5 Keys to a World-Class Life
Your commitment to excellence in all areas of your life will ultimately determine your destiny and where you end up in life. If you don’t have a plan for your life remember you will live someone else’s plan. You have to be strategic about your life and everything that happens to you is the direct result of your actions.
Your choices determine your actions and your actions determine your outcome. Here are the keys to get your life to world class
Deliberate Practice – We look at a lot of successful people like Sachin Tendulkar, Roger Federer or Bill Gates and we like to say they are lucky or they are born talented. However researchers like K. Anders Ericsson one of the world’s leading experimental researchers on expertise say that it takes 10 years or 10000 hours of deliberate practice to reach the top in your area of expertise. This should give hope to all of us and we no longer have excuses to say why we are not experts in our chosen areas. Remember with the abundance of information available now you have access to information that past generations would have died for. The keys to deliberate practice are to keep improving on the key result areas of your profession on a daily basis. This can be done by reading daily in your field, listening to podcasts, finding mentors in your field, taking certifications in your area of expertise and sharing what you have learnt. This process will keep you engaged and current in your field.
Find your purpose – I recently read about Candy Chang on the TED website and her profile summary said she is an artist, designer, and urban planner who explores making cities more comfortable and contemplative places. She has one project which is “Before I Die I want to” … Take this exercise and write down everything you want to do before you die. Remember the only way you can reach world class in your life is if you become excited about it. There are only a finite number of days you have to live so don’t waste it living someone else’s dream. We can come up with excuses why we can’t pursue our dreams. However for every excuse there are thousands who have had it tougher than you but still achieved the same things. So go for it and design your ideal life keep writing everything you want in your life and then take MASSIVE ACTION. Action is the only antidote to laziness and procrastination. You can also find your purpose by defining a mission statement for your life. All companies have mission statements and the main purpose of this is to excite employees and clearly clarify values that the organization will stand for. If you apply the same logic to your personal life there will be more purpose to your life.
Move towards resistance – As documented in the wonderful book Mastery by Robert Greene Bill Bradley became great in basketball because of his absolute passion to practice more than anyone else. In other words he moved towards resistance. Bill Bradley used to practice three and a half hours after school and on Sundays, eight hours every Saturday, and three hours a day during the summer. He also devised various methods like putting ten-pound weights in his shoes to strengthen his legs. His greatest weakness was his dribbling and overall slowness. To counter this he wore eyeglass frames with pieces of cardboard taped to the bottom so he could not see the basketball while he was dribbling. He setup chairs in the court to act as his opponents. He kept practicing well beyond any feeling of boredom or pain.
This example should inspire all of us that it is not talent but actual hard work and moving towards resistance that will ultimately determine the course of your life. This can happen only if you have passion for what you do and a burning desire to be the best in whatever you choose to do. There are no short cuts to greatness.
Love your critics – There are more critics in our world today than at any other time. Even your work is public and can be criticized. We can use critics instead to spur us to even further heights in our field of endeavor. Critics are not in the game and are not really doing anything useful except criticize others work. In fact if someone is critical of your work it is probably because they couldn’t do what you have done. Of course there are well meaning critics we should welcome who improve our work with their constructive feedback. We should develop ourselves to the point where we can differentiate between accurate and inaccurate feedback. Love your critics and keep pursuing higher goals to reach where they can’t reach. Do what other people don’t so that you can reach where other people can’t.
Take care of your health – Unless you are full of energy it is very difficult for you to create a world class life. In order to accomplish everything you want in life you have to first be alive. I know that sounds a bit morbid but all the other points mentioned above will not work without being fully alive. First requirement for health is to get adequate sleep. Sleep researchers have confirmed that everyone requires at least 7-8 hours of sleep on a daily basis. Keep this in mind and design your work schedule to ensure you get this requirement of sleep. Second you need to have a consistent exercise program to stay energetic. There are so many health benefits from exercise that we owe it to ourselves to stay fit. Third we need to be careful about our diet and eat lots of vegetables and fruits. None of these steps are rocket science but simple things are hard to implement. A lot of people complicate their lives and then expect to suddenly become healthy adopting crash diets but that never works.
Creating a world class life is not easy but eminently achievable. Identify positive role models in your life and emulate them. Understand what great people have done and do the same thing. As Anthony Robbins says “Success leaves clues.” All the clues are out there and if you find those clues and adopt the practices of successful people you will create a world class life full of joy, prosperity and happiness.
The views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent my organization.