How to Be Great At Something
It really is a funny story.
7th grade was where it all went wrong. I was just a kid trapped in my upper-middle class bubble. The hardest part of my privileged life was making the school bus in the morning because I had been up all night watching Family Guy reruns.
If it was nice out after school, I played sports with my friends. And if it was shitty out, we played videogames — A lot of videogames.
One game in particular was a game called Guitar Hero — and I fucking loved it.
Not only because I was a huge nerd, but it was because I was inordinately good at it. I was born with above-average rhythm so I used my dad’s musical background and applied it on to 5 plastic buttons.
Before I knew it, I wasn’t getting off the bus after school to play Guitar Hero at a friend’s house anymore. Instead I was playing this plastic guitar in solitude — focusing on the nuances of each part in every song, understanding the paths that would score me the most points if I used Star Power in a specific section, going into practice mode and working on the solo so that I could better my chances at getting 100%. Here’s a picture of me during this time in my life.
I was winning tournaments, playing in competitive leagues and winning. I was truly great at this stupid fuckin game.
The only issue was that when I looked back, I had friends that wanted nothing to do with me for making the choices that I made.
Not only was I proactively committing social suicide, but I chose Guitar Hero over my friends for the last year and a half so what the hell did they owe me?
My pursuit of insignificant excellence not only put a stop to me advancing my relationships in middle school, but it made me restructure my personal priorities at the time.
Before you become great at something, you need to understand the consequences.
I think that no matter what your view is on Guitar Hero as the example, I uncovered a pattern that revealed what it takes to become exceptionally good at something.
You can’t make everyone happy in this world if you want to exceed boundaries. There will always be people holding you back from making the decisions to get there.
If greatness requires you to sit in and work on a personal project over an entire weekend, then that’s what it takes. If great relationships require you to show tremendous care and support for another person through thick and thin, then that’s what it takes. You only become great at what you do when your daily habits start taking shape around your vision. After that, greatness starts to become fluid throughout who you are.
I think this begs the question — What are we all trying to do with our lives if we’re not actively making ourselves great at something?
We will live our entire lives just getting along, not getting in anyone’s way because it requires too much sacrifice.
I don’t see greatness as monetary, I just see it as the pinnacle of personal achievement. Wherever you decide to aim your targets, give it your best shot. Otherwise, you’ll live your entire life trying to just get along. Common effort will be rewarded with common outcomes.