By Coach Warren
I don’t do the most, but I do a lot.
This is the opening line from the song “Coming In Hot” by Christian rap artists Lecrae and Andy Mineo. At face value, this line may sound like a simple statement, but if you think about it a little bit deeper, it can be words to truly live by!
Let me explain.
Although I feel truly blessed and have accomplished a great deal in my life, I still find myself sometimes focused on what other people are doing that I am not doing or things they are doing better than me.
In our fast-paced, success & results driven society, it’s often looked upon poorly if you are not “doing the most” or not “doing a lot” compared to the person to your left or to your right, or, in most cases nowadays, the people you see in your IG and FB stories.
I recently stumbled upon the term “captivity of comparison” which is what can happen when we get stuck comparing ourselves to other people in our lives, at work, on social media, and even at the gym. And doing that, especially for any significant period of time, can be one of our worst enemies in life and, honestly, is just so tiring!
- Why don’t I make as much money as him?
- That person travels to so many awesome places, how can I afford or even have time to do that?
- My house is too small. I want one like hers!
- He is so much stronger or fitter than me. How do I get on that level?
- She is such a better mom than me. I will never be as good of a mom as her!
- Man that guy is so awesome and everybody loves him! I hope I can be like him one day!
And this is the root of the problem I think. So much of what we consider to be successful is rooted in superficial things that aren’t really that important in the grand scheme and will never last once our life in this world is over – like money (and all the things you can buy with it), fame & personal accolades, and praise and recognition from other people. And the big problem with all of those things is that once we get a small taste we become addicted and find ourselves wanting more and more of it. We crave it. I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with wanting to making money or achieve a little bit of fame.
But here is the problem with all of that. Once we make those things THE focus of our lives, no matter how much money we make or how much fame & recognition we receive, it will never be enough and we will crave more and more of it, and use the people to our left & our right, and our IG & FB stories as the barometers for our success. Then once we surpass THOSE people, we will then find new people to compare ourselves against and want to surpass them! Thus beginning this never ending cycle of the captivity of comparison and expectations that, at some point, we will not be able to meet. Then at that point, we will consider ourselves failures!
What if instead, we stopped focusing so much on the end results (i.e., the money & the fame) and focused more on the process itself. For any of you out there that follow the NBA closely, you know that the Philadelphia Sixers for a few years called themselves “The Process”. A super smart play by the franchise management because they knew they were not close to being a championship caliber team. Instead, they wanted their fan base and team to know that they were, for the time being, focusing on building the franchise with the hopes of getting there one day soon. By doing this, it bought them some time to put the right pieces in place, and to do it on their own terms and their own timeline – no one else’s. Then, when the time was right, they would simply declare that the process was over and that they were ready! And by simply doing that, any expectations of a championship went away temporarily, but more importantly any comparisons with the other teams in the league that were already there winning would also go away for the time being. As a result, they would not have the added pressure, in an already pressure filled league, of being compared by the media and the fans, but more importantly, by themselves, to the top notch teams in the league temporarily.
And notice how I use the words “temporarily” and “for the time being”. Because they knew that this didn’t mean that they could just stop working completely. If anything it meant that they would need to work a lot and work hard, to one day fulfill the delayed expectations of the franchise in process. So, how does this relate to you? Well, I think there are 3 main points that you can derive from the example above.
1. There is no shortcut when it comes to anything that is worth waiting or working for.
I think when it comes to many things in life we want results faster than they come. I mean, it’s almost become the norm nowadays with all the new technology that caters to our need for instant gratification. For example, with the advent of Netflix and other new streaming options, we no longer have to wait week after week to watch the entire season of a series. We can binge watch an entire season in as short as one night! The same thing is true for food. If we are hungry and too lazy to cook or even leave the comfort of our own homes, there are numerous food delivery services that will deliver food, groceries and even alcohol straight to our doorstep!
However, the problem with this mentality is that anything that is ever really worth waiting for or working towards, doesn’t operate that way. If you want to get stronger or more fit, it requires countless hours in the gym and proper nutrition. If you want to build a successful business, it requires a great deal of self-sacrifice, time, and money (this last one is debatable). If you want to be a great father or mother, it requires spending quality time with your kids and making countless sacrifices to be there when they need you most. I think you know what I’m getting at here. There really are no shortcuts or magic pills when it comes to things that matter most; just good old-fashioned hard work and time.
2. No one will ever see or know about a majority of what you do.
With the Sixers organization, or any major organization for that matter, I’m sure there is a lot that goes on behind closed doors that no one outside of the organization ever sees – all the research and planning that goes into scouting players & potential draft picks, the countless hours of practices & individual preparation that each player & the team puts in, and all the other successes and failures that we as the general public will never hear about. However, even though we may never hear about it in the news, every little thing that happens behind closed doors is just as important to the story, if not more important, as what is publicized.
For anything that is super important to you, how much work do you put into it: perfecting your craft, building your business, becoming more fit, or fostering your relationships? In most cases, what I have found to be true is that the most successful people (and I’m not just talking about from a monetary standpoint) put in countless hours of work that no one else will ever see. That is because they don’t do it for the fame or the recognition. They do it because their drive to be successful or make an impact is greater than their need to be recognized. Let me repeat that. Their drive to be successful or make an impact is greater than their need to be recognized. Any recognition is just an affirmation of the countless hours of work, blood, sweat and tears! If anything, many of the most successful and impactful people in the world shy away from the fame & recognition!
3. The only opinion that matters is our own.
In the end, if the Sixers do not end up winning an NBA championship, the media and the fans will probably call “The Process” a failure and crucify the owners, management, coaches and team. However, if they truly did what they thought was right and best for the franchise at the time and worked hard towards it, all they can really do is pick up the pieces, learn from their experiences and move on.
Listen, there is definitely nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, but if we fail, how we react makes a huge difference. Because we will all fail at some point in our lives. It’s unavoidable, and I guarantee that when we do, there will be a bunch of people letting us know that we did and telling us exactly what we did wrong. Coupled with the fact that many of us do take other people’s opinions to heart and that we tend to be our own worst critics, failure can affect us in a negatively huge way!
However, in the end, the only opinion that truly matters is our own. If you fail, you have to be okay with looking yourself in the mirror knowing that you did your best, but you also have to be honest with yourself when you do. Did you really try your best? Were there things you could have done better? Did you give up too easily? Did you let other people’s opinions drive your direction too much? Because in the end, when you do fail, it will be no one else’s job to pick you up off the floor but your own.
I don’t do the most, but I do a lot.
As I said in the beginning, these words are simple, but they truly are words to live by. Because, if you recognize that anything truly worth waiting or working for has no short cuts, you know that all you need to do is put your head down and simply do the work that a majority of people will never see or know about. Why? Because you know that it doesn’t really matter if you are “doing the most”, just that you are “doing a lot” and doing your best. And if that’s true and you’ve done all that you can do, the only opinion that should matter is your own (and for those of who believe – God’s too).
Keep working everyone.
God Bless You and stay #TribeStrong,