The Path to Practiced Excellence

The Path to Practiced Excellence

“The most dazzling human achievements are in fact, the aggregate of countless elements, each of which, in a sense, ordinary.”
– Angela Duckworth

We underemphasize effort and overemphasize talent. 

I fall into the same trap; I get caught up idolizing where a person is and forget to value the path they took to achieve success. 

Excellence is not given; it’s earned – through hours of repetition with intentional effort

I apply my reps and sets framework to every area of my life: business, training, creating, relationships, etc. 

We all have the ability to design our own lives, but there are two skills we get to master:

  1. How to operate on a ten-year scale

  2. How to recognize that effort counts twice.

This article shares the principles I use to become a master in any craft.

Practicing Excellence

Frameworks I use to work towards my Ten Thousand Hours:

Operate on a 10-Year Scale

We all have heard of the 10,000-hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell coined in his book Outliers – the Story of Success, that “the key to achieving true expertise in any skill is simply a matter of practicing, albeit in the correct way, for at least 10,000 hours”

The most common application for this rule is with regards to a specific use case: ie it will take a pianist or an Olympic swimmer 10,000 hours of intentional practice to master their craft. 

But what happens when you zoom out and apply this rule to life as a whole? 

Define where you want to be in life ten years from now, not just in one facet of your life, but all of them. 

Ask yourself these questions as a starting point, but add in more that are specific to you. You know you better than anyone else.

  • What does your ideal life look like?

  • Where are you living?

  • What kind of work are you doing? How much are you working?

  • For what are you training? How much time are you spending on training?  

  • Do you have a family? Kids? How old are they? 

  • What do you need financially to be able to make all this happen?

*Use a pen and paper when you perform this exercise.  

The first step to achieving anything meaningful is articulating the vision. Then, remember that building anything meaningful takes time.

Defining Gr(it)

People throw around this idea that some people “have it” while others do not. But what is “it” and how does one define intangible skillsets, talent, or whatever else separates the highest achievers from average people? The Collins dictionary defines “having it” as the possession of the requisite abilities for something; to be talented, adept, or proficient. But talent alone only takes a person so far. How many people do you know that were ten times more talented than you but you surpassed by consistently showing up? 

Recently I read a book entitled Grit by Angela Duckworth that helped me define what “it” means. Having it means that you have grit; you understand the power of passion and perseverance for long-term goals. To build anything meaningful, whether it is a new skill, a business, or your dream life, you have to be willing to run consistently in one direction, leverage all the materials made available to you, learn from your failures, and never quit.

There Will Be Dark Days

Most days, I get to wake up and live my best day ever. But I did not get here overnight, nor by accident. It took years of intentional effort– I defined where I wanted to go and then worked to make my dream life a reality. 

Not every day then, nor is every day now easy. There is one thought that continually runs through my head, the idea that  “there will be dark days.”  

This is a large part of the reason I train. The more you place yourself in stressful situations, the more adept you become at handling pressure. This is true with the ice barrel. This is true with hard training. This is true with business. This is even true with relationships. 

Throw away the idea that every day is going to be perfect; it’s not. 

Here is my recommendation for dealing with dark days:

  • Recognize that anything worth having takes effort

  • Recall that all hard things will eventually end

  • Remember, the most challenging days and the largest failures always make the best stories

  • Repeat, “I do not have to be here. I get to be here.”

Effort Always Counts Twice

I’ve spent a lot of time around high achievers, founders, Olympic/professional athletes, etc. 

The single most common trait among them all is hustle- the capacity for hard labor. Regardless of ability level, you have to be willing to put in the work. 

Based on my own experience and interactions with others, I use this formula to rationalize effort.  

Effort^2 X Ability = Increased % Chance for Greatness

When you’re playing at the highest level, in sports or business, nothing is guaranteed. But you do have the ability to influence the probability of your success.

Today’s Optimization

I am just over 6 weeks out from the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, and I am starting to really increase my training volume on the bike. Anytime I am training for more than 60 minutes at a time, I make sure to bring Liv Pur electrolytes with me. Whether it’s at the gym or on the bike, they are always in my bottle. 

Hydration is about more than simply drinking water; it’s about replenishing the nutrients and minerals that your body loses through sweat. You are specifically looking for magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium. Today Liv Pur is offering Movement Memo subscribers a deal: 15% off your purchase of Liv Pur Hydration using code ERIC15.

Today’s Movement

Complete 4 rounds for time of:

  • 10 Burpee Broad Jump

  • 100 Meter Run

  • 10 Air Squats 

  • 100 Meter Run

  • 10 Push-Ups 

  • 100 Meter Run

  • 10 V-Ups 

  • 100 Meter Run

About Eric Hinman

Based in Denver, Eric is an Endurance Athlete (5x Ironman), content creator and social media influencer, sponsored by dozens of consumer brands. Some of Eric’s partners include Vital Proteins, GNC, Ten Thousand, Beam, Lane Eight, Chipotle, and Whole Foods.

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