If I Knew Then What I Know Now: It’s About Making “The Decision”

TAGS: the decision, natural selection, 80/20 rule, 80 percent, 20 percent, harry selkow

elitefts™ Sunday edition

It’s About Making “The Decision”

I was asked a while ago about how I make things so simple in my personal day-to-day applications. I gave it some thought and the story that comes to my mind is the one I give my “Teams” at the beginning of our relationship.

Usually a Team will come to me at the beginning of their “off season.” One of the local high school coaches will want to jump the competition by starting the next season almost immediately. I’m cool with that and work in some rest in the first few weeks. I mean seriously, you can go hard or you can go long, but long and hard is an injury or burn-out waiting to happen. I’ll save that one for a future topic.

Anyway, I start the session with a lecture that goes something like this:

“Gentleman (or Ladies), I would like to take a moment before we let all hell break loose, and demonstrate a life lesson to you all. This will give you an idea of how LIFE is. We have the luxury today to use this example in our sport, but I stand before you letting you know, that SPORT is a MICROCOSM of society. What goes on in sport is a lesson that has great carry-over to your future as a contributing adult.

Let me have 10 volunteers, c’mon…don’t be bashful QUICKLY, give me 10!“

The drill instructor in me begins to rear its ugly head.

Natural Selection

I then get, by the nature of task, the 10 most “Go For It” individuals. Right here is a lesson within the lesson. They actually began the never-ending process of the “Natural Selection” process.

With the 10 “volunteers” I ask for two and ONLY TWO, guys who will again, volunteer for all the shit tasks that I will have them do for the purpose of this demonstration. Two guys will look around, not sure of what is going to be asked of them, only knowing that it's going to suck somewhat, but not for too long, and tentatively move away from the other EIGHT.

With all the emotion and dramatization I can muster up, I YELL emphatically…

“THERE! RIGHT THERE! THESE TWO WILL GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL OF PLAY…AND WHAT DID THAT TAKE?” 

The others will look around and at each other confused and wondering what I’m getting at. New people, that haven’t trained with me, prior, are looking for the exit.

"What did that take? It took a DECISION. It took THE decision."

The “80/20 Rule” exists in and out of sport, business and LIFE. The example is this, 20 percent of the population will move forward and be successful, while 80 percent will be happy with and in the status quo. Meanwhile, 80 percent of your efforts will yield 20 percent of your total results...and 80 percent of your time is wasted on 20 percent of positive affects, or is that effects? I'm not sure, but you get what I’m driving at.

Some of the kids will be a bit disappointed with the direction that they think this small “Pep Talk” is going, until I tell them that what it comes down to is simple; to make the decision to be a part of the 20 percent.

The Decision

I also tell them at the point of making “The Decision,” all other decisions are then already made without compromise.

At this moment another parable is in order, so I relate my own experience of making “The Decision” eons ago.

“I realized when I was about 16 years old, that I was NOT going to be 6-foot 3-inches and 245 pounds. I realized that I was NOT the most talented. I realized that there were other kids that were genetically predisposed to play in the NCAA, or the NFL/NHL/NBA/MLB, and realized that the one thing that I had control over, was that NO ONE was going to out-hustle or work me, period. I made the decision, that if you were going to beat me, because I'm certainly not going to let you win, that you might be able to do it, BUT YOUR TONGUE IS GOING TO BE HANGING OUT! Your victory over me will be cherished as much as any Championship, because I AM A CHAMPION hard worker. You will be in for the battle of your life. You’ll gasp for air, choke on your puke, and you will BLEED, and you’ll know that you won, because of your abilities, and NOT your preparation.”

At this point, my team starts stirring and twitching, because I add the spit and fire and the passion to my story that I explain about. Then I hit them with something else.

“...and because I made The Decision, all other decisions were then made as well. That is, I needed to carry a 3.0 GPA, so it was no question if I was going to read the homework assignment…I did! There was no question, if my “boys” were going out partying on nights before games or important practices, I didn’t. There was no question if I was going to go 100 percent in my training or restorative work, I did!”

You understand, that we may not like to do all those push-ups and shoulder work, but we all want a HUGE bench. We may not like doing all that lower-back and grip work, but we all want that HUGE squat and deadlift. It’s not a question anymore, because of “The Decision.”

Life Application

I then add...

“At some time in your life fellas, you're going to hang it up, as a competitive athlete, a warrior of sorts. But that athlete/warrior will ALWAYS be with you, living and breathing inside, and waiting for the “next” chance to come out and be visible. That Warrior/Athlete (note the sequence change?) might rear up when you're in an emergency situation later in life. Maybe when it's crunch time at your job. Who knows when it will arise? But KNOW this, when it does, and it will, you’ll be ready for the task, because I'm going to ask you to make THAT DECISION in the next few minutes and 20 percent of you will, 80 percent will think they did. Only YOU will know, and then I’ll know by your actions.”

What decision are YOU going to make? I know, you know!

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