I’ve been pretty amazed at the simple concept of how little things add up over time and can produce real results in your life.
I’ve played the sax for many years and there have been several times when someone will come up to me and say something like, “I wish I could play like that.” Usually it’s spoken in a despondent tone like, “That’s never going to happen.” Like only special people get to be good at something like playing an instrument. What???
I think a lot of us make things so much more complicated than they actually are.
See, I started out playing the sax when I was ten years old. I liked it enough to stick with it and when I got to Jr. High there was a requirement that we practice 3 hours / week (if we wanted to get an A, that is). I was always the kind of kid who did as he was told. I think it was more from a fear of getting in trouble or making a mistake than genuinely wanting to be a good person, but…
Those three years of filling out practice sheets in Jr. High instilled something in me and it carried over to the rest of my life. In High School there wasn’t a requirement to document our practicing but I still did it.
What do you know? I was a stand-out musician because, to be honest, I’m pretty sure a lot of people weren’t practicing like I was. Now, I didn’t put in ridiculous amounts of time. I just stuck to the half hour a day plan and then I’d do more if I wanted to. There were chunks of time where I was practicing an hour or more per day.
It was kind of a wake up call when I got to Berklee College of Music and found that there were guys my same age that had been putting in 2-3 hours / day for a while! They were playing at a level that made my jaw drop.
They had been taking that same consistency that I was applying and cranked it up a few notches.
I immediately started putting in 2-3 hours / day and I got better much faster. When I came home for Christmas break my friends and family noticed the improvements. And so did I. It felt good to be making noticeable progress.
Putting in the work
It’s just a matter of putting in the work; logging the hours. I know that there are other factors as well – you need to practice the right things and practice them well, you need some form of instruction, you need to listen to the masters – but the bottom line is, you put in the time. If you persevere and don’t give up, you WILL arrive at your destination.
Right now I’m pursuing the craft of internet marketing. I’ve been going after it with the same kind of consistency for a while now and I’m seeing progress all the time. It feels so great to know that if I persevere, put in the time and do what my teachers / mentors say I will arrive where I want to go.
Just like I found at Berklee, it’s so incredibly helpful to be around others who are on the same path you are. Especially those who are further down the road. The place where I get that every day is a private online community of marketers I found a while back. It’s led by two people who are making full-time incomes online. I have regular access to their expertise and they’ve gotten me “un-stuck” a number of times. The other members of the group are at all different levels of experience and we all help each other and give a little friendly butt-kicking when needed. I wouldn’t want to attempt this on my own and I’m grateful for this group, for sure.
Expand Your Mind
For inspiration I listen to podcasts, read books and blogs… but mostly podcasts. I never get tired of hearing how other people get real results in the very thing that I’m pursuing. It keeps me pushing and reminds me that these are people just like me, they’re just a bit further down the road.
A few favorites are Internet Business Mastery, Smart Passive Income, The McMethod Email Marketing Podcast, I Love Marketing, The Side Hustle Show, Hack The Entrepreneur, Rainmaker.FM, The James Altucher Show… and a few dozen others!
It doesn’t even have to be something in my field either, this interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger made a big impression on me. I get LOADS of inspiration from the real-life conversations on the WTF podcast.
Gee, looks like I need to do a post on my favorite podcasts… stay tuned!
Don’t get discouraged if you hit some rough spots or it starts to get challenging. Remember that all the time you put in will add up to produce a result. One of the main ways to not get stuck (and give up) is to be a part of some kind of mastermind group [several of the podcasts listed above offer groups you can join]. You need to be connected with someone who can see down the road further than you can.
Whatever you are pursuing, get around people who are doing the same thing. You don’t need to be alone. There are no excuses in the internet age to not be connected with anyone.
Whatever you do, don’t give up!
I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. -Michael Jordan
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Photo Credits (creative commons): Glen Edelson