Published: November 30, 2018
Updated: March 22, 2021
November 30, 2018
I frequently work with Olympic athletes and regularly use them as excellent examples of what can be achieved when you develop a winning mindset.
What many people overlook when they see Olympic athletes receiving their medals is the hard work, grit, and determination that goes on behind the scenes.
Ask any Olympic medalist how they feel about getting up at the crack of dawn to train in the cold and in the dark or how much pain and sacrifice they have endured in order to reach their level of success. They will tell you that this is the part of their job that they don’t like but they knew it was what they had signed up for. If I was to ask them would they trade it for a different career they will say no, never. You see, contrary to popular belief, disliking or even hating some parts of your job does not mean you’ve picked the wrong one.
Even that ideal job we dream of having will have its downsides. If you really want to aim for a top career, you will need to accept there will still be parts of it you dislike or don’t enjoy. Just as an athlete must take grueling and often punishing training schedules to acquire the necessary fitness levels to win those medals. Just as a movie star must spend long hours of solitude learning scripts and endure long shoots in difficult locations away from home for months on end.
In his book Born for This, Chris Guillebeau talks about the Joy-Money-Flow model: “winning the career lottery,” he says, “happens at the intersection between work that you like to do, work that supports and sustains you financially, and work that you’re really good at.” In short, it’s possible to do a job you love and get paid for it, but inevitably you’ve got to put the effort in and sometimes that means doing things you really don’t want to do, don’t like and don’t enjoy.
The people who are the most successful are the people who stick to their goals, no matter how often they must do tasks and jobs that they dislike in order to get there. Such people understand that although we live in a society which is continually looking for the next best hack, the only way to derive success for the long term is to work at it. This means that there’s no one trick to get us to our goals, but rather a steely determination to get the job done.
Sacrifice is the key word here. Everything we do in our lives involves a sacrifice of some sort. Whether that be in our roles as parents, partners, friends or workers, life will regularly hand us restrictions and force us to decide or balance up our options. Yet, if we care enough and want it enough, we’ll be more successful by working through those tougher of times.
For the Olympic athlete, building resistance means pushing through the pain threshold to get the best training times. Whereas for those of us working, it means doing those tedious tasks that we may feel are below us and are often unrewarding. It’s all about persisting when faced with situations we really don’t like and seeing things through to completion rather than only applying ourselves to the tasks we like and enjoy.
Redesign your beliefs
So many people believe they can find that perfect job which will offer complete satisfaction at all times and that will neither feel like nor require hard work in return. Unfortunately, by developing this mindset, you are fooling yourself. Nothing, not even your dream job, can be pleasurable or uplifting all the time, and if you don’t believe and accept this you set yourself up to feel deluded and disappointed.
Instead, by redesigning your current life and working to make subtle changes, you can turn this mindset around and use it to your advantage. This is a vital and much needed technique for anyone when looking for a new job or wanting to maximize the enjoyment of your current job. Just as an athlete can’t win events without training, neither can a professional or entrepreneur succeed without doing tasks they dislike. Once you train your mind to accept this, you give yourself a much better mindset when facing those tasks you don’t like.
When you find yourself faced with tasks you hate or actively dislike the key to success is to do them first. All successful people share in common a trait of doing the things they don’t want to do first. They understand that getting the jobs that we hate done first makes us feel like a winner because we are immediately free from the dread of having to attend to them later rather than have them weigh heavily on our mind through the day. When you attend to unwanted tasks first you feel good about yourself all day because you are free to get on with doing what you enjoy and do best.
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