What Do You Have in Common with “Plowing Missionary”?

“You are very average, like fucking missionary” -Lil’ Wayne in I Am by Tyga

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be some crazy position with a cool name like “The Toboggan” or “The Willow” (Links semi-NSFW unless you work in porn). I guess I could settle for doggy style, but missionary is as average as it gets.

Fuck being average.

“But Mike…what does it take to not be average? What if I want to be above average?”

Well little fella, I’m glad you asked that question. The answer is simple…practice. We’re talking about REAL practice, not Allen Iverson practice here. I’m talking about the kind of quality work where you make small, tangible improvements with every session. Not “oh, that one felt better than the last time”. At the very least it needs to be “I got one more rep with the same weight than I did last time I did this workout” or “I did the same weight/reps but got done faster/didn’t use wraps/had some left in the tank.”

Lucky for all of you who are stuck in a missionary, lights off, roll on-roll off type of life, Malcolm Gladwell gives us a little peak into how the best of the best got to where they are in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. It’s called the 10,000 hour rule and it’s exactly what you would think it is. The greatest of the great, in any walk of life, have upwards of 10,000 hours of quality practice at their trade or skill under their belt. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and The Beatles all put in well over 10,000 hours on their way to greatness. And here is the kicker…they weren’t forced by anybody. The saw opportunity and took advantage of it. Whether it was sneaking into the medical and physics centers at the University of Washington between 3am and 6am to take advantage of idle computers or playing covers of country, rock and jazz songs for 8 hour sets in strip clubs in Hamburg, Germany.

According to Gladwell’s research, it took about 10 years on average to get in the necessary 10,000 hours. Now take me for (a fairly shitty) example. I’ve been lifting weights for almost a decade now. It’s crazy, I never realized that until I started writing this. But remember it’s not just the total hours; it’s the total quality hours. I’d say I only have about 2 years of dedicated, focused quality training under my belt. At 4-5 hours per week and roughly 50 weeks per year, that’s only 400-500 hours. Add in the research and reading and I’d be lucky to break 1000 hours. At this point I’d qualify myself as a woman on top missionary. I have some quality time under my belt, but I have some time before I reach doggy style let alone the willow.

The crazy thing is you could feasibly knock out the 10,000 hours in 5 years if you practiced you trade full-time. The classic 40 hours per week for 50 weeks gives you 2,000 hours. Will they all be of the best quality? Probably not, but I’m willing to bet you’ll be putting in more quality hours than your competition. Enough to gain a slight advantage each year. By the time you’ve gotten to 10,00 hours that advantage will be very, very noticeable. By the time you hit 10,000 quality hours you’ll be in a whole different league.

Wayne Gretzky never went through the motions; Michael Jordan never went through the motions; The Beatles didn’t go through the motions. Those 10,000 hours will not come easy and they will not fly by no matter how much you wish that they would. But once they have been put in, once you have reached the level of being one of the greats in your chosen field, will it really matter how hard those hours were?

He might be putting in the hours…

…But this guy is putting in QUALITY hours.

Refuse to settle for the average or the expected. Strive to be the best, strive to be great, never be satisfied.