In athletics there is a belief in the idea of certain people being ‘gamers’. ‘Gamers’ are players who seem to raise their level of performance in games. There is an unspoken undertone to the idea of a ‘gamer’ conveying a lack of work or preparation.
I’ve found one of two things to be true. Either the player has invested the time, energy, and effort to perform in those moments or he is consistently inconsistent yet garners the tag of a gamer for those flashes of brightness.
If he hasn’t put in the work, the inconsistency will show it. Talent will flash brightly for moments but won’t persist without the foundation of work. Confidence in one’s self will help, but can’t make up for what isn’t truly there. It always comes back to the work.
If he’s put in the work, few people consider him a 'gamer'. A lot of other adjectives may apply, but 'gamer' isn’t typically one of them. It would be disrespectful to a worker to be called a 'gamer'. It trivializes all the progress between games. For workers, the game is simply a test, not the objective. Becoming is the objective.
Not so much to someone that fancies himself a 'gamer'.
Why Should We Care?
The work never lies. Never.
It’s just a matter of when.
This is where competitive endurance becomes a factor. Are you willing to persist until?
That’s the question. For most, the answer is no.
If we are only willing to compete when things go our way, or when we feel good, we’re just not very good. The days when the stars align, we may be brilliant. But, those random great performances are overshadowed by our glaring inconsistency and the fact that no one can truly count on us.
Then we have the legion of mediocrity. As lovers of the comfort mediocrity provides, we hesitate to stretch ourselves too much. However, we do see the value in fitting in and being part of a group so we will make reasonable sacrifices and exit our comfort zone when necessary.
Neither of these groups touch competitive endurance.
Competitive endurance does not ensure great performance. It doesn’t guarantee the results we want. Competitive endurance means we never waiver in our commitment to the process, to what we do. When we embrace competitive endurance we accept the reality of miniscule progress. And, we’re relentless in our focus on that progress. Frustrations and disappointments certainly occur, but they are nothing more than parts of the process to be experienced, pushed past, and reflected on for growth.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Competitive endurance is the life blood of persistence. Our willingness to continue competing in all circumstances, all environments, and in the face of countless plausible excuses will define our excellence or lack thereof. Here are a few ideas of maintaining yours.
If running a marathon were competitive endurance, those only willing to compete when they feel good could be represented by a walk to the fridge. They are not remotely close to the same things. Excellence is a marathon.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.