“In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” – Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame baseball player and manager (1954-1956, player; 1976-1996, manager)
There is a lot to be said for committing the time and energy it takes to be an athlete. Many people grow up engaging in athletics at various levels. Whether or not they reach the highest levels of athletic competition is irrelevant because there are essential life lessons to be gained from participating in athletics.
While there is a multitude of arenas one can acquire important life lessons, athletics serve to challenge the physical and mental psyche of its participants. This doesn’t infer that only athletes understand physical and mental obstacles, but that athletes have the unique test of overseeing both, often simultaneously, and amidst other teammates and competitors.
Athletes undergo a lot of strenuous demands on the mind and body. This level of stress, assuming it is healthy, aids to benefit the athlete in other areas outside the sphere of competition. Essentially, what an athlete acquires in terms of knowledge, skills, and abilities coupled with what is amassed intangibly, arms the individual with “life” qualities that have the potential of contributing to enduring success in any field.Advertising
It’s important to remember that this list isn’t an attempt to generalize all athletes. It is merely a personal belief that athletics have a very positive effect on participants who take full advantage of them.
1. Athletes are disciplined and have strong work ethics.
Unless a particular athlete is blessed with raw, athleticism and talent, which equates to complete domination over the competition, athletes have to dedicate themselves to honing their crafts. It is also noteworthy that many of the greatest athletes possess immense natural ability which is complemented by an intense work ethic. And as the motivational quote states, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Employers desire employees who are disciplined and know what it takes to work hard. Athletes possess both of these necessary qualities or they probably wouldn’t have become athletes in the first place.
2. Athletes know what it means to fail, persevere, and overcome adversity.
Anyone who participates in athletics will at some point encounter obstacles. Athletics are a great metaphor for life. There are ebbs and flows to an athlete’s performances and experiences on the field or court. This is similar to life.Advertising
An athlete will fail at one time or another during the scope of competition. At this point the athlete has only two options: give up or persevere. Most athletes will choose to work through and conquer the impediments before them so they can achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Athletics offer a unique opportunity for athletes to learn how to fail gracefully and persist patiently.
3. Athletes are goal-oriented.
While many athletes are involved in their sports simply for the “love of the sport,” there is often something else that motivates and inspires them. Athletes excel at setting goals, pursuing those goals through training and nutrition mediums, and eventually accomplishing their objectives. This skill is very useful in the workforce where setting goals is critical for any successful business.
4. Athletes usually know how to work as a member of a team.
I write usually here because not all athletes are involved in team sports. While the majority of athletes participate as members of a team there are some who perform sports that are individual in nature.
Given the large proportion of athletes who are involved in team sports it would behoove any employer who seeks willing and effective “team players” to hire athletes. Teamwork and learning how to be a competent teammate are ingrained into athletes’ psyches from the time they first engage in athletics.Advertising
5. Athletes know how to lead.
At some point during athletic competition an athlete has to be a leader. Whether this is vocally or through action, athletes acquire the necessary skills to lead.
Leading doesn’t merely occur during the heat of competitions; athletes lead by the way they train and take care of their bodies; they lead by the way they treat their teammates and coaches; and perhaps most importantly they lead by the way they represent themselves, their team, and their sports on and off the arena.
Not all athletes are charismatic or even desirable leaders, but somewhere inside they have acquired the capabilities to lead. Working with other people on a daily basis in pursuit of a common goal forces you to learn how to lead. In the end it is a matter of whether or not they are willing to use those abilities to the fullest.
6. Athletes know how to accept criticism.
At one point or another any athlete will receive criticism, constructive or otherwise, from a coach. If an athlete is unwilling to accept this criticism, than he or she is probably not going to last long in athletics.Advertising
Just like athletes learns how to accept failures and work through them, they must also learn how to accept criticism. Realizing that their coaches are looking out for their best interests makes accepting criticism more manageable.
Employers want employees who aren’t going to shut down every instance they are criticized. Athletes are often “thick-skinned” and able to handle critiques more fluidly.
7. Athletes know how to learn a new skill and utilize it.
One of the most important components of being a competent employee is the ability to learn a new skill and utilize it. All athletes must undergo some kind of skill development in order to sustain their athletic performances.
Athletes strive strenuously to hone their skills in order to make themselves the most complete asset for their specific sport. Equipped with voracious work ethics, and the desire to master their skills, many athletes ultimately breed themselves for success on and off the playing field. And many of the skills athletes whet will pale in comparison to the skills they learn in the workforce.
Featured photo credit: Kemba Walker via cdn-jpg.si.com
Last Updated on July 10, 2020
The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness
Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.
Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.
The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.
Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.
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Program Your Own Algorithms
Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.
Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.
By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.
How to Form a Ritual
I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.
Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:
- Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
- Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
- Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
- Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.
Ways to Use a Ritual
Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:
1. Waking Up
Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.
2. Web Usage
How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.
How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.
Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.
One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.
6. Going to the gym
If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.
Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.
Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.
8. Weekly Reviews
The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.
We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.
More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination
- What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)
- How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
- 5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them)
Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com