The Great Hall of Weak Illusions
There is no such thing as talent. Even if there is, it does you no good to believe in it. If you really think that what you are capable of was decided by a genetic luck of the draw or on the whims of a deity, why even bother trying? The moment you decide that your performance—or lack thereof—is the result of a special blessing, then you forfeit the opportunity to be the best version of yourself.
Potential is a funny thing. By definition, you can never know just how much of it you have but everyone assumes that because you are not the most dominant force then you must have a huge reserve of it. There are numerous factors that contribute to exactly when this well of untapped greatness will be run dry, but it’s suffice to say that for some it will occur sooner than later. Likewise, some have a deep pool to draw from while others can barely wade. You simply have no idea how much of your well you’ve drawn and how much is left. You never know if you’re Ryan Leaf or Tom Brady.
Speed is overrated because it’s easy to see and measure. People are better at dealing with tangible attributes like speed and strength. We do the same thing academically, attempting to predict a person’s success based on metrics like IQ and grades. The reality is that these things matter, but they are only the price of admission. You need a minimum quantity of these measurable attributes to compete, but after that we move into the realm of the intangible. Insight, creativity, discipline, resiliency, constitution; these are traits that make the difference at top levels where everyone is fast, strong and smart. Hall of Fames are full of athletes that were physically inferior but intangibly superior.
The real problem with over training is that it tries to violate a basic law of the universe. Over training attempts to reach the goal through unrelenting activity. This stems from the erroneous belief that activity always leads to results, therefore if you want to increase results then they must increase activity. However, learning takes place just as much when training as it does during rest. Muscles rebuild themselves when they aren’t being used. The only way to improve is to rest frequently and properly.
Confidence is largely a myth—but it’s a useful myth. You either know what you’re doing or you don’t. How you feel about it is irrelevant. What matters is how much you trust your intuition. Intuition is not a mystical force but it is beyond your conscious control. It is the ability to look at a situation and do what is optimal for your goal without the need for in depth, detailed analysis. When we say a person acts confidently, they merely are doing what they practiced with trust in their brain to make decisions behind the scenes.
Toughness is also a myth. Part of training is learning to deal with pain. You can never get rid of pain, for pain is part of life. Either you’re looking for a way to continue or you’re looking for a way to quit. We’re all frail but with different desires. The more you want a thing the more you’ll suffer for it. Toughness is a myth. Desire isn’t.
Superstitions are interesting. No intelligent person will argue that wearing certain socks on game day bestows upon them enhanced abilities. If it allows you to trust your abilities and intuition even more, that’s all that matters. Do superstitious rituals enhance your tangible traits? Absolutely not. But they do have a serious effect on your intangibles. Since intangibles are what makes the difference at the top levels, carry on with whatever personal ritual you have. If you don’t have one, get one.