Master the Things Which Require no Talent

My first spring at TCU, football was coming off of a losing season. The motto in the locker room became “master the things which require no talent.” That list stayed taped in my locker until I graduated because it is true, these 10 things require no talent to complete and make you a better athlete and a better person.

1.     Showing Up
2.     Working Hard
3.     Willingness to Listen
4.     Energy or “Optimistic Aggression”
5.     Proper Recovery
6.     Staying Positive
7.     Being Prepared
8.     Passion
9.     Doing Extra
10.  Trust the Process

1.     Showing Up: Make what you do your priority. “The key is not to prioritize what is on the schedule, but to schedule your priorities” - Stephen Covey. If it is important, find a way to get it done. There are 168 hours in the week, utilize your time effectively. Working on the little things often leads to the biggest success. Little things like creating a schedule and sticking to it. If it is not a priority, do not waste time on it. Every time you pull out your phone and check Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, perform 5 burpees. Soon you’ll realize how much of a time waste phones can be. It does not take talent to sit down and make a schedule. Make a list of three things you need to get done. Do not do anything else until those three are complete.

2.     Working Hard: Working hard does not take talent. When it is time to move, do it. Set aside distractions, take time for yourself and commit to getting better. The weight isn’t going to lift itself. Likewise, when it is time to do the menial task such as yard work, move quickly and do it efficiently, you will save yourself time by committing yourself 100% to the task at hand.

3.      Willingness to listen: Every professional athlete I know has a coach. No one knows everything, but together, people can come together to make the best plan possible. People will continue to make the same mistakes over and over unless they are willing to listen and learn from others who have come before. Others who have likely learned from those mistakes.

4.     Energy or Optimistic Aggression: To maintain energy, it is important to take care of your body, get enough sleep (eight hours), eat well, and be hydrated. Also, try to have a positive outlook on things. View a challenge as a chance to prove yourself, not another hill to climb. It does not take talent to bring energy to the table every day.

5.     Proper Recovery: Everything cost something. There are three main factors in recovery. Diet - ensure you are eating enough calories to support the work you are doing. Sleep- Ensure you are getting eight hours a night, big days might require more sleep to recover. Rest - Avoid unnecessary stress outside of training, surround yourself with positive influences, do what is needed to reduce work, home and other stress sources. It does not take talent to identify where you can better your recovery practices.

6.     Staying Positive: Your attitude shapes how you perceive things. If you don’t believe in something or someone, you will automatically see it in a negative light. Your attitude has an effect on those around you - think about staying positive and pulling those around you up. It does not take talent to become optimistic about situations and stay level headed even when things don’t go right.

7.     Being Prepared: Come with what you need every day. Pack your bags and make your list the night before. It does not take talent to know what you are doing the next day. It does not take talent to ensure you have everything you need to be successful. From the gym, to rock climbing, to work, I know what I need. I also pack stuff I don’t think I will need but might use. For example, an extra pen, an extra pair of socks, or an extra charging cable. Find a routine and always plan your next move.

8.     Passion: If you don’t love what you’re doing, change what you do. Life is too short to be miserable. You should never feel forced to do something everyday. Sure we all have to do unenjoyable things, but our lives should revolve around what we are passionate about. It does not take talent to identify your passions. When you truly passionate about something, work will not feel like work at all. Find what you love and pursue it.

9.     Doing Extra: It does not take talent to stay later, do more and go above. If you are passionate about what you do, the extra work will be enjoyable. If you have the drive to be the best, doing extra is necessary. Doing extra might mean staying late after practice to work on handoff exchanges or it might mean exceeding client expectations.

10.  Trust the Process: It does not take talent to trust the process. People who are only outcome focused miss everything that happens on the journey. The process is how we get from A to B. It takes no talent to trust those you rely on and call your friends. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The process is the journey of how you get to your goal. Stay with it, there will be good days and bad days. Trust the process and the outcome will take care of itself.

You are not born with the ability to be prepared, or the work ethic to do extra. They are developed from practice, but they are not talents. They are not your percentage of fast twitch vs slow twitch muscle, height, or eye color. They are skills developed with practice. Start developing and putting these skills to use today.  Create a more positive outlook on life, both in the gym and outside.

George Cullen