Everybody has big dreams and everyone wants to be successful in life. If you’re an athlete, either interested or committed, when you put your head on the pillow at night, you dream about playing on the big stage in front huge crowds. The bright lights, the fans cheering, the electric atmosphere trigger all of your senses and send a feeling throughout your body that fuels and shapes your imagination to one day play on the big stages in your sport.
Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? If you don’t, you’re probably just playing sports for fun or exercise and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you do want to your dreams turn into reality, you should ask yourself one question that legendary coach Herm Edwards (author of You Play to Win The Game and It’s the Will, Not the Skill) believes is the foundation to starting your path in athletics. The advice in the video below is intended for coaches, but pay attention to the point that Coach stresses about what athletes need to see in themselves and ask yourself one single question when it comes to your dedication:
Are You Interested Or Are You Committed?
In order to decide if you’re interested or committed, you need to look at each word’s definition and decide which category you fall into.
Interest is simply defined by Merriam-Webster as “a feeling of wanting to learn more about something or to be involved in something”, while their simple definition of Commitment is “the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something”.
Interest allows “want-letes” while commitment breeds “work-letes”. The difference between the two is pretty simple: You either dream about being successful, or you put your dreams aside and start to work towards being successful.
Interest and commitment are two separate things. You can be interested in something, but that doesn’t mean that you are committed to it. Interest sparks dreams, emotions, and feelings towards wanting to be the best you can be while commitment shows action and a dedication towards persevering through adversity.
Commitment isn’t a part time job either. It’s not a switch that you can turn on and off, faking it by only turning on your work mode when you feel like it. Commitment is having a vision & goals of where you want to go, and making the permanent decision in working to achieve those goals. Commitment means that you can’t turn back and it’s a hard decision to make. However, when you make your decision to be committed and work to become the best athlete you want to be, you experience the discipline, dedication, and self-satisfaction in knowing that you are doing everything that you can to become your best. Thankfully, the choice you make to work hard and have a great attitude in your work are the only things that you can control in life.
If you’re an athlete and you don’t know where to start with being committed, you’re not alone. However, you can’t use that as an excuse to not be committed. If you do, you have just pushed yourself back into the “interested zone”. It’s the “being committed sounds great and looks like something I want to experience, but I don’t have the right X/Y/Z so I don’t have the opportunity to be committed”. If you think that way, you’re wrong. That’s a bunch of B.S. and you’re making excuses for not working towards your goals.
Between YouTube & Amazon, you have enough resources to become a world class athlete and you don’t have to spend $500 per month to try and achieve your dreams. If you think I’m wrong, then read up on how YouTube made Julius Yego an Olympic medalist. This Olympiac athlete had nothing when he started. He was completely self taught and didn’t use the lack of anything as an excuse to not achieve his goals.
To decide if you want to be committed, you have to at first understand what it means to be committed. I’ve broken commitment down into four principles that I believe are what commitment is all about:
It’s About What You Want & Not About What Those Around You Want
Commitment is about what YOU want and not about what mom, dad, coach, or your mentor wants – and you shouldn’t feel guilty in deciding to be committed for yourself. Yes, all of the people in your life can serve as motivation, and you should consider yourself lucky if you feel a deep sense of gratitude for those who have played a big part in your life. However – the decision to be dedicated to your craft needs to come from within and not from an outside influence. That’s because people and athletes who are successful in life have a deep passion and love for what they do. If you’re playing because of an outside factor that doesn’t fuel your passion, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. When the going gets tough, your passion needs to be what carries you through adversity and fuel your desire to overcome your obstacles.
It’s About Sacrifice & Dedication
Commitment is 100% about discipline, sacrifice, and dedication. You have to live with all three of those traits continuously to have true commitment to what you’re trying to achieve. There will be experiences that will come up that seem enticing and you may miss out on. Social events, video games, watching television, going on social media – they all will have to take a back seat to your dedication towards being successful. Your dedication to your deliberate practice, self-improvement athletically & mentally, and desire to be a better version of yourself than yesterday is where your focus needs to be.
You will have situations where you will have to decide between your sport and your social life. Those who are committed to their sport will always choose the opportunity to get better over the latter. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a social life – it’s healthy to get a mental break away from your sport and experience the countless amazing things of life outside of it. Your dedication just cannot slip because of your social life. If it does, then you’re back into the “interested zone”. Cut and Dry.
It’s About Not Expecting A Desired Outcome
The entire purpose of playing sports is to enjoy the journey and realize that everyone has a different path. You cannot expect an outcome of success, you have to work for it. Just because you show up to practice, “work hard”, “listen to coach”, and “are a good teammate” doesn’t mean anything when it comes to putting in the work to develop and build a superior athletic ability. Too many athletes today believe that if they are the best player on their team, then that means that they should be rewarded with success. Success comes when you are least prepared for it and you least expect it. It’s the by-product of developing phenomenal skills through a relentless work ethic so that when your time comes to prove yourself, you operate at the highest level within your ability to do so.
So, don’t expect success to happen to you because you put the work in, but believe that success will come if you deliberately push yourself everyday to the best of your ability. It may not come tomorrow, a week from now, or ever – depending on what your definition of success is. However, what will happen is that you will work closer and closer to your goals and push the envelope on your potential every day.
The only thing that you’re entitled to in this life is the opportunity to become the best version of yourself on a daily basis. You’re not entitled to playing time, recognition, or a college scholarship – those things go to the ones that have a dedication to hard work with a burning desire to want to be the best at everything they do.
It’s About Enjoying The Process
Remember that the reason why you play is to enjoy the process. If you’re after a shiny plastic trophy or name recognition for a highlight performance, you’re playing the game for the wrong reason. Championships and accolades have self-worth because they make you appreciate how hard you worked to achieve them. Enjoy the work that is required in trying to achieve greatness. Will it suck at times? You bet. Is it going to be hard to be great? Yep, you can guarantee that it will be. But, its not about you. Success doesn’t cooperate with excuses. Being successful is completely about what you’re willing to do to achieve it. When you make the commitment to work on yourself to become better, always remember that there cannot be an absence of humble humility.
No matter how good you think you are, there is always someone out there better than you. What are you going to do to become better than them? Millions of dedicated and relentless athletes have played the game before you to make it what it is today – don’t expect to be the one player that defines the game. Stay humble, work hard, and expect nothing in return. That is what will make any success that you achieve worth while when you experience it.