In high school I was the crazy kid who went to the gym every morning at 4:30am. I loved it. To this day there is nothing I enjoy more than seeing a sunrise. It makes me feel like I’m getting a head start on the world. But today I realized there is another reason why I wake up early every day.
It makes me fall in love with my craft.
Have you ever heard the old Benjamin Franklin strategy, where he gets people to do favors for him and in turn they like him more? Well if you haven’t, think of it like this.If I don’t like you and I force myself to begin performing random acts of kindness towards you, then it’s proven that I will begin to start liking you more. Weird, right?
I’ve discovered the same is true when applying this principle to your work. The more you give up in honor of a goal you’re working towards, the more you’ll love what you are doing.
For instance, waking up early in the morning is a great way to practice sacrifice. Even if you don’t consider yourself a morning person, it’s all the more reason to practice waking up early. Why? Because if you’re not a morning person you have to sacrifice more in order to wake up early. You have an opportunity to fall even more in love with what you’re doing.
As I mentioned before when I was in high school, I woke up at 4:00 am every day. In the beginning, it was so difficult for me to get out of bed I installed an old fashioned alarm clock with the two bells on top, across the length of my room. When the alarm went off it would rattle and jump up and down like an alarm on a cartoon show. It was so loud that one morning I strained my groin jumping out of bed.
I would go to the gym and work out for two hours, say hello to the other “5:00 am regulars,” and then head off to school. During those hours, I laser focused on how badly I wanted to succeed in baseball, how I wanted to be the best. As I did sprints in the gym I would think about stealing bases and as I lifted more and more weight, I would picture myself crushing home runs out of the park. I put myself through so much pain, willingly, because I knew that I wanted to be great.
The more I sacrificed, the more I began to love the game of baseball. Without sacrifice, there is no love. If I just showed up and was an all-star, I wouldn’t be a true fan of the game. I would just be a guy with lots of natural talent. Instead, I created my love out of sacrifice.
Now today, I practice this same philosophy with my writing. I acknowledge that it’s impossible to develop a love for something that I’ve never sacrificed for. As the great coach Vince Lombardi said,
I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.
If you want to become really good at something, you have to not only be willing to put in the work, but the sacrifice. Instead of going out with your friends, stay inside and work on your business. Instead of sleeping in, wake up early and get to work before everyone else. The more you do in sacrifice of your goals, the more you’re going to appreciate them when it happens.