I recently met a man who is a professional pool player. He travels the world playing in tournaments and has been able to provide a very comfortable lifestyle for his wife and three children.
Unlike many of his profession, his childhood was not spent in pool halls and it was not until he was in his early-twenties that he first encountered a pool table.
He was immediately hooked. He was fascinated by the challenge of using a cue ball to command the other balls to do your bidding and soon found himself stopping at a local pool hall on his way home from work to get in some practice.
As time progressed his confidence rose and he began competing in (and winning) local tournaments progressing through the ranks to the point where he is among the top 40 ranked pool players in the world.
He told me he took an enormous risk several years ago when he made the decision to commit himself full-time to the sport and knew that in doing so there would be no going back. Not winning tournaments meant not feeding his family and not feeding his family was simply not an option.
He is a living example of the power of The Habit of Keeping Your Eye on the Prize. At the start of each year he evaluates all the tournaments around the world to which he has been invited, determines his financial needs for that year and then chooses which contests to enter.
On his non-tournament days he spends an average of six hours “at the table”, practicing. He places a photograph of the venue for the next competition on the wall so that he can stare at it and experience the feelings that he anticipates will be his to enjoy once he has won that particular tournament.
His entire focus is on the prize and what it means to himself and his family and every stroke along the way is an activity moving them closer and closer to attaining their prize.
He knows, of course, that he will not win each and every tournament and that on some occasions he won’t even finish “in the money.” But his preparation, training and focus on the prize never wavers as he prepares himself to do battle at each new tournament.
He told me that he first heard of The Habit of Keeping Your Eye on the Prize when he was a teenager and was competing in a martial arts tournament. His only goal was to win – not for the trophy but for the sense of accomplishment – and he focused every waking moment on winning the competition.
He found himself daydreaming about the prize while in class at school and spent every available moment in training.
On the day of the tournament he put everything into his activity and didn’t even make the third round. He was crushed, but only momentarily. Undeterred he immediately enrolled in another tourney to take place four months later and threw himself into preparing for that event all the while focusing unblinkingly on the prize.
On that occasion he fared far better and finished sixth in his category. He allowed himself to be disappointed for a few days and then sought out yet another tournament, redirected his focus and this time he placed second.
Clearly this man is competitive and yet he will tell you when questioned that he really only competes with himself and that The Habit of Keeping Your Eye on the Prize is what motivates him to push himself further and harder in preparation for each tournament.
Even on those occasions when he doesn’t win, he still believes he takes home the prize because to him the prize is to have performed to the absolute best of his capability, and on some occasions his best is simply not good enough to beat an opponent’s superior performance. He leaves with his head held high because he knows he has done everything to the best of his ability.
Overall The Habit of Keeping Your Eye on the Prize consistently helps my new friend be the best he can be and to push yourself as hard as necessary be in order to win the prize. He explained that there is no greater feeling than the one that comes from knowing you did your very, very best – and that is the only prize he focuses on.
And his family will tell you his dedication to The Habit of Keeping Your Eye on the Prize has provided them with everything they want out of life.
The Habit of Keeping Your Eye on the Prize is crucial if you don’t want to end up where you don’t want to end up.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, recently introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure.