Showing Up is Only Half the Battle
When I was in high school, my cross country coach always used to always tell the team, “The proof is in the pudding.” Well, back then, we never really understood exactly what that meant. If anything, we used to tease him about it. I mean, pudding? What does pudding have to do with running? Or proving anything?
Thinking back on it now, because running is still a huge part of my life, it actually makes complete sense. And that’s because we should have been referring to the word “putting” instead of “pudding” that whole time.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao Tzu
I’m sure that many of us know that the hardest part of accomplishing anything is the part where we are first getting started. However, what many of us aren’t aware of is that the second hardest part of accomplishing anything is the part where we continue to put in the work that goes along with it — The part where we keep going. The part where we take it a step further and work towards actually excelling.
“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”— Bruce Lee
I’ve been running marathons and half marathons for nearly seven years now. And only recently have I realized how much more effort I could have been putting in in the past than just the bare minimum.
I realized that the reason why I was continuously being disappointed by my results was because I wasn’t doing anything more to improve for the next time. Once I realized that, I started working harder each time I trained. Then, slowly, but surely, the results that I wanted there on out followed.
Many people often say to themselves, “Well, at least I did it”. However, doing something and doing something well are two completely different things. Anyone can do a half-ass job and say that they got it done. But, doing a job well done takes a little more time and effort.
So, if you’re going to be disappointed with the way things turned out, as was I in the past, then honestly ask yourself how hard you really worked towards getting the results that you wanted. Ask yourself if you gave it everything that you had. Ask yourself if you left it all on the table at the end of the day.
The thing is, showing up is only half the battle.
The second half is actually putting in the work. We each want to achieve our own individual goals. We want to fulfill our dreams. We want to strive to be the best version of ourselves. But, not all of us necessarily want to do what it takes to get better, so instead, we settle for less. We settle for contentment. We settle for “good enough” — But, good enough shouldn’t be all that we aim for.
In life, once we’ve become accustomed to a certain routine or a certain task, it gets rather redundant after a while. Sometimes, we lose interest all together and we put much less effort into those tasks compared to how hard we tried in the beginning. That’s because after we’ve become familiar enough with something, it eventually becomes a habit. And habits can be mundane if they’re not contributing to something that we actually enjoy doing.
The actions required to complete certain tasks are soon switched to auto-pilot in our brain in order for us to divert more of our energy into new tasks or difficult tasks that require a greater deal of focus and attention; things that we actually care about.
If you truly cared about something, you wouldn’t just settle for “good enough”. You wouldn’t settle for a half-ass job. This is why just showing up doesn’t win races, or awards, or produce hit songs, or yield breakthroughs. If it did, then we’d all be famous. We’d all be extraordinary. But, we’re not all extraordinary because not all of us want to do whatever it takes to get there.
If we want to do better, if we want to be better, then we have to push ourselves past the mentality of thinking that showing up means that we’re fully there. If you’re going to show up, then you also have to show up prepared. You have to show up ready to do the work (the full work), and know that showing up is only half the battle. After that, the rest is up to you.