“Lebron is self motivated. He’s a special dude. He’s always going to stay in a state of uncomfortableness.”
A few weeks ago while watching ESPN, I saw Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra talking on Media Day. While watching, he made the above comment about Lebron James which really stuck with me. It’s such a simple thing, but something we rarely do…as athletes, and as people.
Comfort breeds mediocrity
No one likes to suck at anything. We do the things we are good at day in and day out, but rarely try to learn or improve on things we are bad at. It’s lazy human nature to be comfortable. The problem is, you can never become great at something if you don’t push the boundaries. Take someone like Lebron, who I must now admit begrudgingly as a huge Lakers/Kobe fan, is currently the best player in the league. While he could rest on his laurels, he is still pushing himself, saying “I want to get better. I want to maximize everything I can and not waste an opportunity each and every day to compete and get better as a player. I want to be the best, you have to push the button sometimes.”(1)
Imagine that. The best player in the league, the one who has the best excuse for staying in his comfort zone and coasting, is still continuously pushing his limits and being uncomfortable. It is truly a trait all the great ones have. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. The hard part is following through with doing it. At OA, that is something we constantly strive for. Constantly being in an uncomfortable state. It’s all about strengthening the weaknesses so eventually, there will be none. Whether it is mental toughness, power, strength, conditioning, etc. you should always be pushing the limits and doing things you hate doing, not the things you’re good at and love doing.
Do it now
About 6-7 years ago, I had my first fight. I felt great, trained hard, and was ready to go. Unfortunately, at one point in the fight, I ended up on my back in guard with literally no idea of how to get up. I remember staying there for 2 or 3 minutes just hoping the round would end soon. Thankfully, I still won the fight, but what I learned was far greater. In my training, I did everything I could to stay off my back, without ever working ON my back. I immediately went back to training and made myself uncomfortable. No matter who I trained with, I started on my back and worked from there. Was it uncomfortable at first? Absolutely. But, I learned a valuable lesson and added a new skill to my arsenal.
This applies to so many things. Are you a football player who’s lightning fast but can’t play more than 4 downs before getting tired? Be uncomfortable with your conditioning. A wrestler who’s super quick on the outside, but dreads locking up with an opponent? Be uncomfortable with your clinch game and strength training. A hockey player who is a wizard with the puck but the slowest on the ice? Get uncomfortable with your speed training. The list goes on and on. Make your weaknesses your strength and your strength’s stronger. What will you do to be uncomfortable today?