BY ROBERT IRVINE
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand and work with whatever tools you have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
Think And Grow Rich.
Napoleon Hill was writing more directly about entrepreneurship and business, but it’s a maxim that applies to all forms of goal-setting. The desire to have all of our “ducks in a row” before we begin a big project or start a new career is a natural one, but I agree with Hill that it is a faulty one.
As a fitness enthusiast myself, I think I’m a little predisposed to perfectionism. But trying to grasp for control of every variable is a fool’s errand. It’s impossible to control for everything. Eventually I had to ask myself where I would be today if you had insisted on perfection from the outset.
At the start of your career, whatever it may be, when you were first trying to find your footing, things were probably a little haphazard, weren’t they? You tripped and fell, learned from your mistakes and moved on. That was certainly true for me in my fitness journey; I lifted with a big ego and ate like a “man” which is to say without much thought or consideration. From those mistakes, I found the better way.
That’s why I’m always surprised to see all these young and healthy men and women in the fitness industry—people who almost invariably dream big—too rigid to break from their routines and go get what it is they really want. I was recently out at the Arnold Classic and I met tons of eager young men and women and shook their hands and heard their stories. A lot of them told me about businesses and websites they wanted to start, supplements they wanted to formulate, programs and books they wanted to write, and dozens of other ideas. They all wanted to make an impact on the world. But so many of these grand ideas were in the gestational stage of their lives. They were big, beautiful dreams, but most of these folks hadn’t acted on them yet.
I asked them why they hadn’t started and they all gave me some variation of the same excuse—that they were waiting for the right moment/enough money/the right business partner/enough time/etc., etc., etc.
To them, and to you, I say to heed the words of Napoleon Hill and realize that there is no such thing as the right moment. Progress and success are messy things that don’t happen in a straight line. You step forward and then you have to step back. You reach the top of the hill and then you fall down. There is no escaping this, and so there should be no shame in it. Every failure is a lesson if you look for it; you can apply those lessons to your career and to your fitness journey.
Let go of the concept of perfection and go get what it is you really want. We are all just a heartbeat away from eternity. Tomorrow isn’t promised. So live today like you cannot fail. Because if you never quit, you’ll never fail.
Yours in health,