I’m not yet the best in the world in anything but there’s one thing I know: to be the best in the world, you must become a good fighter. You need to know how to fight a good fight. This determines how far you will go and how much you will achieve.
Here are some lessons I learned on how to do that:
1. Have a cause
To be a good fighter, you need a strong source of motivation from within. If you don’t, it’s easy to get discouraged in the face of difficulties and challenges. External motivation like money or fame is not enough. Your source of motivation should be something you believe in. It should be something that makes a difference and gives meaning to your life. Whenever you are tired or discouraged, you can go back to your cause and get your motivation renewed.
2. Choose the right fight
Good fighters do not fight the wrong fights. They save their time by fighting only the right fights. Your cause is the guide that helps you choose the right fight for you.
3. Have clear goals
A cause is something that drives you from within and gives you the power to move forward. But you also need concrete goals in front of you. Just imagine a runner in a competition. He may have a cause that put him there. Perhaps he wants to contribute something to his country. Perhaps he wants to become an inspiration to others by being someone who can overcome difficult challenges. But he still needs a clear finish line in each race. Similarly, you should have clear, specific goals in front of you to reach for.
4. Keep your cause in your mind
In your race toward being the best, it’s important to always remind yourself of your cause. Otherwise it’s easy to get distracted along the way. For that purpose, it’s helpful to have a one-liner to help you remember your cause easily.
5. Have the discipline of winning athletes
Athletes who want to win gold in Olympics can’t just live the way they like. No, they need to train hard and control themselves strictly. Similarly, if you want to win, you need to have the discipline of winning athletes. You must train hard whether you like it or not. You must improve yourself regardless of your mood.
6. Aim to break your own records
Training prepares you for the race but nothing can replace being in the real race. Once you are in the race, you must fight hard. Be the best that you can be. Aim to break your own records. While it’s tempting to compare yourself with others, the one you need to beat is yourself.
7. Be smart
A good fighter doesn’t just fight blindly. Instead, he always watches the situation and tries to get the most out of it. He always looks for smarter ways to do things.
One important part of being smart is finding leverages. Find ways to use what you already have to propel yourself forward. Build upon what you have built. It will make you grow faster and faster over time.
8. Focus on what you can control
There are many things that won’t go as expected along your journey. In such cases, it’s important to direct your focus to the right things. Don’t focus on what you can’t control. Instead, focus on what you can control. Here is a simple question to help you:
Is there anything I can do about it?
If the answer is no, then forget about it and move on. Having this attitude will save your mental energy from unnecessary leaks.
9. Keep your life balanced
Maintaining your life balance is important to be able to fight in the long term. Being the best in the world is a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to be able to fight for long time. If your life is not balanced, sooner or later you won’t be able to fight anymore. Maintain the balance between your career and other aspects of your life. Maintain the balance between your work and rest. Be focused but not obsessed.
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