There was a math teacher in my school that said: ‘Don’t practice a sum until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong.’
A professional is someone who is engaged or qualified in a certain profession. Someone who is confident in what they do. Looking at professional sportsman such as Cristiano Ronaldo shows us how hard work and talent can distinguish himself from other sportsmen, even other athletes on his level.
They are just on another level. But what stands out to me is their confidence. You can’t have the talent without believing in yourself. Sometimes it’s a cocky arrogance while other times it’s because they believe in themselves that they can.
In my last two years of playing hockey I played wing for my team at High school. The first year I scored about 3 or 4 goals. The next year I scored more than 10! It was about 15 games more or less I played each year. So what was the difference? Did I train much harder? Was my diet better?
Well to be honest I might have trained even less and I might have snacked more. The only thing that improved was my experience, but most importantly, my mentality.
I told myself when I get into the area where one may shoot to score a goal(which we called a ‘D’, because the area was shaped like the letter) I would take ownership of the ball and believe I could score. Know that what I have been training for the past week will go into that shot and I won’t let anyone take that ball away from me.
And I believe that is what separates the pro’s from the amateurs. They may have the talent, they might be fitter, faster and stronger, but if you aren’t in the right head space you won’t perform to your utmost.
But how long did it take for me to get there? To a place where I felt at my best. well I guess I could say 12 years because that’s how long it took to reach that stage. A few hundred hours of practice, maybe even thousands. Then hours going into watching games, studying techniques.
So quite a while.
But what if I told you it takes just one moment to become a pro. Almost like a light switch, you just need to turn it on and be a pro.
Last Saturday a couple of my friends went to a waterfall just outside of town. There is a rock in which you can jump off of, one that is 6 meters(20 feet). Another which is over 12 meters(40 feet). If it doesn’t sound much then take a look at the drop and tell me that it isn’t high.
Anyways, so on our way we were talking about why people do things such as marathons, iron man’s and just things that push people to their limits. The reason why I think is that we do it because we would like to challenge ourselves, see if we are capable. of reaching our weakest point and moving forward. And once we actually finish what seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle becomes something a little less frightening, our limits are expanded, our capacity has just grown enormously.
So now we get to the waterfall. My one friend says he is going to do the 12 meter jump. Now for the past year it has been my goal to do that jump but I never had the confidence, the jump is just so incredibly high. But this time I decide to follow him and jump after he does.
‘This is it!’, I tell myself.
Then I look down to the water: ‘Was it this high? Thought it was a bit shorter.’
The nerves start to kick in, fear surrounds me. My confidence has faded and I’m left contemplating if I should do it at all, if I should just wait till next time.
‘But was I not just talking about pushing myself to my limits, knowing that doing this will just make the possibilities of doing something even more daunting more achievable? The irony.’
My rational mind was telling me it was a bad idea. But my adventurous spirit was calling, pushing me to just go for it. When has it ever failed me?
My heart starts to beat faster, everyone around me was now watching. The collywobbles started to rise and I just couldn’t do it. The jump was so big.
I waited. Thought about it, then turned to say that my friends need to clap for me, slow clap style. They started to go. The faster they clapped, the more I wanted to quit until there was just a moment of peace, the moment where the slow clap became a fast one and I believed.
And I jumped.
The fear was gone. It was just free-falling from there. I did start to think: ‘Okay when am I actually going to hit the water because goodness this actually takes a while, till finally I hit the water.
I sunk for about 2 seconds and when I got up I was a new man. I felt different. Honestly. It may be small for you but it was as if a weight off my shoulders fell to the ground and had no grip on me anymore.
So the next time I get to that rock I won’t be as scared, I’ll definitely jump again because I know I can do it. There just needs to be water at the bottom.
So does it take years to be a pro? No. You just need to get it right once, and above all: Believe in yourself.