Can I Develop the Dedication & Discipline of an Elite Athlete?
I used to be really critical and angry and jaded about football and how much the players make and, you know, the whole “these mf’s making millions out there playing and running around together while everyone else has to work for a living!” I don’t quite see it that way anymore. I realize that football (or any professional sport), at that level, requires extreme skill that I will never have and involves extreme risk that I would never be willing to take. Not only that, but these are people who have dedicated their entire lives to this one pursuit of mastering this one craft and now it has paid off. I do still think it’s kinda crazy and mind boggling that there is SO MUCH money tied up in professional sports in general. I think it’s kinda silly that fans get so wrapped up and involved and ultra-serious about “their” teams. That aspect is pretty intense to try to wrap my head around. But hey, nobody is forcing me to wrap my head around it.
I’ve realized in the last few years that instead of being bitter thinking other people have more than they deserve, why don’t I just focus on pursuing my goals, honing my crafts, and one day I could have more than I deserve. If you want to be successful, there’s no room for being bitter or jaded. Just find your lane, keep your head down, and fucking WORK!
I’m 25 years old. On one level, I feel like I’ve realized too many things too late. I beat myself up a lot about not having got my shit together sooner. Like, I just think... imagine if from the moment I realized what I wanted to do with my life I had buckled down and took it as seriously as future NFL players took their passions and goals. Where would I be right now if 12 year old Jake who would sit in his room writing sloppy raps, cheesy stories, and bad jokes would’ve had half he ambition, drive, and vision as all the 12 year olds at the time who are making millions in the NFL right now?! I didn’t even realize that was an option though... Really, honestly, I’ve only recently realized that making a living doing the things I love to do is even an achievable thing. For that matter, the idea of planning for the future or “making a living” is a pretty new fucking concept to me. I’ve never planned ahead, plotted out a future for myself.
“Get a job, work, and have dreams that’ll probably never come true.” When I was 18 I wanted to be a rap superstar. But I didn’t really think it could happen. I had no concept of what it would take. I had no real vision. I had no real drive, if I’m being honest with myself. When you’re 18 and into doing creative things but lazy and ambitionless, “I’m gonna be a famous rapper” is just something you can say. After a certain point though, all talk and no action leads to bitterness. I didn’t have a blueprint to follow. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do, for real... I just knew that I thought I was good at rapping. I didn’t even realize at the time that what that actually meant was I had a whole suite of skills - writing, speaking, joke-telling, story-telling, wordplay, coming up with interesting concepts and perspectives. I kinda used “I’m a rapper” as an excuse to pigeonhole myself and keep myself from really exploring all my interests and abilities out of fear of failure and the unknown.
But on the other hand... dude, I’m only twenty-fucking-five. I have my whole life ahead of me. Yeah, I’d be so much further along if I’d have figured shit out 13 years ago. Or even 5 years ago. But I didn’t. I’m figuring it out now. And now is the best time to start anything. It’s time to develop the dedication and discipline of an elite athlete. And become elite at being me.