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After a recent Spartan Race, I met an athlete who told me that she used to run past her competitor’s house every single morning.

Why?

She was checking in. She wanted to make sure that she was always working harder than her competition.

Hard work is the biggest competitive advantage you can get.

Nobody is great without dedication and practice. Whether your goal is to become a successful business leader or a professional athlete, winning in a highly competitive field requires extreme sacrifice. Without hard work, you can never be spectacular.

Think about everyone you admire for a second. How did these people achieve their goals? Even the most iconic figures had to work for it.

Winston Churchill devoted hours of time to writing and practicing the delivery of his speeches. Today we remember him as one of the world’s greatest orators.

Michael Jordan used to stay well after team practices ended to perfect his skills. This work ethic helped him become one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and it inspired his fellow teammates to work just as hard.

Even when others doubted the high school dropout, Bill Gates didn’t quit. He saw the potential in Microsoft and worked tirelessly in his goal to put a PC on every desk around the world.

Just like Churchill, Jordan, and Gates, most of the successful people I meet do not rest. If you want to win, you can’t rest either. Your competition is always training, learning, planning and working to be better. They’ll do whatever it takes to beat you.

Of course, there’s nothing like a little competition to inspire you to work harder.

Hard work is universal. It doesn’t matter what job you do, what industry you work in, or what skills you were born with. When you work hard, you will always get better.

Life is supposed to be uncomfortable, challenging, and sometimes even painful. But without challenges, you’ll never be pushed to improve yourself. Constant improvement is what leads to greatness. The secret is to enjoy the challenge of working towards your goals and allowing yourself to have fun in the process.

How can you become great?

Whenever I’m stuck on a project, I always ask myself, “What would an average person do right now?”

It’s a way for me to keep myself in check. I never want to be average and, if I’m doing the bare minimum, I’ll never achieve my goals. By asking this question, I can identify where I need to take it up a notch.

Each of us has the energy and determination to be whoever we want to be; we just have to be willing to fight for it.

Whenever you’re feeling stuck, I want you to ask the same question.

What do you want to be great at?

Want more hard-hitting advice on resiliency, leadership, and whole-body health?

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Aroo! 

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