Editors Note: This is a contribution from Keith Lai.
Have you ever wondered how a person did the following:
- Get a 4.0 GPA in college.
- Become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
- Win multiple gold Olympic medals.
“TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS, YOU MUST BE WILLING TO DO WHAT OTHERS ARE UNWILLING TO DO.” - Anonymous wise person
That’s what every single person who achieved any of the above 3 goals did: they went above and beyond what the average person was willing to do. That’s what separates the good from the great and the winners from the losers.
These people went beyond the norm and became what we call outliers.
How else do you think someone is able to pass get a 4.0 in college? Sure, the student could have hacked the school computer system and changed their grades, but most likely, the student studied his or her butt off. The student was willing to pour hundreds of hours into studying and understanding the concepts.
If you’ve ever been to college, then you know how easy it is to slack off and procrastinate till the very last-minute. But if you do that, then you’ll be just like every other college student…. you’ll just be “average.” And last time I checked, average people are not successful.
The only way you can achieve success in college, fitness, or any aspect in life is to go above and beyond others. When your friends are only putting in 2 hours to study for the final exam, you need to put in 6. When they’re out partying in the clubs and doing shots of tequila, you need to be in the library. Only then can you achieve success.
Short term verses long-term success
Okay, let’s talk about weight loss.
To lose weight, you basically have to burn more calories than you eat. Most people get this, and most people are able to lose weight. However, most people are unable to maintain their new weight.
Now why is this? Simply put, it’s because losing weight is a short term goal lasting no more than a few months, whereas maintaining your new weight is a lifelong goal.
Again, this is where we separate those who succeed from those who fail.
Sure, you can say that a person has succeeded when he or she has lost weight, but that’s only from a short-term perspective. As with all things in life, you have to look at things for the long run. You have to realize that if you want to maintain something your entire life, then you’re going to have to work hard every single day.
You’re going to have to consistently exercise every week and you’re going to have to watch your diet every day. Most people just aren’t willing to commit to this lifestyle, which is why most people are unhealthy and overweight.
Don’t let others mess with you
Being successful means drawing attention, whether you like it or not. Once you go above what is considered average, people are going to start criticizing you. This can be both good and bad. People can either congratulate you on your success, or they can be jealous and criticize you for your hard work.
The key here is to simply not care about what people think. One common trait among successful people is that they ignore negative criticism because if what you’re doing is working then there’s no reason to stop.
If someone criticizes you for skipping the bread at dinner because you are trying to maintain your weight, then the best thing you can do is just ignore it. There are always going to be people who try and sabotage your success. These people are typically jealous or just don’t understand the amount of work it takes to be successful.
Again, if you’re like the average person, then you’ll most likely take the negative criticism and actually believe that you’re doing something wrong. You may or may not be, but you have to make a plan and stick with it, no matter what people say. If you can stick with your plan from the beginning till the day you die, then you are an outlier.
Tying it to fitness goals
If you want to achieve some physical feat like doing 30 pull-ups, then you’re going to consistently work hard. But just like the previous example, working up to 30 pull-ups isn’t too hard. What is hard however is being able to do 30 pull-ups 20 years from now.
I’m sure there are a good amount of 20 year old college students that are able to perform 30 pull-ups, but how many 40-year-old dudes do you know that are able to perform the same feat. Those people are outliers.
To be successful in fitness and life, you have to become an outlier, and to become an outlier, you have to:
- Go above and beyond what the average person is willing to do.
- Be able to ignore negative criticism and believe what you’re doing is working.
- Follow through on your plan, from START TO LIFE.
Follow the 3 points above and you will be successful.
Keith Lai is the author of the fitness blog FitMole where he talks about his simple and flexible approach to all things fitness. He also has a big mole on his face. You can keep up with him on Twitter and Facebook here and here.