Every Monday and Wednesday, I pay a guy to push my heart rate into the stratosphere and turn my muscles into mush. His name is Tyler, and he’s my personal trainer.
For years, I worked out on my own. Haphazardly. I’d run a bit here, lift some weights there. I seldom warmed up and frequently forgot to stretch. Afterwards, I’d come home and reward myself with a beer.
When I was younger, this exercise approach basically worked. I built some muscle and stamina. However, as I aged, injuries started to mount. My shoulders became stiff. I gave myself tennis elbow from too many curls.
Last year, I finally bit the bullet and coughed up some dough for a twice- weekly trainer. That’s where Tyler comes in. He went over my entire health history, injuries and fitness goals. Then he measured my body fat, fashioned a training plan and we were off to the races.
Now, every Monday and Wednesday, whether I want to or not, I’m at the gym. We focus on core training, sort of like CrossFit. After the workouts, I’m exhausted, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion.
When I get home, I stretch, shower, and drink lots of water. No more beer. In fact, I eliminated alcohol and caffeine from my diet completely.
When you pay for a personal trainer, it’s harder to flake on workouts. Paying makes it more of a priority. While everyone else in the gym is snapping Instagram photos or getting lost on Facebook, Tyler is putting me through the paces. Now, even when I work out alone, I always leave my iPhone in the car.
What does any of this have to do with social media? Mostly, that there are no short cuts to any place worth going. Social media sucks a lot of time out of your day. It may be entertaining, and it can be helpful to market your business or art. But it distracts you from achieving greater, personal success.
The authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan wrote the book The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. The book drives home the importance of priorities. Some of the points they touch on include:
- Achievers use a success list, not a to do list. They have a strong sense of priority.
- If you want extraordinary results, you need to narrow your focus.
- Do your most important work, your “one thing”, when your willpower is strongest. For many people, that’s early in the day.
- Ask the question: what’s the one thing I can do that will make everything else easier?
Essentially, the authors suggest that in every aspect of your life, prioritize the one thing that is most important. For most of us, social media is probably not what’s most important.
A seemingly invaluable tool
Apart from mindless entertainment, social media has become a seemingly invaluable tool to promote your business, entrepreneurial ambitions, and creative pursuits.
Everywhere you look these days, you’ll find online life coaches, aspiring writers and artists, as well as all manner of businesses leveraging social media to promote themselves. Yet, for many of them, the stuff they’re peddling is not that unique or valuable. It doesn’t stand out from all the other noise.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
Recently, I began studying figure drawing with Scott Waddell, a classically trained and talented painter. Also, I’ve studied landscape painting at length with Scott L Christensen, a master artist.
The time, travel and expense of studying with these artists is considerable, but as noted above: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
I could waste time surfing social media, and paint only when inspiration strikes. But when I upload my artwork on Instagram and Facebook, I shouldn’t wonder why no one pays attention.
The solution, rather than trying to endlessly spruce up my website and social media posts, is to put in the hard work. Get up early, or stay up late honing my skills.
Seek the best instruction you can afford. Relentlessly practice. Constantly compare your work to better artists, creators or entrepreneurs. Continue to focus on what you need to do to move forward.
Are you producing things that are rare and valuable? If not, stop grooming superficial work online and start developing the skills to produce rare and beautiful things.
It may take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Some of the skills you’ll learn might come from unlikely places. Keep focused on your one thing. Get the best instruction you can. Work hard.
In time, you’ll start producing rare and valuable work. People will start to notice. And then, maybe your stuff will be the talk of social media.