The Secret, Part III

by coachdanbell

1. Show up 2. Train Hard 3. Repeat for Ten Years

One of the most important things to understand about succeeding at anything is knowing how long it will take. If you plan to go to college, you know you’ll be there for four years, at least, to get a bachelor’s degree. If you want to continue to medical school, plan on four years there, plus another three to eight years studying your specialty. Mastery is measured in years, not months. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes the case for ten thousand hours or ten years. In my experience, he is on the mark.

That’s right, if you want to be a great weightlifter (or carpenter or philosopher or midwife) you have to put in ten years. I know that sounds like a looonnnng time when you’re just starting out. But think about baseball. A player starts in Little League at ten years old. By the time he gets out of high school he’s already got eight years of practice and training. If he’s drafted by a major league team, it’s at least two years in the minors, probably more, before he gets a shot at the Bigs. At no point in the process does he have to wonder how long it takes. He knows. It’s the system he’s come up in and he understands it. It’s the system for a reason. It takes that long to make a Major League baseball player that you’d pay hard-earned money to see.

So if you want to be a great weightlifter, plan on ten years. There’s a lot to do. You have to learn the lifts and become proficient enough to move to a heavier training load. You have to acquire and perfect the lifestyle habits that will aid in recovery and further, heavier training. You have to gain competitive experience. You have to hit PR’s, celebrate for a few minutes, then come back and do that hundreds of times. You have to keep showing up and working hard, again and again and again and … well, you get the idea.

The details will get filled in as you go. But the basics are the same as for anything else you want to master: Show up. Work hard. Repeat for Ten Years.