How many times have you worked super hard for something just to give up at the very end?
How many times have you been on the precipice of success, but just couldn’t get that final bit of lift to finally get on your feet and stand on top of your accomplishment?
In life it is often when things are the toughest, when things become unbearable, and when the sky looks darkest that it is almost time for the sunrise in the land of your suffering.
The man who stopped just feet short of gold…
There is a famous story about a man who was digging for gold; different versions of the story exist, but one of my favorites is the version told by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich.
As the story goes: there is a man who finds some land with quite a bit of gold thought to be in it; so he borrows money from his friends and family and takes the risk to try and mine the gold from his land.
He spends everything he has so he can get the right machinery and start mining for gold. Based off of his calculations, he should strike gold within a couple weeks…but after several months there is still no gold and he quits digging.
He tries to recoup some of his losses by selling the machinery he purchased and the land that he owned, but he gets much less than he paid for it. The guy who buys the machinery hires a professional gold prospector and they determine that the gold vein is just several feet away from where the original man had stopped digging, and after just a few minutes of digging they strike gold worth millions.
The next level that you have been waiting for might be just one more step away…
So the other day I am in the gym and I am doing deadlifts; the weight is heavy and I feel like calling it quits, but I keep pushing through and get one final rep. I almost passed out because it was so difficult. And then I started thinking about the math of one more rep.
If you lift 3 days per week and you do one more rep on each exercise, then over the course of several years you end up doing thousands of extra reps!
One more rep doesn’t do much for you, but when you combine all the extra reps you have done over many years it equates to hundreds, or thousands of extra hours in the gym.
Now of course sometimes you have to draw the line and stop your workout, but what if you pushed just a little further than you thought you were capable of each and every single day.
What if you completed one extra assignment at work each day? What if you made one extra phone call to friends or family each day? What if you said one more nice thing to your spouse each day?
The power of one more rep doesn’t mean much if you only do it once, but if you do it every single time you work then those reps add up into many more workouts and reps.
Of course there are always diminishing returns.
In the beginning things always come easier. When you are motivated and excited to work out and lose weight it’s like the weight falls off, but when your progress slows down and it starts getting tougher we start freaking out.
The beginning sucks because it takes all of this effort to overcome the inertia of your stagnation, but once you get past that initial hump it’s like everything takes off. You are inspired, pumped up, experiencing success, and full of vigor, at least until you hit the wall.
Its when you hit that wall…when you just can’t lift one more rep, or when you just don’t feel like you can go on another day: that is usually when success is truly right around the corner.
So the next time things are tough remember the man who almost struck gold and push out one more rep, do one more assignment, push for one second longer.
“We are in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me; and we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time.You find out that life is just a game of inches.So is football. Because in either gamelife or football the margin for error is so small.I mean one half step too late or to early you don’t quite make it.One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it.The inches we need are everywhere around us.They are in ever break of the game every minute, every second. When we add up all those inches that’s going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING. I’ll tell you this: in any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch, because that is what LIVING is.The six inches in front of your face.” Al Pacino Any Given Sunday
So push one more inch, take on more step, dig one more shovel full, push out one more rep, because when you add them up they will create your success.
Don’t give up, don’t quit, and don’t ask for things to get easier because these difficult moments, these challenges and tribulations will turn you into the person that you are destined to become.
If you are ready to push out one more rep and finally create your own personal success in life…
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