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The Power of Going the Extra Mile: Excellence Doesn't Happen by Accident

The world is in awe with athletes who perform at the top of their sport. These athletes often make their performance look easy. They earn millions of dollars, enjoy fame, and are idolized by both young and old.

We often forget to ask the question what they had to do to get to the top. Was it all talent that got them there, or was it good fortune that allowed them to be seen at the right time?

Truth of the matter is any athlete reaching the top of their sport has taken the path traveled by few others; likewise talented athletes in pursuit of excellence. This path is more commonly referred to as 'The extra mile'!

John O'Sullivan, founder of Changing the Game Project, published this article in August of 2016 in 'Goal Setting, Mental Toughness, Motivation', and provides great insight of the sacrifice it takes to reach greatness.

"The extra mile is a lonely place, but it is the only path to greatness.

There are no fans lining that mile. No cameras. No bright lights.

Most of your teammates won’t join you there, because your dreams belong to you, not them.

Many of your “friends” will tell you that you are wasting your time, because how could they know how badly you want it? They have no idea.

Your coaches and parents may inspire you, but they can’t do the reps. Only you can.

When Steph Curry had to change his shot technique in high school, do you think his friends cared how late he stayed up practicing? How many of his friends were willing to show up an hour early to practice, or stay after, waiting for him to swish five straight free throws before calling it a day? When does your practice begin? When are you satisfied enough to call it quits for the day?

When 2x world and olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton takes to the track, he isn’t the favorite because he was born an elite track star (just look at his first pole vault). He made a decision. He decided to become a decathlete and he refuses to let anyone work harder than him. Are you outworking everyone you compete against?

Greatness require sacrifice.

You must embrace the struggle.

You must embrace it when it makes you smile.

You must embrace it when it makes you cry.

You must embrace it when it tears your heart out, and makes you question everything.

You must embrace it because you are on that lonely journey to the top.  

The struggle is a privilege.

You have the privilege of working your tail off when everyone else has called it a day.

You are in the arena. You are spending yourself on a worthy cause.

At best, you may become a champion.

At worst, said Teddy Roosevelt, “at least you will fail while daring greatly, so your place will never be among those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

If you want to be great at anything in life, then you have to be willing to go the extra mile again and again. The extra mile is a lonely place, but once you go there, you will soon realize it’s the only place you were meant to be.

And when it’s all over, your only regret, if you have one, will be that you didn’t go there more often.

Enjoy the privilege."


Above article provides a great reminder talent without a drive will not get you to the top. The take aways from this are plentiful and, for me, the biggest take away is none of the above is possible without the passion for the game and the utter desire to compete with yourself so you are able to outperform others!

The journey is yours! Good luck and dare to dream as without the dream you will run out of the fuel needed to excel.

Erwin van Elst

Meulensteen Method LLC

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