How To Be The Best: One Thing You Can Do Today
How to be the Best: One Thing You Can Do Today was originally published in Entrepreneurs Handbook.
Michael Jordan is not the world’s best chess player. Michael Jordan has never won a Michelin star. Michael Jordan has never won a Grammy or reached the NYT best-seller list. Michael Jordan was good at one thing — basketball.
We can’t do everything. We can’t say yes and work on 12 different projects at once. We can’t go on vacation for 4 weeks and take our business to the next level. We can’t be the most social person in town and also finish our next novel.
We have to focus.
Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University became interested in peak performance at a very early age. In 1993, Ericsson published a paper in which he and his colleagues studied 40 violinists at the Berlin Academy of Music. The goal was to determine what factors separated the musicians who reached the top of their field from those who remained mediocre. His conclusion — consistent, deliberate practice over a long period of time.
The idea became popular when Malcolm Gladwell used Ericsson’s findings as the basis for his “10,000-hour rule” written about for the first time in Gladwell’s book, “Outliers.” But the truth is that it takes more than just time. Ericsson determined that there were four factors that constituted ‘deliberate practice’:
(1) Being goal-oriented
(2) Staying focused
(3) Seeking feedback
These findings meant that success took much more than just time and practice. It meant that within this practice, a person would have to choose small goals and achieve them, stay focused and eliminate distractions. It meant that a person would need to seek feedback from teachers and stretch beyond their comfort zone.
“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” -Chinese proverb
From 2014 to 2016, I wrote and published 6 books and some of them did really well. But when I first moved to New York to become a writer, I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I had many things going on. I was in a band. I was running a music publishing business. I was spread far too thin. And I realized instead of doing one thing well, I was doing many different things poorly. All I wanted to do was write books. And because of that goal, I had to give up one of the most important things in my life: playing music.
When I decided to focus and let other passions go, my writing career took off. And today, I believe this concept can be applied to anything. When we take away distractions, we succeed in the areas that matter most. So what do you spend your time on? Do you want to be at your current job for the next 10 years? If not, what can you spend your time on that will take you in a different direction?
The things we focus on are the things that will grow. We only have so much energy and mental capacity. To make the best of this life we’ve been given, we have to let some things go.
We can’t be good at everything.
Here are some things you can let go off today that will free up more time, energy and passion to allow you to accomplish your dreams.
Free up your time.
Do your best to lighten up on consuming content that doesn’t align with your goals (this can mean reading the news, scrolling through Facebook, reading bad Buzzfeed articles, Podcasts that don’t improve your life, etc. — delete them).
Free up your energy.
From negative friends (ignore those phone calls, decline the invite, move on) to bad foods (anything that makes your body feel tired ) - let go of what drains you.
“People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing. And it’s totally true. And the reason is because…it’s really hard. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it…you’re gonna give up. And that’s what happens to most people.” -Steve Jobs
Free up your passion and love.
Let go of chasing after a bunch of big goals at the same time.
What is that one big goal for you?
Only you can know this answer. It won’t be easy. If you’re anything like me, you’re very passionate about everything you do. Your job. Your business. Your music. And it can be very painful to close the book on a chapter of your life.
We can’t be good at everything.
You may be awkward at cocktail parties. You may be a terrible dancer and forget all your lines in a play. But like Michael Jordan, if you give all your energy to something and practice every minute possible, you can be the best in the world at whatever you choose.