In the summer of 2016, I rediscovered the search for excellence.
I had started to film a lot of my sports-related activities: running, basketball, weightlifting… to systematically improve. It made a huge difference – systematic, fundamental breakdowns are always massively superior to sheer time/effort and going through the motions.
Somehow the last sport it occurred to me to tape was swimming. When that happened, I reflected that if I had cared as much about my swimming dives as I did about my jumper, I’d be a much better swimmer. Which is insane given how much better I am at swimming and how much more improvement there means. I’d taken too much for granted in swimming just because I’d been doing it for so long and because I thought I had reached a level that was “good enough” and lost focus.
The search for excellence, as Jay Z once put it, is to treat everything like “it’s your first project, like it’s your first day back when you was an intern.” Those words are easy to read and think about, but it needs to be true from a passion perspective. Here’s the test to see if it’s true. Ask yourself – do I have the same passion for learning something new like surfing (where I’d watch Youtube videos over and over teaching you how) as I do for something I want to be excellent in, like investing? (Am I watching great investors talking about how to invest and how to improve?)
If the answer’s no, the next question is – do you really want to be excellent? If that answer’s still yes, you need to back up, figure out what the equivalent is of “taping yourself” is in your field and stop settling for being merely good.