“The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.”
Wayne Gretzky needs no long introduction. He is the most well-known ice hockey player of all time and one of the absolute best that there has ever been.
But how did he make that happen? Here are three of Gretzky’s tips that may give some insight into his phenomenal success.
1. Remember to have fun.
“The only way a kid is going to practice is if it's total fun for him… and it was for me.”
I think this is a step that many of us have a big problem with. Or just forget about. Especially as we grow older.
Because when you find something you really love to do it doesn’t seem like work that much anymore.
When you do something you love you don’t have to push yourself so much. You keep going because you like doing it, not just because your want to reach some goal (although that can be exciting too). Taking action also becomes natural when you doing something you really want to do. A lot of the time you can’t wait to get going with it.
So the problem many of us encounter may not be that we don’t know enough tips to keep ourselves motivated to keep going. The problem may be that we are working on the wrong thing all together.
So do you find out what you really want to do?
I certainly don’t have all the answers for that one, but one tip is just to explore life.
To just try things out and see what you love. It’s easy to have theories about what you or may not like. But you never know until you have tried it for a while in real life.
And even if you haven’t found that yet remember that you can have fun with a lot of things in life. A light attitude where you look for the fun in stuff instead of a grown up kind of attitude where just about everything can start to feel like dreary work makes life a whole lot more enjoyable.
I think it’s important to remember that it is OK to have fun. And that it is your responsibility to find and create that fun. No one is going to just give it to you.
2. Practise, practise, practise today.
“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.”
Anyone who is really, really great at something has put in a huge amount of practice. More practice than most people are willing to put in. A big part of that of course comes from having fun with what you are doing.
But another – perhaps not as exciting – part is simply to have the self-discipline to not procrastinate and not bury yourself deep in a hole of boredom and inaction. Because some days are just rough or you have tough time getting started.
There are a lot of tips for overcoming procrastination on such days, here are three of my favorites:
- Recognize that there is more pain in procrastinating than not. If you have procrastinated a lot (like me) you might have discovered that: You procrastinate to avoid doing something that is boring, hard or something like that. You want to avoid that pain. But after having some experience with procrastination you’ll probably realise that procrastination itself causes your more pain than actually just doing what you were supposed to. Realising the true amount of pain in the two choices will make it easier to get things done.
- Just take the first step. When you start to look too far into the future any task or project can seem close to impossible. And so you shut down because you become overwhelmed and start surfing the internet aimlessly instead. That is one of the reasons why it is good to plan for the future but then to shift your focus back to today and the present moment. Then you just focus on taking the first step today. That is all you need to focus on, nothing else. By taking the first step you change you mental state from resistant to “hey, I’m doing this, cool”. You put yourself in state where you become more positive and open, a state where you may not be enthusiastic about taking the next step after this first one but you are at least accepting it. And so you can take the next step. And the next one after that.
- Start with the hardest task of your day. Maybe you have an important call to make that you also fear might be uncomfortable. Maybe you know you have gotten behind on answering your emails and have big pile to dig into. Maybe you have the last five pages of your paper to finish. Whatever it may be, get it out of your way the first thing you do. If you start your day this way you will feel relieved. You feel relaxed and good about yourself. And the rest of the day – and your to-do list – tends to feel a lot lighter and easier to move through. It’s amazing what difference this one action makes.
3. Take the chances you get.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.”
It’s easy to find a million excuses to not take a chance. To not take a risk. But as Gretzky points out, if you don’t take it then there is absolutely no way of succeeding. If you give it a shot there is always a chance that you might make it, even if the odds suck and you don’t even believe in it yourself. If you do that enough times then you will most likely have some success.
And succeeding is great. But just doing something and trying is great too. Because sometimes you will succeed. And the other times you can learn valuable lessons that will improve your skills and understanding and make it more likely that you will succeed the next time.
That’s what all the most successful people throughout history have done. They have failed more than most people and thereby learned more and in the end they have had a lot more success.
So the the absolute worst thing you can do is to try nothing at all.