Let me paint you a picture. A picture that is a microcosm for the perpetual mediocrity that follows the majority everyday. Superficially, it’s just a symptom, albeit a minor one. Yet, anyone well versed in medicine or any other field, understands that major problems start small. Cancer starts with the smallest lump. Economies begin to crash when unqualified mortgages are handed out for the first time.
Mediocrity’s etiology is no different. Neither is a man born destined for greatness nor from birth relegated to the vast depths of mediocrity that consume the majority of humanity.
The greats are celebrated for a reason. They are distinguished. They are a different breed but the root of their success wasn’t given to them through genetics nor were they divinely handed the secret to success. They are not apart of the majority because they made the conscious, arduous decision to be different from their peers every single damn day of their lives.
What is the etiology of mediocrity you ask? What is the lump? There are several but I want to highlight one significant problem that every day sets the tone for metastasis, an opportunity for mediocrity to penetrate and eventually dominate the mind of the athlete.
Every athlete since the beginning of time has been told the importance of a hearty breakfast (the scientific qualifications of such a recommendation are not relevant here). And no, by hearty breakfast, I don’t mean the shit cereal that you were spoon fed in middle school.
Omelets. Potatoes. Fruit. Steaks. Fuel for your body. Fuel that will optimize systems in your body to facilitate you becoming the best athlete you can possibly be.
Yet what happens to most athletes from high school to the professional ranks?
6:25 a.m. Snooze.
6:47 a.m. Snooze.
7:01 a.m. Oh f*** I have to be in class in ten minutes. Let me grab a pop tart and a 100 calorie breakfast bar on the way out the door.
Eyewash. You want to perpetuate mediocrity? Keep hitting that goddamn snooze button. Hit it again and again and again and reinforce the fact you do not seek greatness. Keep programming yourself to believe that you are destined for the vast depths of mediocrity. Grab that pop tart, go to class, and be content with who and where you are.
Understand where I’m coming from. It’s not about the content of your breakfast. Some kids will have the purest intentions in the world but they just don’t know enough nutritionally to make good choices. That’s ok. Steaks don’t make you an all-American. Commitment does. Not just any commitment. A relentless pursuit of greatness.
The snooze button…it lacks commitment. It oozes of apathy. It is a manifestation of a conscious decision to choose the easy road.
It’s not fun to wake up a half hour earlier than everyone else just to cook yourself breakfast. But fun isn’t what breeds great.
Waking up early sucks. I get it. Get over it. You think walking into a gym and seeing max reps of 85% of your 1 RM back squat on your card is a pleasurable experience? Every cell in your body believes you can only get five but your whole team is crowded around your rack and they f****** expect you to get eight. You think that’s fun? To push yourself further physically and mentally than thought possible is not fun. It’s akin to torture. But it’s necessary if greatness is on your mind.
So where does that leave our athlete that rolls out of bed at 7:01? How does he fare when his team expects eight reps? What happens when it’s the fourth quarter and he’s mentally and physically exhausted?
He fails. When he’s expected to get eight reps, he gets three. He failed the moment he hit the snooze button. He failed the moment he acknowledged that he’d be better off with a good breakfast in the morning and slept through anyways. He fails because little moments, little symptoms, slowly start to pervade his life and fuel a lifestyle of mediocrity.
You see everything matters. There’s no on off switch when deciding to be great. You don’t decide one day that you want to be great and then the next you can slack. It doesn’t work that way. There are no snooze buttons. Waking up early is a given.
“When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breath, then you’ll be successful.” – Eric Thomas
When greatness, not mediocrity, pervades your every decision then we’re onto something. The etiology of greatness is not found in some profound revelation. It isn’t found in a book or from some performance guru. It’s forged between the ears. It’s forged every time you wake up pissed off for greatness. It grows every time your passion, not some goddamn alarm clock, wakes you up in the morning. It manifests itself when you team expects eight, your body thinks it can only get five, but you earn every inch of ten fucking grueling painful reps.
If you haven’t already, what’s stopping you from saying yes. Yes to overcoming every near impossible obstacle that stands between you and greatness. With all things in life, it starts with a choice, a commitment.
Will you say yes today or hit the snooze button and sleep on it some more? In the meantime, your legacy hangs in the balance.