’s about removing the noise that contradicts your vision. That your goal is worth it. That the world is good. That there is hope for your future. That you can play at this level.
Mike Ferry, world famous coach, shared that he stopped reading the news 40 years ago. He shared that he was walking home one night and about 40 cop cars were surrounding a neighbouring condo. His wife asked, “What’s happening.” He responded, “It doesn’t matter. As long as they are not after me… ;)”
His point is that distractions can take our mind away from what matters. Our vision.
After I heard this I turned off Apple News on my phone.
These 3 principles are foundational to achieving great accomplishments. But the key principle – the secret nobody talks about – is the second principle. The secret is that you’re already a success. And being satisfied with where you are on the journey is critical to sustaining it.
When you have a dream, a goal, or whatever you want to call it then you have a vision. There are times when that goal may feel out of reach. But it’s not. The only time it’s out of reach is the moment you stop making progress towards it.
Achieving a goal is much easier when you know where you are going. When you enjoy the journey. And when you are free of any mental distractions pulling you away from your destination.
So what is your vision? What are you grateful for? And what distractions will you remove?