How are you? Pretty good. Fine.
I've said and heard these words so many times I don't even notice them anymore. Often, they are polite responses to polite social questions.
What if we lived a life that made these responses simply untrue? What would life be like if we approached everything we did the same way a world-class athlete approaches their sport?
I'm not suggesting that being a world-class parent, employee, boss, student, or any other role we fill has anything to do with breaking world record times or qualifying for the Olympics. But, there is a certain mindset that is absolutely necessary for athletes to compete at a world-class level. What if we brought that mindset to our ordinary lives? We would have a hard time responding with ordinary answers.
Keep the Machine Healthy
While the human body and mind are more than just simple machines, if they aren't taken care of, everything we do suffers. Eating healthy and keeping the body physically fit are invaluable keys to living a world-class life.
Let's go for arguably the most important one: sleep. When I was growing up, I often hear phrases like, "Sleep when you die," or "The early bird gets the worm," (assuming the early bird went to bed early). Sure, I pulled an all-nighter in college. Sleeping in on the weekend was "just being lazy."
Scientists have been studying sleep for a long time now. Here's the deal. The verdict is in. In general, adult human beings need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Period. You might be thinking to yourself, "I get by just fine on 4 to 5 hours per night or less!" How much better would your life be if your body and mind got the rest they needed? Do you want "fine" or "world-class?"
Know Your Limits
Get honest about the things you can do and the things you can't do. I can organize myself and the clients I work with like a boss! I cannot, however, do very much to fix my car. Sure, I can change a flat tire and connect the jumper cables to a dead battery, but that's about it.
When it comes to auto repair, I have two choices: pay my mechanic friend, who does an excellent job or learn to do it myself. The time it would take me to develop that kind of auto repair skill is far more valuable to me than the $300 it would cost to fix the car.
Done deal! He fixes cars. I can't and am not willing to invest the time and energy to learn. I organize peoples' calendars. That's where my time goes. Yes, I've helped him out with his calendar, too.
Get a Mentor
Mentors are everywhere. It can be very beneficial to have access to someone, in person, who can help you through the slings and arrows of your chosen endeavor. Unfortunately, finding that kind of mentor sometimes isn't possible for a long list of reasons.
It's easier than ever to come in contact with the greatest minds that the world has ever known, living or deceased. I would be hard-pressed to think of a book by a great historical thinker that hasn't been translated in English, and probably available on an audiobook.
As far as potential mentors who are still alive, we pretty much have our pick. Find someone who embodies the qualities that you want and spend time with them, even virtually. Read their books, watch their videos, listen to their podcasts, and expose yourself to anything else you can find authored by them. Send them an email, comment on their blog, attend a live event if you can.
Jim Rohn is often quoted as saying, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." What kind of person do you want to be? Who do you spend time with?
Mentors are everywhere. Use your imagination and a little creativity and you will find them wherever you look. Take your pick.
It's Not Easy
World-class athletes breathe rarified air. Winning a gold medal or a world championship is tough. Here's the good news. We don't have to compete for a spot on the Olympic team to be a world-class human. It's right in front of us. Every. Single. Day. It's not easy. No one ever said it was going to be.
However, when you look back on the legacy of your life, do you want to see a life that was fine or a life worthy of being called world-class?