So what is FOCUS anyways?

manifesto-focus

Elite athletes seem to have the focus of a rock. Nothing can shake them. Distractions or just a general short attention span are however a major problem in society.

I know this for a fact. I leave for home after a long hard day fully intent on doing what I need to do. Then I hit traffic with dumbasses that skip red lights, sit for ages behind green lights, change lanes without indicating, drive like lunatics, drive glacial speed, drive in the emergency lane, or quite simply push in illegally to avoid lines. Then I get home and realize I have no food. I also have no money. Also there are 10 days until payday.

So I crawl back out to my car, battle with more idiots on the road to the shops, get something cheap, crap and barely filling for tonight and crawl back home. I shovel it down my throat and it’s already 8.30pm. Just as I’m about to do something useful my bed and the internet have a competition to see who can summon me the best. “Coooome to meeeee. Look at my warm and lovely blankets and pillows! My friend the internet is here with all those cats you like to watch…” Then before you know it the clock strikes 10.30pm and you need to rush to close your eyes so you can squeeze in enough sleep for tomorrow. And so goes the next day. And the one after that. And then all the other days until you are dead.

In reality if you ate properly your grocery bill would be less. If your job does not pay enough for you to afford groceries like my current job does then change! Apply for something else. These days promotions are like truthful politicians, they only exist for a rare few moments and are revealed only to a handful of people. Rather change companies than wait for what does not really happen unless someone dies and the boss doesn’t have friends or family also looking for a job.

Earn your TV and internet time minute for minute with exercise. Do you really need to spend 3 hours on Buzzfeed looking at fails and cat videos?

 

  • Plan ahead. Get groceries on the weekend.
  • Make sure you have enough sleep every night, not just some nights.

 

If you can do these things you are already going to improve your focus before spending any time on practicing it. The important thing is to have consistent focus. You can’t look like you’ll shatter glass with your thoughts one moment then look completely lost the next. Inconsistent focus means inconsistent performance. A professional athlete will have a high level of QUALITY focus. (I mean professional not in terms they get paid but in terms they are serious about what they do).

A professional athlete is:

  1. Able to switch focus on and off as required
  2. Not distracted by other’s performance or their own distractions
  3. Able to remain fully focused on the task in the face of competition-specific distraction
  4. Able to regain psychological control following unexpected events

 

But what is focus? A dictionary entry may tell you that it is “The center of interest or activity”. So what you are doing is diverting the majority of your conscious brain power towards a specific task. In computing terms you will want more of the machine’s problem-solving skills to go towards the task you want done the most. It is putting energy behind the most important task at that point in time. If you try running too many programs at once or taking on a single large task for which the computer is not suited, you can come up with all sorts of errors or the computer may freeze.

Your brain is a complex biological computer. It uses bioelectrical impulses to send and store information. You need to treat it in a similar fashion. A brain can be programmed as easily as a computer in some instances. Focus is something that needs to be trained like any muscle.

When you see a professional athlete out there on the field it seems they are hardly working at all. They spot gaps you never even saw. They seem to move and flow instinctively and make snap decisions. This all comes from many hours of focused training. The illusion of effortless work is from movement intention and trained response.

When actors do an improve scene it is not all as unplanned as you may think. They set out within certain boundaries and work from there. Movement intention is the plan to do a scene about a newsroom. You have your players decided out beforehand with a rough personality guide. The scene is set as a newsroom with the already preconceived ideas of what is expected in a news broadcast.  Their movements and characters will be based on the scene, the expected responses and actions of someone in such a scene then finally what their character may be expected to do based on their personality.

Trained response comes from their ability to make snap decisions and judgments then take action. It’s all about quickly adapting to a changing scenario. This response is naturally trained in every session. Each person is given many tools to carry out a job. These are like files stored with useful information on a computer. A well-trained individual will have done mock-tests of their skills throughout a season where they are encouraged and rewarded for taking risks and showing initiative. Because it’s not about the amount of skills you have to offer, it is the ability to recall these skills on demand. That is why improv theatre looks so fluid.

The actors have been taught various acting techniques in their career. They have life experience of many everyday scenes. Then in practice their teacher encourages them to be “experimental” and push the boundaries of what is possible in human emotion, action and reaction. Combine those together and you get someone who in an instant can visualize what may come next in an improv scene.

The same happens in soccer for example. A player learns ball handling, avoiding other players, fitness and accuracy. With playing practice games they can come to see patterns in play that will require certain responses. All of that leads up to that fantastic goal they eventually score in a tightly contested match.

Focus is trained in every session regardless of what you are doing. It is the whole reason behind a successful session. Each time you do a task you need to focus on JUST what is at hand. Yes you may need to focus on multiple items at once. A soccer player may be required to have a good idea of the location of all the players on the pitch. BUT the player is still thinking of soccer, not of the Candy Crush game they didn’t finish before the whistle blew.

So here are some focus-related tips to look out for:

 

Choose to focus on what is relevant

Many people feel exhausted in the day. When they are at work they worry about not spending enough time with family. When they are with family they worry about doing more work to look after their family. They are never in the now. No wonder they are so tired, their mind is always travelling! You would not run 50 tabs in Internet Explorer at the same time. It is too much to process therefore nothing gets done. Your mind is the same way. When you are at work, BE AT WORK. Not just in body but in mind too. Same thing for home too. When you spend time with friends, actually enjoy their company. Put away your damned phone and actually talk to another human being. Stop being like a cat who wishes to go outside then cries to be inside when finally let out. Your social media is like a drug you use to make you feel self worth. Each status update is a cry for someone to notice you. Every comment is a pat on your back. Rather prioritize and actually enjoy REAL human interaction and validation. Pick what is important in this moment that will actually make you a better person and focus on that.

 

Practice Eye control

If you are decided in what you will focus on, your eyes should follow suit. By practicing to keep your eyes on the task you already avoid most of the distractions that could trip up your focus. So you are trying to study and someone is playing that movie you like in the lounge. The second you look at the screen is when you are trapped. Like Medusa, do not look! If you choose to look at the distraction it becomes and interruption. It turns your productivity to stone. The important thing here is CHOICE. I am not saying that you will not have distractions. Sometimes no matter how hard you try you will be painfully aware of what is around you. But the choice is to not look. Some MMA fighters walking out the tunnel to the ring have the hats snatched off their heads by fans. They don’t even flinch. If they choose to walk on without changing stride then they have taken away no energy that should be used on their opponent. If that guy had to look at the twit who snatched at his head, then they have chosen to let it affect them. One day after you have been vigilant in practicing eye control, you will realize the outside distractions simply no longer existed in your mind. Someone will ask you, “Wow did you see that guy dressed funny in the crowd?” and you will reply, “What crowd?”

 

Accept poor performance

You will make a mistake. There will be a fault in your performance. Even a gold medallist will say, “I messed up here and there.” You have to acknowledge the fault in the moment and move on. If you pretend it didn’t happen at all then it will repeat. If you obsess over it then you are no longer in the game and more mistakes will be made. So learn to move quickly. Accept something happened. Shake it off. Aim to focus back on the basics for a second or two to refocus on the game (likely a reason for the mistake) then find a quick solution to fixing it if you can. This entire process happens in about 5 seconds or less. When the event is done that is time to really chew over the specifics of your performance.

 

Establish a routine

The right trigger, like Pavlov’s dogs and the bell, can really help move you into the right physical and mental state. Some people use the time when they kit up to establish the mindset. “I am getting dressed. I am putting on my armour. I am getting ready for this battle. Ok body, time to do your job.” Simple, easy and effective. As explained earlier, establish a warm-up and preparation routine. A routine allows you to slowly progress from a fun, light-hearted person into a warrior. The progression is a mental one more than a physical one. Yes a warm-up is useful for a game. But the switch over from ‘chilling on the bench’ mentality to ‘let’s compete’ is the main idea. Use self-talks, a warm-up, visualizations, and team chants, basically anything that works for you. Experiment in training with what works. There should be a build up in the routine. Start it slow and end off with a bang. By the time you have gone through your routine you should be chomping at the bit, ready to take on the challenge.

 

Create key words

Often performance can drop in a team. People get tired, mistakes can happen. Things are even harder when you are on your own. Key words are those performance focus-points and motivational boosts of NOS as described in the motivation chapter. These are not long sentences. It is not a speech. It is the sometimes breathless word said either to yourself or to the team. “I’m with you.” “I’ve got you.” “Let’s do this.” “We can take this.” “Gain the ground.” All of these are examples of motivational things that can be said. Short and sweet with no room for interpretation, negativity or energy wastage. In rowing we used technical phrases to cement focus on specific parts of the technique. “On the legs.” “Finish strong” “”Drive the legs” “Quick hands.” Now each sport can come up with the same kind of thing. If you are a well-oiled machine of a team or athlete, hearing these phrases can help in performance, not annoy you. However be careful with the timing of the keywords and make sure you are not coming across as a coach on the field of play.

 

Focus only on what you can control

Remember the extent of your control in life is very limited. Under ‘Fortifying Yourself’ I discussed how you only have some things you can prepare for. Write down a list of what you are able to directly influence. Your personal performance should be one of the few things. The weather, the field of play, the opponents, the equipment, spectators and even something as silly as the noise level is all something you have zero control over. You need to come up with strategies for the most likely scenarios to face you on the day. Outside of that then there are still many unexpected events that can occur. Mid-game equipment failure or a team mate suddenly injured and taken off the pitch are utterly unforeseeable. Yes you may have done all your equipment checks or learned injury prevention but it certainly does not stop it from happening. Focus on what is within your control, stay calm and move on.

 

Learn to love the pressure

In sports and life you will feel stressed, pressured, tired and sore. That is existence. Sport just amplifies the everyday. You are an oxidative creature, meaning you need oxygen to function. When something is getting a little hairy, stop the adrenalin rushing through your veins. Stop yourself for a second (ok well don’t stop moving, in some sports that will be the end if you do that.) Take a deep breath, close your eyes, shake out your thoughts and if you can shake out your shoulders as well. Pressure can make you strong or it can make you crack. You can be an eggshell or you can be a piece of coal. Either you crumble or you become a diamond. Learn to love the pain. Learn to love the pressure. Make them your friends and you will never be alone in live. Walk hand in hand with them, acknowledge their existence. Work with them. Just do not make pressure and pain become your masters as that is when you will fail.

 

Focus is about 2 things only, breathing and choice. You must feed your brain with oxygen. You must make sure you are breathing well and not tensing up your shoulders. Give yourself a second to make a choice. This choice is the most important part of focus you can have. You decide what you will spend your energy on. You decide on how you will react to a situation. You set your routines; you design your key words. Choice is what makes diamonds under pressure, not a heap of collapsed athlete.

Understanding the limits of the mind vs. the body

mental vs physical

There have been many studies undertaken to try see what markers there are that can indicate performance levels that can be reached. What scientists all agree on is that we are no closer to predicting who will make a good athlete than we were a few years ago.

There have been tests on muscle mass, muscle composition, fitness tests and now VO2 max. Yet not one of them has shown who will win in competition with any more accuracy than flipping a coin. Professor Tim Noakes has shown his apprehension in relying on the VO2 max test for good reason.

Previous models on VO2 max work no the assumption that when the muscles themselves get tired, the chemical processes that occur set a limit on how much oxygen they consume. Once you reach your limit exercise should therefore stop. But what about athletes who run for a very long time at a slow pace. They do not reach their maximum oxygen uptake yet still ‘hit the wall’ about 65-85% of the way in the race.

To those who do not know, the wall is a term for a psychological phenomenon where you are utterly convinced that you are in so much pain that exercise should stop all together. Most athletes describe this feeling as sudden, painful and utterly exhausting both mentally and physically. Yet almost all of these athletes go on to break through the wall and get their second wind. So how can a model based on maximal oxygen uptake explain how an athlete seemingly completely exhausted can then continue on exercising?

A.V Hill conducted experiments on himself in 1923 around VO2 max and his erroneous finds that oxygen consumption peaked just as exercise was ceases have been the basis of many other research papers. However Tim Noakes came across a paragraph in Hill’s research that basically stated that the deciding factor for how long or hard exercise may continue for is determined largely by the capacity of the heart.

However if the heart then limits exercise, what limits the heart? The brain is the central governor, ensuring all life processes are kept in check. Every organism fights to keep homeostasis; everything the same at constant levels. Any disturbance to the system will be responded to automatically by the brain. The brain also constantly ensures it keeps itself supplied with oxygen and nutrients. The instant the brain gets signals from the heart that oxygen levels are dropping; it is a warning sign that the heart will have a reduced capacity to pump oxygenated blood through the body. The failure of blood to flow to the brain would be catastrophic. So any person exercising at their maximum left unchecked by the brain could suffer from a heart attack, muscles that go into rigor and unconsciousness.

Therefore when the muscles start working, the brain calculates the rate of oxygen consumption and the estimated time until the heart will no longer be able to pump sufficient oxygenated blood through the body. The heart itself cannot be slowed in itself. The blood flow requirements set by the working muscles MUST be met. The heart is a simple pump; the controls are all in the brain. In order to reduce the work required by the heart, it is important to shut down some of the muscles that require blood.

When you have a water piping system, you do not want to rapidly reduce the output of the pump because the pressure in the system would drop too dramatically. So what you rather do is seal off valves to areas that are not vital to have the water pumped to them. This will allow you to maintain the correct pressure in the vital areas without damaging the pump or the water pipes.

This is exactly what happens with your heart. As exercise continues, the brain will do everything to ensure the integrity of the system. The heart output will not drop. However the brain will turn off strings of muscle fibres so that the heart no longer has to work as hard.

This central governor model is still not widely accepted. However it is naive to think that each system in the body is running independently. Also it is proven that the brain is the only system that governs how the entire body runs. All the organs in the body run as one complex system controlled solely by the brain. No single physiological system will ever be used at or beyond its maximum or that system would fail, thus leading to the failure of other systems. Any system failure could lead to death and the brain will simply not allow it. The entire role of the brain is to act as a control center keeping us alive as long as possible.

Our bodies do have limits that can be increased with training. The type and amount of training taken part in as well as a person’s genetics plays a large part in the outcome of a program. Your muscles will increase their size, strength and efficiency. Your lungs will become more efficient in processing oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Your heart will grow bigger and stronger, thus increasing its output. When you train you increase the upper limit of what your body has to offer. Your brain senses these limits and uses it to protect the body.

Climbers at altitude for example have blood lactate levels that are no higher than what they would be at sea level. However what has been seen in studies is that the average heart rates of climbers on Mount Everest are normally around 120 beats per minute. You can get that by just having a light jog at sea level. The overall output of their hearts is much lower in addition to beating slower. Yet the exhaustion levels of these people are rated as extreme.  The climbers are working at a level they perceive to be immensely taxing, yet their lactate levels are average and their heart is not working as hard. The only conclusion is that the body is reducing the number of muscle fibres it is recruiting in order to save the heart in this oxygen-depleted environment.

The muscles still need to work hard, and the working muscles still need to be fuelled. So the amount of muscles being used gets reduced in order to keep the heart working at a level where it still can supply enough oxygenated blood.

Exhaustion has also been linked to the depletion of glycogen in the muscles. No athlete tested has ever completely finished their store of glycogen. That would mean system failure and subsequent system collapse. Your brain will always monitor the glycogen and oxygen in the body and ensure levels are sufficient for the continuation of life. Stored glycogen and the transportation of oxygen are products of training and genetics. You can train as much as you like but if you are born with the wrong genetic code you will be limited in what you can do. Training cannot put in what genetics left out. The combination of the two is what sets the physiological limits that your body can do. Your brain merely ensures that you don’t die by going over that limit.

You do not get tired because of lactic acid (it is in fact a fuel that allows you to continue exercising even if it burns.) You get tired because your brain says so, and if it didn’t you’d run the risk of dying each time you exercised. Fatigue is independent of the amount of time you have been exercising. Rather it is an indicator of how hard the brain perceives you are working.

The brain can calculate how long you will be exercising for based on previous experiences. It then will determine the maximum pace you will be able to go safely. The brain takes into account your physiological potential, expected duration of the activity, the environmental conditions, and your previous experiences. Ask any athlete when they are at their most tired. It will always be at the very end of the event right before they finish. The brain has planned for it to be this way.

This is anther reason why you regularly need to complete mock-sessions of the event you will compete in during practice. It allows the brain to gain greater experience in the timeframe the body is required to work for. This allows the brain to make more accurate calculations for energy expenditure, thereby increasing performance. Visualization also gives your brain this ability.

No scientist actually knows how the sensation of fatigue is actually created, or in what part of the brain it comes from. This is why ‘the wall’ is such a strange phenomenon. It is an attempt to allow oxygen levels to increase again and for muscle fuel to be replenished. Many people time after time will break through that first debilitating feeling of fatigue and find their second wind. This happens without any system failure or the complete depletion of glycogen. Marathon runners only use about 30-50% of the muscle fibres in their legs however are still reporting immense levels of fatigue near the end of the race. Despite this, many athletes have gone on to produce amazing race-end sprints at their most fatigued.

It is not that what happens in the muscles is unimportant, it s just that the brain is the one that sends out the message, “I am tired.” The wall is the brain’s warning light popping on, warning your consciousness of what the body is going through. A key discovery in science was the role of self-belief and goals. Simply by cementing intent in the mind, the sensation of fatigue can be delayed. But more importantly, the brain has to believe it can do what the body has been set out to do.

Take for example the mile running race on a track (1600m). For years people said nobody would ever be able to run it in under 4 minutes. This magic 4-minute mile was a barrier nobody could break. Then came along Roger Bannister in 1954 and clocked a 3min59.4sec time. Forty six days later another man did a 3min58sec mile. These days school boys are cracking the sub-4 minutes. The top 12 men at IAAF world champs are doing 1500m in 3min46secs and less. The top 4 women at the same competition are getting times of less than 4min5sec. Their times are very close to what men found impossible 50 years ago.

Dick Fosbury was a field athlete who did high jump. Instead of leaping over the bar forwards like his competitors, he went over the bar backwards. He developed the style in high school and it simply worked for him. He was laughed at until he went on to easily win gold at the 1968 Olympics. These days nobody does anything but the Fosbury Flop.

It isn’t always so much about the physiological limits set by training and genetics. Fosbury and Bannister’s belief that they could do something was what ultimately lead them to do so.

Having a winning performance is as much mental game as it is physical one. It is one thing to push hard, do your personal best and all of that. If you want to be in the front however, you have to get used to being very uncomfortable. It is a highly pressured and lonely place to be. Winning hurts a lot, and isn’t actually very fun until you have crossed the finish line. Because if you are producing a real winning result, you are working to the highest level your body can handle. All of this while trying to keep your mind from shutting you down.

There is a defined limit on how much your body can handle which is set by genetics and the training program you follow. However the only way to truly reach the end of your capacity is with the engagement and support of your mind. You will not die from a little pain in training. You will pass out in a race/event before you drop dead. Your mind is the one telling you to slow down because it wants to run according to its conservative calculations.

We still do not know what the human limit is; because every time we believe we know where the line is drawn someone goes past it. Also science is yet to discover any markers that could predict athletic performance in humans. All we know is how to evolve training plans and look for people who at least vaguely fit the body type for the sport. The only limiting factor we still have no clue about is the brain.

The central governor theory is still a wide open field. We have yet to crack open what makes an athlete into a Olympian, even though we understand a few factor that are involved. Your body is a motor with the ability to have retro-fitted upgrades. It can be serviced, improved and worked to its limit. It is your mind that acts like the engine management chip. If you allow the brain to limit performance no amount of conscious effort can make your muscles move.  The mind and body are linked, therefore to truly improve the one you need to improve the other.

The verdict? The body is the vehicle to get you from A-B but the mind is driver. You cannot have true success with only one or the other.

Gratitude

gratitude cartoon

My least favourite saying is “You can’t be unhappy with what you have as others have it worse.” By the same stretch of logic then you cannot ever be happy because others have it better than you. Gratitude is certainly NOT about settling for something and merely ‘making do’ with what you have.

Gratitude and appreciation is fast becoming a magical fairy tale. To be honest I am not sure if they exist anymore. People simply do not practice this attitude at all. Working in the service industry has shown me how wrapped up people are in their own lives. Countless customers walk in and believe you are some sort of mechanical object or a road sign designed to simply stand in place for their personal use.

The biggest things I have learned are:

  • People do not understand that they are not the center of the universe. The people you deal with are not bit-players in your life story. Each person you encounter is a completely unique and self-contained story in itself.
  • To waste your time is easy. To waste another person’s time is even easier. Yes we are all meant to be of service to others but we are not servants. Realize that time is important to another person too, even if you aren’t in a hurry.
  • Being offended is your own problem. Taking offense is the equivalent of getting your panties in a bunch over something someone said or did that actually has not harmed you or your property in any way. However, a self-aware person will understand that there are sensitive twits out there with zero emotional control. It is up to you to not get upset over nothing as well as being aware to not do something stupid to offend other stupid people.
  • Treat everyone with the same base level of respect. Any deviation from there is earned. No matter who the person is you should treat them the same. Any behavioural change is based on how this person over a period of time then treats you in return.
  • Learn how to say thank you and actually mean it.
  • Learn how to say sorry and actually mean it. Then take steps to fix what you did wrong. A real apology is followed up by action.
  • Show people that you acknowledge their existence and appreciate what they are doing.

You can start being grateful for your own life by first of all thanking those around you who make a contribution to it. Appreciate that they have their own hopes and dreams. Understand they would have at least 10 things in their mind that they’d rather be doing other than helping you. It takes nothing from you to just say ‘hi’ and ‘thank you’. You don’t even need to do the whole fake “How are you” crap. Nobody really will say how they really feel. I can ask anyone anywhere on the planet and they will tell me they are fine. Just simply acknowledge that you would be nowhere without the help of others.

You will never have the best of everything and at times life will suck immensely. If you don’t like your life then you have to take steps towards fixing it. What you can do it make the best of what you have now. It is not the same a settling. If you settle for what you have then things will never change. Acceptance of the present allows you to take advantage of what you do have.

Just ask yourself:

  • Do you have a working voice?
  • Can you walk?
  • Can you see?
  • Can you hear?
  • What are you good at doing?
  • Who do you know that can give assistance in a certain matter?
  • Are you strong?
  • Are you smart?
  • Are you a hard worker?
  • Are you good at selling either yourself or a product?
  • Can you write?

These are just some assets you have at your disposal. If you can talk maybe you can learn to sing. Perhaps you can present a show on radio or television. Maybe you might be able to get a job as a call center agent until you can do what you really want to.

If you have a functioning body perhaps you can do sports. Maybe there is a job that requires your strength? If there are no jobs available perhaps you can make one doing garden work.

You have a lot to be grateful for. You have some tools already that can be used to get the finer things in life. There is no reason why you can’t take your gratitude and appreciation of your crappy low-paying job and perhaps turn it into something you actually would really want in your life. J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter when she was unemployed and going through a dark period in her life. She says today that she wants to stay in Britain and pay her taxes as she is highly appreciative for what welfare allowed her to accomplish. At the time when she couldn’t make ends meet and was suffering from depression she decided to be grateful for what she did have and aimed for something better.

The best way to develop this attitude in your life is through constant repetition. Say to yourself what you are glad to have in your life. Perhaps think back 2-5 years and remember what nasty things used to be in your life that no longer exists for you. It is extremely hard to do this.

Right now as I write this I am in a job that pays me less than what it costs to actually work at this job. If I weren’t still being supported by my father I’d either have to stay in a drug den or on the streets if I wanted to be able to eat 3 meals a day. But if I look back it is the best paying job I’ve had so far. And looking in the present in South Africa there is a 50% unemployment rate for those between the ages of 16 to 25.

I have to be grateful that I actually have a job when I know I actually have a 50/50 chance of surviving. I must be appreciative that I am gaining experience that I can use to move to a better company in a few months time. However I am not obliged to accept what I have now. Under no circumstances must I ever settle for this financially-drowning life I have now. I do not deserve this, therefore I have to work and prove I can earn what I really need in my life.

Through sport I find a lot to be grateful for. I have a place in a group with greater accomplishments than I do. I can make a meaningful contribution to the lives of others. I can directly reap the rewards of any hard work I put in. Through sport I can use many lessons from it to improve upon my attitude.

So each day, when things feel a little overwhelming I have to stop and think of a few things.

  • I will start the day with intent. I say to myself “I will do something to improve myself and further my goals each day.”
  • I insist on finding at least one thing to do in the day that is purely for selfish enjoyment purposes. Be it some time playing video games or going to the gym. I will do something that brings me joy.
  • Sometimes you have to stop and think of how lucky you are to know what you do or be able to do what you can. Think of something you take for granted. Not even something as obvious as walking. Perhaps you can sing, change a tire, train a dog to follow commands or even be able to convince someone of a totally ridiculous fact. Many will never do what you can, and some will never get the chance. Just imagine one thing that makes you happy and think of someone who will ever have the chance to do it.
  • Understand that things come to pass, not to stay. This stage too shall be over in your life one day.
  • Work on your weaknesses. Use them, don’t hide them as they will come back to bite you. Admit when you need help. Pretending you are better than you are does everyone a disservice.

You may hate what you do now, but you don’t know how it may shape the future you are building for yourself. Work with what you have, not against it. Understand there will always be someone better than you in something, and there will always be someone who is so much worse than you that you’ll actually feel sorry for them.

Be grateful.

Be appreciative.

Thank those who are helping you get to where you need to be.