There are two levels to everything. There’s the level of amateurs, where everything is done for fun. Then there are the soldiers of their craft. The professionals.

A lot of people call themselves pros when they’re really just playing a man’s game among boys. Most professionals are just amateurs waiting to get exposed.

How do you know if you’re dealing with a professional, a wanna-be or an amateur? It ain’t about the money. It ain’t about the prizes. It ain’t about the titles. It’s about the MINDSET.

The professional mindset and the amateur mindset are light years apart. You can have loads of money. You can win 1st place. You can have a fancy set of letters after your name. None of these things reveal if you’re in this thing for real or you’re just having fun.

Your approach to your craft reveals everything. It’s impossible to measure your mindset but your habits and approach are on display for the world to see. Anyone who’s been through the grind can spot a protected faker from a mile a way.

If you want to know what to look for, this is the list you must read.

17 Obvious Signs That You’ve Got An Amateur On Hand

The Professional Swordsman

1) Professionals don’t have “good” or “bad” days. They simply train, practice, and learn as much as they can. They have no feeling about the day. There’s only the metrics of how much they improved and what they will build on. Amateurs worry about how they feel after each session.

2) Professionals look forward to constructive criticism. They know that hearing what’s wrong is the only way to make it right. They don’t care if it’s mean–only if it’s effective. Amateurs want everyone to get along and play nice. They can’t take any type of criticism because it makes them feel bad.

3) Professionals develop their strengths. They understand that the only way to get an edge is to compete in arenas where they have the greatest advantage. The best way to do this to go where your natural talents are and build from there. Amateurs like to be well rounded because they don’t really want to win. They don’t even want to compete.

4) Professionals love to compete. Professionals enjoy the thrill and agony of battle. They know that the process of competing is more important than the thrill of victory. Amateurs always claim that they’re competitive, but they just enjoy crossing the finish line–not the agony of running of the race.

5) Professionals love to practice. They love honing their abilities and becoming the best version of themselves they can be. For a professional there is no agony in practice. Only joy at how much they have progressed and enthusiasm for continuing the next day. Amateurs hate practice and only want to show up on game night. To an amateur, practice is a waste of time. The amateur doesn’t enjoy improvement. The amateur only enjoys recognition.

6) Professionals act in a way that makes conditions for victory favorable. They force errors in the competition while also avoiding the same errors themselves. Professionals know how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Amateurs know how to squander a gift wrapped advantage. Amateurs don’t know how to win. They only know how to–at best–not lose.

7) Professionals only compete with themselves. They know that competition with others is an illusion. To the professional, the only thing that matters is breaking their own personal record. The amateur is only only concerned with measuring themselves against other people. They’ll do whatever it takes to win instead of what it takes to be better. This always leads to ruin.

8) Professionals focus on what they can control. They don’t worry about anything else because it would drain energy from where they can make an impact. Amateurs love to talk about things they have no stake or influence in.

9) Professionals rely on habits, lifestyle, and systems to succeed. A professional understands that emotions are a fickle thing. The path to improvement requires working on days they don’t feel like working and making progress when they’d rather be resting. An amateur relies on inspiration and motivation to get things done. Therefore, they get little done and only during the inconsistent moments they feel up for the task.

10) Professionals live a life of constant preparation. They know that unless they’re ready, they won’t be able to take advantage of opportunities that arise. Professionals know that the only which  matters is doing the work to be highly prepared for the challenge. Amateurs believe in talent. They believe that the only way to succeed is to be lucky and have great timing.

11) Professionals plan for the future. Professionals live the saying “hope for the best but plan for the worst”. Amateurs never plan for the future. When it arrives, they’re always surprised by it. Amateurs live the saying “hope is the worst strategy”.

12) Professionals have an abundance mindset. Professionals understand that there is enough success for everyone that wants some. Professionals understand that helping someone else always comes back to them–even if it’s just in the form of refinement of their abilities and knowledge. Amateurs have a scarcity mindset. They do not help others because they’re worried that it’ll reduce the success available. The amateur is like a fist trying to grasp water.

13) Professionals are patient. They know that reaching your goal takes as long as it’s supposed to take. Amateurs are impatient. The irony of impatience is that it guarantees you’ll never achieve what you want.

14) Professionals focus on the process. A professional knows that outcomes are beyond their control. This is because the process is completely in their control. The outcome is not. An amateur is only interested in the outcomes. Amateurs believe they’re in control of the final score.

15) Professionals care about progress. They want to get better and their entire life is structured to make sure they get better. This is because the professional knows that this is only way things get done. Amateurs only care about recognition. If they can’t show off for other people, then they don’t want to try. But since they’re amateurs, they’re likely to fail anyway.

16) Professionals learn from everyone and everything. Professionals realize that there is always something to learn. Professionals understand that the teacher is not always the one who is superior in position or accomplishment. Amateurs think they know everything. If they listen, it’s only to someone who has the external markings of achievement. However, the best teachers will have little patience. The amateur, in their lack of humility, will remain forever ignorant.

17) Professionals respect the competition. They know that the moment they lose respect for the abilities of a competitor, that’s the moment they stop taking their preparation seriously. This is the moment of defeat. Amateurs don’t believe that competition exists for anything. Therefore, they never prepare to win because to them there isn’t even a game being played.

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