(If you’ve dipped your toes in the water, and like how it feels) do the favor of allowing yourself to obsess over physical performance for at least one period of your life.
I’m not talking about downing a pre-workout and moving 10% faster in a 10-minute conditioning piece. I’m talking about the non-glamorous details that lead to true advancement and markedly improved performance. Address the areas that hurt the most (pain is part of the process) and indulge the things that drive you nuts (they’re speaking to you for a reason); deep-water, high-level improvement only comes through listening to the voices you don’t want to hear.
Exception to that statement: Those fully-fueled by the act of completion of a physical task (with composition as an afterthought) or largely driven by receipt of a pat-on-the-back for simply managing to finish it; If you’re content with the shallow end, and more motivated by acclaim/ recognition than self-evaluation/ evolution, it’s better to stay out and make way for those with the mettle to jump in deep.
Very similarly to the pursuit of any type of mastery, fixation on performance requires an abandoning of convenience. Nothing about moving past what you are naturally good at, what your body is comfortable with, or what your mind has you convinced is your true potential is easy, but the closer your arm moves to the flame the more you learn about yourself. And, physically or otherwise, the more we know about, trust, and believe in ourselves the greater our chance of achieving excellence in any of our chosen paths.
It all begins with some flavor of obsession.
If our potential and capacity stay trapped in a little box wrapped and bound by convenience, fear, ego, self-deception, or even group-deception, they will forever be the prey, and never the predator. They will be the frightened child, huddled in the dark, wondering what the monster in the closet really looks like.
It doesn’t have to be profoundly unhealthy or permanent, but if we are never imbalanced in favor of tedious details and hard-earned progress, and ferociously driven by strain and struggle (and the satisfaction they bring when pushed to their limits), you will never really know which version of yourself lives at the end of that tunnel- And that is something no strong-minded person should ever die wondering.
– Greg Walsh