At the Beach Part 1

At the beach, do you:

  1. Choose not to run- You’re on vacation
  2. Go for a run on the hard compact sand
  3. Go for a run and opt to run in the soft unstable sand

This is a very contextual question but let me explain the physics behind why option C is the best choice.

Choice C, going for a run in the soft sand, is the most difficult of the options. Choosing the most difficult option when it is not necessary requires a lot of discipline-driven behavior. This means that your decision was intentional (you chose to do this), purposeful (you have and know your reason for doing this), and skillful (you are in the moment, engaged in the task at hand giving your best effort). For more on discipline-driven behavior, check out Focus 3

By CHOOSING to run in the soft sand, you are deliberately challenging yourself. The keyword being “choosing”. You have chosen to make your current life more difficult in hopes that this energy investment will pay dividends later on. You have to make the choice to not take the easy route. Nobody else can make this choice and follow through with it for you. At the center of everything that happens to you is you.

The more times you choose to challenge yourself, the more practice you get with these uncomfortable situations (as obvious as this sounds). Repetition always builds habit, but not always skill. That is why operating in the moment at a challenging level is the necessary ingredient for personal growth. The definition of a challenging level being that it is right on the edge of your current and desired skills. By giving yourself repetitions with acting with discipline-driven behavior, the more opportunity you have to make this a habit and thus a strength.

Consistently and repeatedly choosing to go the difficult and unpopular route when it is not necessary is the best preparation for challenges in life when it really does matter. Because you have deliberately practiced self-discipline when it was not required, you are that much more prepared when life does require you to act with self-discipline. Purposeful Practice makes Perfect.

To do what others can’t, you must consistently and repeatedly do what others don’t. By daily doing things/acting exceptionally different than the majority, you thus make yourself extraordinary and in the minority. Consistently repeated, this purposeful extraordinary behavior creates the habit of excellence. Talent is a gift, Greatness is a choice.

In simpler terms, (thousands of year ago) Aristotle said:

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

This is similar to running in the rain. Do you choose not to run, shorten your run, or continue on as planned?  

To Be Continued…

Be Better Than Yesterday,


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