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  • Jack Fleming

Turning Pro is a Mindset

"The world is a narrow bridge and the important thing is to not be afraid." - Hebrew Proverb

I'm sure Jeff Bezos wasn't thinking he'd be worth $197 billion when he was cooped up in this small office. But I bet he was building the same habits back then that's got him to where he is today.

Dear Jack,

When you're young sometimes you look around and think that you're supposed to have it figured all out, like the greatest seasons of your life are all supposed to come at once.

You want the job that some person has worked an extra 30 years before you on.

You want it all now. You're impatient. Remain a student.

But as Kevin Eastman says can you 'be there before you get there' - are your habits the ones of a professional or an amateur?

It brings me to this Stephen Curry story, not the biggest prospect at the Nike Skills Camp - but the best habits. There's no guarantees he was going to make it in the NBA, but his habits gave him a chance.

Sometimes it's like you expect that there's going to be no bumps in the road, no bullshit, no people kicking you to the curb. Well, welcome to the real world.

"The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around them. Nothing more. Don't demand to know 'why such things exist.'" - Marcus Aurelius

You preach resilience and resolve to your players when things aren't going your way - where's your example?

Get to work.

We All Start Somewhere

That's David Goggins, the hardest man in the world. Survived 3 hell weeks as a Navy SEAL, has the world pull up record in 24 hours and has ran multiple 100 mile races.

Here's him on the left at 24 years old, 300 pounds - spraying cockroaches on a nightshift and eating 12 packs of doughnuts day and monster thick shakes.

He lost 106 pounds in 3 months, and turned into a workout machine.

He failed the pull up record twice. He cheated his way through school. He left the air force out of fear of water.

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. So what are you complaining about?

Steven Pressfield - Turning Pro

Here's an excerpt from author Steven Pressfield on the beginning of his writing career, and the habits that he created before he made it.

"I was 31. I had saved up $2,700 and moved from New York City to a little town in northern California. I rented a house behind another house for $105 a month. I had my old Chevy van, my Smith-Corona typewriter, and my cat, Mo.

Every Monday morning I walked into the village to the Bank of America and took out $25. That sum lasted me for the next seven days.

I didn't talk to anybody during my year of turning pro. I didn't hang out. I just worked. I had a book in mind and I had decided I would finish it or kill myself. I could not run away again, or let people down again, or let myself down again. This was it, do or die.

I had no TV, no radio, no music. No sex, no sports. I didn't read the newspaper. For breakfast I had liver and eggs. I was like Rocky.

One day, I typed THE END. That's the moment in The War of Art when I knew I had beaten Resistance. I had finished something.

The manuscript didn't find a publisher and it shouldn't have. It wasn't good enough. I had to go back to a real job, in advertising in New York, and save up again, and quit again, and write another book that also didn't find a publisher because it also wasn't good enough. Neither were the nine screenplays I wrote over the next X years, I can't even remember how many, before I finally got my first check for thirty-five hundred dollars and promptly went back to writing more screenplays that I also couldn't sell.

During that first year, I sometimes thought to myself, "Steve, you've got it lucky now, no distractions, you can focus full-time. What are you gonna do when life gets complicated again?"

In the end, it didn't matter. That year made me a pro. It gave me, for the first time in my life, an uninterrupted stretch of month after month that was mine alone, that nobody knew about but me, when I was truly productive, truly facing my demons, and truly working my shit. That year has stuck with me." - Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

No guarantees, Pressfield has sold millions of copies now. Only because he pushed through the storm.

Commit to Being Unreasonable

"Professional habits sound unreasonable to other people." - Ryan Holiday

Kobe Bryant working on 1 type of shot for 5-10 straight minutes, 4:30am doing pivots. Watching countless amounts of film on his match ups like it's his first day on the job.

Lebron, a million dollars on his body a year.

Picasso was in his paris studio with the owner where his paintings were shown and sold. The gallery owner was ecstatic and couldn't wait to start selling. Picasso grabbed a knife, and slashed the canvas line of paintings from end to end. Reducing them to nothing.

Steve Jobs meticulous attention to detail about things that were unseen, inside of the technology. From his Dad he learned, to sleep well at night - the aesthetic, the quality has to be carried all the way through.

The professional knows when he has fallen short of his own standings.

People will think you're over the top, crazy, obsessed. Yeah true, embrace it.

The Work is Everything

"And I'll tell you something else. Appreciate these days. These days when you're broke and struggling, they're the best days of your life. You're gonna break through, my boy, and when you do, you'll look back on this time and think this is when I was really an artist, when everything was pure and I had nothing but the dream and the work. Enjoy it now. Pay attention. These are the good days. Be grateful for them." - Steven Pressfield

Do you pick and choose when you do the work?

Or are you just a 'fair weather runner'?

Are you an amateur?

Or are you pro?

Repeat to yourself - the world is a narrow bridge and I will not be afraid—and keep going. Like the thousands of generations who have come before you.

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