This is a re-post of a 4 series blog that I started at Rejuv Medical Southwest that I wanted to finish, so I am posting the original here to give people the whole series.
By: Matt York
I was going back through some of the books on my shelf from when I was playing sport in college (I do this from time to time when I’m looking for ways to inspire my athletes and clients). I always liked to make notes in the margins while reading books so that someday I could easily flip through to my favorite sections of each. While scanning the margins for material, I came across one of my favorite all time mental toughness training books. In Gary Mack’s book, Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence, Mack discusses the 4 D’s to success. This particular section of the book had an incredible amount of influence on how I prepared to play baseball, but also on how I lift weights, how I perform my job and how I achieve personal goals. The 4 D’s to success are Desire, Dedication, Determination and Discipline. If you have a fitness goal of losing 50 pounds, getting your first muscle up, lowering your 5k time, adding 20 kilos to your snatch, or a life/career goal such as getting the career of your dreams, or making it to every one of your kid’s Little League games this season, the 4 D’s will help you reach your goal. Here is my interpretation of the 4 D’s to success and how they have changed my life, most of the time without me realizing it.
DESIRE: Desire is a prerequisite to success. You will not succeed if you do not have a deeply burning desire to achieve your goal. Here are the questions I ask myself when I want to know if I have a truly burning desire to achieve my goal: Do I go to bed every night thinking about my goal? Do I dream (night and day) about my goal? How high up is my goal in order of important things in my life? I know that if my goal is not number 1 or maybe 2 on my list of important goals, then I’m going to give half an effort at best in the pursuit of that goal, leaving that goal unachieved or half achieved until it is in the top 2.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from Steve Seibold that shows the amount of desire that champions have in pursuit of their goals, “Champions are famous for concentrating their energy and efforts on what they want and blocking out anything or anyone who threatens that focus. While average people haphazardly pursue loosely defined goals, champions concentrate on the attainment of a singular purpose with an intensity that borders on obsession. World-class performers invest an inordinate amount of time and energy in selecting their major goals. While the masses consider making changes every New Year’s Eve, the goal setting and planning process is an everyday habit of champions. When the goals are set, champions put mental blinders on and move forward with dogged persistence and ferocious tenacity. World-class performers create such an intense level of concentration to overcome challenges and achieve goals that it is the last thing they think about before they fall asleep, and the first thing that hits them when they wake up. The great ones dream about their goals so frequently that they often keep pen and paper on the nightstand so they can quickly record any ideas or solutions that come to them in the middle of the night. While average people see world-class performers’ successes as a matter of intelligence or luck, champions know sustained concentration of thought and action is usually the true key to their success.”
Can you think of the last time you wanted something that bad? I can. When I look back I remember wanting to play Division 1 baseball, because I knew that playing college baseball would open doors for me as an athlete, but also educationally and professionally. I think that a lot of people thought that I was a naturally gifted baseball player because they saw me perform well, but what they didn’t see were the hours I spent practicing. I practiced more than anyone else I knew and those hours were focused. When my friends wanted to go out on the weekends, I remember asking my dad to take me to the field to hit me ground balls and to throw batting practice to me. I remember throwing tennis balls against the wall of our house (inside the house which drove my Mom nuts), just to get some extra reps in. My room had weights in it and I would train to gain muscle so I could hit and throw harder. You see I was the smallest guy on every baseball team I had been on. In my freshman year of high school I weighed 112 pounds soaking wet. I knew I had to get bigger and stronger if I wanted to play at the next level. By senior year in high school I weighed 170 pounds and could hit for power.
When I was in junior college I remember running late at night. I remember running 10 miles around midnight one time after a full day of Saturday practices, because I thought the extra work would help my performance. Looking back on the late night runs, I would have been better off doing a few sprints and calling it a night performance wise, but I didn’t know any better back then. What I have learned looking back at those long distance runs is that the desire to be great and putting in the hard work is more important than having a perfect performance plan. Don’t get me wrong, a plan is extrememly important and we will discuss that with the other D’s, but you can’t have success without having the deep burning desire first. Everything else is just noise.
I’m telling you right now that if you have a goal and even it’s a lofty goal, that I believe it can be achieved. It’s as simple as that. However, if you don’t have the desire to put other things aside in order for you to attain that goal then stop worrying about it. It won’t happen! Your goal has to be so important to you that you are willing to put other “normal” life things on hold so that you may pursue and attain your goal. I’m not talking about a goal of losing 3 pounds or adding 5 pounds to your squat or improving your sales numbers by 2% this year. I’m talking about big goals like losing 100 pounds or competing in CrossFit Regionals 2015 or opening your own business and making it successful. If these are your goals then you need to have an unwavering desire to achieve them. If you have this desire, look for my next post on the 2nd D to succeed: DEDICATION.