While traveling to New York recently, I observed a man giving a tour in Central Park. He was explaining the history of the park, the landmarks in the city, and how the only natural body of water in the city can be found in Harlem. While eavesdropping, I thought, “Wow. This is a guy who has truly found his calling. He’s doing what he absolutely loves!” You could hear it in his voice, his confidence in what he did.
While having dinner one evening, the sommelier was announcing his wine selection for my wife and me. His confidence was palpable, and you could tell just how much thought and expertise went into his selection process.
Adam Grant had this wonderful point in last week’s Worth Listening To recommendation:
“When we communicate, we have access to the sum total of all of our thoughts and everything we’ve ever said that we can remember. We forget that other people only have a snapshot. So, one of the questions I like to ask is, ‘if this is the only post that somebody saw of mine, would I be proud of it? Would it communicate who I am and who I aspire to be?’”
I only had one glimpse into each of these individual’s lives. And yet, they left an imprint of themselves in my brain. They stood out. Each of them had mastered their chosen skill.
What does it take to master a skill? Achieving proficiency can be attained by almost anyone. Many kids grow up playing football. Approximately 6.5% of high school footballers will play Division 1 football each year. Only 1.6% of them will then make it to the NFL. In one of this week’s episode recommendations, Brené Brown has this to say:
“‘You know what? I’m not here to prove to anyone that I already know the answers. I’m not here to prove to anyone that I got it right the first time I tried. I’m here to keep improving myself, and I want to know how good I can get.” I so admire that aspiration to achieve mastery.”
When we tune in to watch football on a Sunday, what we don’t see is the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours spent on the training field and in the gym.
Warren Buffett has a concept called the Internal and External Scorecards. A simple but brilliant question he asks is, “Would you rather be the world’s worst lover but known as the best? Or would rather be the world’s best lover but known as the worst?” The idea being, do we care more about our abilities or how we are perceived? And will the person who cares more about what others think of them be willing to put in the work necessary to be successful, versus the person who continually tries to better themself for the sake of themself?
We all aspire to be healthy. But I think it’s fair to say many of us do not enjoy the process of getting there. Progress is slow, results happen internally far faster than externally, and roadblocks are ever-present. But consider this: Ask any NFL player how they got there. What was their journey? Two commonalities will arise from each of them: Hard work and help.
This again, is why I love my job. Yes, you do have to do the hard work, but I get to help you do it.
And just like each player in the NFL, or the tour guide in Central Park, or the sommelier, or Brené Brown, or Adam Grant, the best part of mastering something is you are constantly learning and growing. Challenging yourself to be better and improve. This is what it means to be healthy. To push yourself to be healthier than you were before.
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