The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Patching Cracks


August 15, 2018

One of my favorite quotes from the boxer Muhammad Ali is about training: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” I have a good friend who says it a bit differently: “Training is better than trying hard.”

The idea behind this is simple: the key to becoming good at anything is training. Exerting effort every day over the course of months and years accumulates into excellence that cannot be matched by putting effort forward in the moment. When I worked with kids in Indiana, I presented the idea in this way: “If you went out to run a marathon today, racing against another guy who trains every day to run marathons, could you beat him?

What if you tried as hard as you possibly could and believed in yourself?” I would often find that kids would tell me that they could win, despite never running anywhere, ever. However, the majority realized that simply trying really hard isn’t enough to enable them to do a 26-mile run without preparation, much less beating a seasoned athlete in the process.

This seems like an obvious concept, but it’s easy to forget when it comes to our own life experiences. One of the most obvious versions of this is found in the weight loss and fitness industries. Diet books become best sellers by promising to help folks lose weight instantly with minimal effort. Unfortunately, if this were the case the diet book industry would put itself out of business in a couple years, and the national obesity epidemic would have been solved.

The constant promise of results without long-term effort feed into the erroneous belief that we can try hard and skip training. There’s really no mystery to losing weight and getting fit. Eating healthy and daily exercise isn’t complicated, but it is slow. It may take a year or two of daily effort to accomplish weight loss and fitness goals, but you will accomplish them through regular, long-term effort.

However, the lure of fast “trying hard” solutions keep us going back to fad solutions year after year. Another area where we see the “training vs trying hard” dynamic in our lives is in marriage and family. It’s hard to block out time every day to spend with your family.

Spending time with your wife every day or playing with your kids every day is harder than taking a family vacation to reconnect once a year or putting together a grand gesture to demonstrate your love. In reality, good parenting and a good marriage are a product of daily effort. I have known guys that never talk to their wives or put any effort into romancing them, but buy them lavish gifts every now and then.

Those same guys universally wonder why there’s so much distance in their relationships. The truth is that the grand gesture is always going to produce inferior results as opposed to exerting daily effort.

The concept can be applied in any area of our lives. For example: If you want to read more books or be more knowledgable, invest some time daily into reading or learning. If you want to learn to speak Spanish, devote time daily to learning the language.

If you want a cleaner house, devote a little time daily to cleaning. Daily training is more difficult now, but will consistently produce better outcomes.


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