I’ve always wanted to write every day. I’ve just never had the discipline or consistency to do so… until now.
People have always told me that they liked my writing. Whether it was a blog post, an essay, a comment, or even a text message, I’ve always been reminded that I have a way with words, and my friends and family have encouraged me to put that talent to use.
I’ve also (coincidentally) been listening to a lot of Les Brown lately, and one concept in particular has stood out to me: the fast ball. It’s a fantastic concept, and I owe my last 21 days of consistency are almost entirely to this simple idea.
The Fast Ball
It goes like this: every person in life has a skill that they’re naturally gifted at. A baseball player might have their fast ball (a type of throw, for those of you less baseball-inclined). You might have computer programming. In my case, it’s writing.
Les Brown’s assertion is that most people go through life never nurturing that talent to the fullest.
The baseball players never nurture their fast ball because their coaches tell them that they need diversity on the field. That they need to have options, fallbacks in case their first throw doesn’t cut it.
You might not nurture your programming skill because it’s only a small component of your job. Maybe you only need it one hour a day, on average — the other seven hours are spent on other tasks that you’re less talented at and less passionate about.
I haven’t nurtured my writing because I have had so many other things to do. Videos to create, lectures to make, businesses to run, and so on. Things pulling at me from all sides that I thought were more important. I consciously neglected my talent because I told myself I had to prioritize — I had to worry about the here and now first.
I used to think this was a necessary part of life. That diversity in everything was, in general, a good idea. You should always have a Plan A, a Plan B, a plan C, and so on.
But after seeing the fruits of single-minded focus, I don’t believe in that any longer.
Anybody that’s truly ever been great — anyone that’s ever truly changed the world with their skills, or improved the quality of life of the rest of their brothers and sisters — has been single minded. Diversity isn’t even on their radar. They don’t care about developing a plethora of mediocre baseball throws… they become the best in the world at their fast ball.
They work night and day to achieve their goals. They shed blood, sweat, and tears over it. At times, they work so hard that they forget to eat. And at night, they don’t just drift into dreamless sleep; they’re kept awake by terrorizing visions of success and the looming threat of failure.
I want to become great. I want to improve the lives of my brothers and sisters. Many of you do as well. So why are we spending so much of our time in the pursuit of having options? Of having diversity? Wouldn’t it be better to stake everything on our one skill? If it works, we get to live the life we’ve always dreamed of… and more. If it doesn’t, then at least we spent our time doing that which we were passionate about — which is more than fulfilling enough.
Not to mention the added benefit: if we remove the possibility of a Plan B, you and I will work twice as hard to achieve Plan A. Because there’s no alternative! We need it to work, and we’ll make it happen through whatever means possible. There is nothing more physically formidable than a man backed against the wall, and the same is true of our ability to produce, whether it’s a baseball throw, a piece of software, or an article.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Up until this point in my life, I’ve never been able to do anything consistently for 21 days in a row.
But after writing an article per day for 21 days, I can confidently say that I have turned writing into a habit of mine. And, contrary to what I used to believe, I don’t dread doing it every day — I quite enjoy the process!
I look forward to it every morning when I wake up, and I can’t help but thinking about it before I go to sleep the night before. I tell my friends all about it, and I send articles to my family every week.
My writing presence is still very small — my blog doesn’t get more than a hundred hits per week — but I have a deep sense of purpose and desire that I’ve never had before. It’s weird to think that sense of purpose was only 33,920 words away this whole time!
In summary: find your fast ball. Work on it. Then work on it some more. You’ll surprise yourself by achieving more than you ever thought possible.