By Benjamin P Hardy
There is an enormous amount of resistance to “taking shots.”
But every time you do, you make progress. Even if small progress. As Seth Godin explained, “If I fail more than you I win.”
If you fail, that means you’re actually in the game.
If you “fail,” what that means is that you’ve actually taken a shot. You’ve attempted something.
It may have been a limpy, half-hearted “shot” or attempt.
But at least you tried.
There are a few key lessons I’ve learned by “taking shots” I didn’t want to take.
These lessons have made me millions of dollars and, on the same token, cost me a great deal.
I’ve taken many shots and also avoiding many shots I could have and should have taken.
If you’re someone who wants to become very successful, here’s what you need to know:
1. There Is Always Resistance To “Shooting” (Even if you’ve done it hundreds, or thousands of times)
“The more resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you – and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”―Steven Pressfield
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done something in the past, there is always resistance to doing it again.
When you get extreme momentum, you stop heeding the resistance. You just keep your eye on the prize and keep marching forward.
Even still, if you’re doing work you genuinely care about, and if you have a goal that truly compels and excites you, then you will have resistance.
Resistance reflects how genuine you are about your craft and your future. Taking “Shots” is evidence that you’re starting to believe in that future.
2. Usually, The “Resistance” Can Be Overcome In 5 Minutes
“You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feeling yourself into action.”―Dr. Jerome Bruner, Harvard psychologist
Five minutes of hell. That’s all you need to face. Once you get going, you realize it’s not that bad.
Actually, it’s not bad at all.
You love doing this.
Not only do you love doing this, but you’re good at it. You have brilliant taste. Sure, you’re not as good as you could be. But you have a unique style and you can do this. And it’s fun once you get into it.
So just get moving and then motivation kicks-in.
3. “Shooting” Takes Courage
“Courage is where you see that you don’t need to be tossed to and fro by your external conditions. This empowerment leads you to the realization that you are a steward unto yourself, and that you alone are in charge of your own growth and success.”―Dr. David Hawkins, M.D.
If you’re doing something you truly believe in, and if you’re facing a future that scares but excites you, then it will always take courage.
The moment it stops taking courage, you’ve lost sight of your vision.
Courage is a willingness to try something that might not work. If you’re just going through the motions, then you’re replicating a process. You aren’t doing art.
True creativity is always emotional, and honest. There’s some sort of risk involved. And therefore, courage is required to take those types of shots.
Those are the shots that will take you to the next level. Not simply “doing more work.” It’s about doing the right work. The emotional, but also the helpful, work.
You’ve got to be willing to connect. According to Joe Polish, addiction and marketing expert, “In every social situation you’re in, you are either seeking to escape or connect.”
Putting work out there ― taking “shots” ― is about proactively trying to make a connection with someone else. You’re not fully sure what the outcome will be.
But you’re putting your hand out and seeing if someone will reach back.
4. “Taking Shots” Is How You Make Money
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”―Wayne Gretzky
If you’re not making money, it’s because you’re not taking shots. Or, because you’re not taking the right shots.
In the world of “selling,” you need to take shots. For example, every time I send an email, I make money. But there’s always a thousand reasons for me to not send an email.
But when I just send the emails, and play life on “offense,” then I see results.
This brings me to the science of motivation, as well as to the wisdom of Dan Sullivan.
Let’s start with Dan. He explains that you’re either motivated by growth or status. If you’re motivated by a particular status, then once you get it, your motivation will drop.
If, however, you’re motivated by growth, then once you obtain status, which you will, you won’t be attached to that status.
In order to get to the next level, you must cast-off who you’ve been for who you will become. In the words of Condoleeza Rice, you must “Never be the former anything.”
The question is: Are you motivated by growth or status?
Are you willing to throw away a former (even a great) status for the opportunity at something different and better?
Are you willing to continue courageously taking shots?
Remember, it’s not courage is it’s guaranteed.
You can’t build true confidence unless you’re trying something beyond what you’ve ever done in the past.
You must be stretching your own limits and your own identity. You must be going beyond where you’ve currently been.
Otherwise, you’re simply attempting to maintain and preserve your current status, station, or identity.
Now to the science of motivation: Psychologists have found you are either “approaching” or “avoiding” in all that you’re doing. Hence, Joe Polish’s quote above is dead-on.
You’re either on offense or defense. Approach or avoid.
“Taking shots” by very nature is approach-oriented. You’re approaching your future. You’re stepping into the dark hoping there is something beneath your feet.
This takes faith, which is really another word for courage ― but faith is even more powerful because faith believes it will succeed . Faith also relies on a Higher Power.
The question for you is: Are you approaching or avoiding?
Are you focused on your ideal outcome, and willing to face the risks and challenges along the way?
Or, are you focused on those risks and challenges, and thus avoiding needed action?
5. Some “Shots” Create Unexpected Success (You often can’t predict which ones)
You cannot predict which shots will go in.
I’ve published over 200 blog posts over the past four years. The ones that have gone extremely viral were completely unexpected to me.
I was just doing my work, taking “shots.” And sometimes, some of those shots were complete game-changers.
Some of those “shots” changed my life, and the lives of thousands of other people.
Had I not taken some of those shots, I wouldn’t have the life I have now.
It makes me wonder about the hundreds, or thousands, of shots I didn’t take because I succumbed to my own emotional resistance.
Had I taken more shots, I could be where I’m wanting to go now.
Some people say, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, at this very moment.” That’s half-true.
It’s true because you’re exactly where you are at given your level of performance and commitment. Once you change that, you’ll be somewhere else.
But the “universe” doesn’t necessarily want you here, right now. You’re exactly where you’re at as a person. When you change that, your circumstances will change as well.
You’re the one who chooses when you’re serious about change. You chose it in the past, and you must choose it now.
It’s not the universe’s decision, but yours. And that’s the truth.
That may scare you, or offend some people. But it’s the truth. The universe responds to you, and the choices you make.
6. Eventually, “Shooting” Becomes Your Habit
You can reach a point where “taking shots” is just the way you live your life and run your business. You feel the emotions of taking shots, but as a person, you’ve gotten more flexible.
You stop worrying to much about it.
You’ve put yourself in a position where you’re just actively moving forward.
You’re no longer caught up in the trauma and “narratives” of your past. You’re focused on your future. You’re committed to your goals and committed to bigger results.
So, you make it a habit to just show up and take shots. Every day, you take another shot. You stop thinking about it very much.
7. When “Shooting” Becomes Your Habit, High Levels of Success Happen (Because it’s rare to consistently show up and deliver)
Most people aren’t taking shots every day. Most people’s performance, even the pro’s, is sporadic and inconsistent at best.
Only those who have oriented their lives toward their goals, and have removed the internal and external friction feel the extreme benefits of momentum.
Those around you will be confused by your level of success and productivity. “How are you doing everything you’re doing? It makes no sense,” they’ll say.
They don’t understand the laws of momentum. They don’t get that momentum eventually takes over you, and you can’t stop the train from moving even if you wanted to.
Eventually, there are so many ripples from what you’ve done that effects are now happening way outside your direct control, drawing back success and abundance to you.
8. You Need A Clear Target To Increase The Efficiency Of Your “Shots”
“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.”―Paul Arden
There are many writers out there who write hundreds and hundreds of blog posts, without getting much better.
They have bought into the notion that “it’s better to be prolific than perfect.” And as much as I like that philosophy, I’m also concerned about the lack of efficiency.
There’s a reason people are fine throwing stuff out there without needing to get better. And it’s very, very important in this conversation we’re having right now.
This whole blog post is about “taking shots.” However, there is a dark-side of this philosophy that is being touted by many internet influencers.
“Fall in love with the process,” is the common advice.
This is decent advice, but it isn’t good advice on it’s own . It needs more context.
Yes, you need to love the process of getting from where you are to where you want to go. But, you need to know where you want to go. You need to have a goal. And you cannot ignore that goal.
Moreover, you must have faith and belief that you will actually obtain that goal. You need to become results-focused, not process-focused.
Only when you have a clear target can your process becomes effective. If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, then the work you do will be directionless. Your planning will be uninspired.
It takes commitment and faith to choose a specific target, above your current level and circumstances, and to truly go after that target .
To COMMIT to a target, and then reverse-engineer how to make it happen.
To create “miracles” to make it happen.
When you’re committed to a specific goal, then the “shots” you take become more effective over time, because you’re not just “taking shots” for the sake of taking shots.
You’re actually trying to get somewhere, and you’re being honest about your current performance.
Your performance isn’t where it needs to be if you’re seriously going to get where you want to go. So you evaluate and adjust, and get better, based on the feedback and results you’re getting.
This is a lot more honest than simply, “Fall in love with the process and ignore results.”
That is nonsense in and of itself.
The truth is that once you’ve committed to specific results, then yes, you need to focus on the process, and yes, you need to love the process.
The process is how you transform and develop the confidence to have what you truly want. You must earn it in order for it to be worth anything to you.
And yes, you must detach from outcomes along the way. But that doesn’t mean you ignore outcomes. You need feedback to improve.
9. It’s Not About You
“For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”―Viktor Frankl
Finally, life becomes a whole lot more powerful when you get out of your own way. The “shots” you take aren’t about you . They are about something bigger.
You need a purpose.
You need something that draws you in, that transforms your entire life. Something that gets you out of bed in the morning. Something that is worth letting go of old habits and identities for. Something worth sacrificing for.
Do you sacrifice , daily, for something you truly believe in?
By “sacrifice,” what I mean is that you give something up for something else, even if it’s just your comfort zone. In the end, by taking steps forward, you will always be the beneficiary.
By letting go of something you hold dear for something better, your life will improve. So really, you’re not sacrificing at all.
But in the moment, it may feel that way. And those feelings are significant and not to be downplayed.
The work you’re doing isn’t for you. It’s for other people. It’s about something much bigger. And once you realize that, you’ll be willing to put yourself through whatever it takes to get there.
You’ll be willing to change yourself and to let go of all limitations holding you back.
You won’t get in the way of your purpose.
Your purpose will transform your life because it is transforming the lives of others, and you’re not stopping it from happening.
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Benjamin P Hardy is the bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work, which explains the profound impact your environment has on your behavior, mindset, and success. He is an organizational psychologist, speaker, entrepreneur and a father to five kids.
(Published as part of a partnership with BenjaminHardy.com)
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