One thing I have realized in writing content intended for athletes is that it can be difficult to always come up with articles that specifically address sports topics. However, in my experience. The books and articles which have impacted me most in regards to athletics were never a part of the “sports” genre. They have been books that cover leadership, relationships, psychology, marketing, and philosophy.
And looking back, I think there are two distinct reasons why these books were so profound:
- They were very practical and useful books written my smart people
- They forced me to apply the concepts to my own unique situation
The first element is essential to learning something from a book, but the second is what makes the lessons stick. If all we ever do is read a book, take a couple notes and try to remember it for a raining day — then it is sure to be out of our memory bank in a years time. But what if we actually tried to apply into our lives and see how a new concept could work in our specific circumstance?
Maybe it will help. Maybe it won’t. Either way, you won’t know until you try.
I just wanted to mention that before you read this short article because it’s something important to keep in mind. Take the time to learn the lesson, and see how it can work for you.
My useless super power
I recently got back from a 3 month stretch of living in Romania. During my time there I experienced a somewhat annoying problem.
I didn’t speak the language.
Now surprisingly, this wasn’t a huge barrier to my survival. The people there were extremely accommodating and many of them spoke English. I made it through most days with little trouble and most interactions with locals were rather painless.
However, there were a few situations in which I wish I had spoken Romanian and I couldn’t help but fight my inner curiosity. There would be moments where I witnessed a strange conversation, saw a distracting altercation, or had some random Gypsy start yelling at me on the train.
I would sit there analyzing what I saw, trying my best to figure out what these people might be saying. Why was this lady mad at me? What were those two people discussing?
I usually never found out the answer.
Over time I got used to it, and eventually, a lot of these random voices turned into background noise. It got to the point that unless the person was in my face or tapping me on the shoulder, I didn’t need to pay it much attention.
But then something funny happened.
I developed a new super power.
My hearing sensitivity towards English conversations became extremely heightened. Anytime I was at the mall, walking on the street, or on the train and I heard an English speaker, I could pick up what they were saying from more than a mile away.
During my trek back to Canada, this became even more noticeable than ever before. By the time I made it to my layover in Toronto, I was completely overwhelmed with all the English conversations going on around me. I felt like Daredevil when he first discovered his super powers.
It was at this point that I realized something else.
All these conversations were…well, pretty normal.
None of them were really noteworthy and most of these people were just talking about everyday stuff.
And even when the person at the check-in counter was yelling at the airline worker, their conversation had no bearing on my life.
Maybe every once and a while I heard something that affected me. But for the most part, it never impacted me at all.
So, what did I learn from this?
Well, it’s pretty straightforward really.
All those times I spent in Romania wondering what on earth those people were talking about, was a complete waste of time. It had nothing to do with me and in reality, I was better off just looking forward and staying focused on what was ahead of me.
To me, I think this is a perfect parallel to how we treat the information, news, or even criticism we witness every day.
There are so many random distractions in life, and we always feel like we need to investigate them. A perfect example is when there’s an accident on the highway. Even though it may have happened on the other side of the road, it still manages to slow down the traffic going the opposite direction. Everyone wants to slow down, turn their heads, and see what on earth is going on. They are expecting to see something noteworthy, but it usually ends up just being a common fender bender. They knew better, yet they did it anyways. And in the end the only thing they accomplished was slowing down their own progress, as well as those around them.
We always feel like we NEED to know everything. We waste our time worrying about the future, watching every video on YouTube, clicking every article on Facebook and trying to eavesdrop on every conversation we hear. But in the end, when it’s all said and done, those things we absolutely had to know about, were of no practical use to us at all.
4 Steps To Knowing Everything That is Necessary
- Define what matters to you (Values)
- Create a life philosophy that guides your actions
- Only focus on the things that align with your life philosophy
- Practice drowning out the “foreign languages” and distractions