October 21, 2009

World's Greatest Athlete

I used to dream of being the "world's greatest athlete". When I dreamed, I pictured myself as a "6 foot, 4 inch, hunk of herculean steel carved into rippling muscles". What a picture I had in my mind!

I went on to be a decent athlete getting football scholarship offers to several schools. But I never came close to being the "world's greatest athlete".

I recently had dinner with the REAL "world's greatest athlete". Bryan Clay won the silver at the 2004 Olympics and the GOLD at the 2008 Olympics in the decathlon! As I met Bryan and spent the evening with him I kept thinking...he's not the picture I had in my mind.

Don't misunderstand. Bryan is sinewy, lithe, and toned. He is good looking and genuinely nice. But he is not even 6 feet tall. His muscles don't ripple largely under his clothes. I would never have looked at Bryan in a mall and said, "Hey, he might be an incredible athlete".He's not what I imagined, he's more ordinary looking than I thought.

My POINT? Amazing people are often disguised in ordinary packages. You look in the mirror and think I don' t look like a Greek God, I could never be amazing. But the truth is if you have VISION, DETERMINATION, and hours of DISCIPLINE then you could could be amazing at about anything you put your mind to. (Bryan trains about 8 hours a day).

There is a 20,000 hour principle. Take one thing, focus on it, get great coaching about, have a little natural aptitude for it, and then spend 20,000 hours on it and you will be better than 99.99% of the world in it.

That's 40 hours of practice 50 weeks a year for 10 years. If you can only practice 20 hours a week it will take you 20 years. That's just 3 hours a day. If you are 30 now, you can be one of the best in the world by the age of 50. The best lawyer, author, preacher, piano player, artist, real estate agent...whatever!

Don't let your preconceived ideas about what greatness is, stop you from being great! You can do it!
But on the flip side, you must ask if that is what God wants for you. Usually God wants you to live a BALANCED life rather than a "world record" life. By the way...Bryan is a good dad too.