This is likely not going to sit well with some people, but it’s important enough to risk the offence. What does it mean to be dedicated? Obviously the definition has a large degree of subjectivity since it exists on a sliding scale.
I want to share my definition of dedication and how this perspective has helped me overcome obstacles and continue to improve at what I love. Lifting heavy ass weights.
For simplicity sake, lets say you have a very ambitious goal to squat 700Lb. We can start at the end and reverse engineer to come up with a list of things that influence your results ranging from the primary contributing factors down to minor contributors. The list might look something like this:
Hire a coach
Establish proper nutritional habits
Sleep 8hr per night
Keep outside stress to a minimum
Follow the program
A fairly simple list, but give this list to two separate individuals and you can see some pretty drastic differences in outcome. The first guy could hire a trainer at a big commercial gym who just got his weekend certification in nutrition and personal training. He can sleep 8hr every night and do what he can to have minimal stress and follow the program pretty closely.
The next individual dives several layers deeper. He researches the top powerlifting coaches in the world and finds 6 potential coaches. He then narrows them down to the single best option to get him to his goal. This coach lives in Russia, and he will now move to Russia to train under him.
He hires a sport nutrition specialist to work with, and design a protocol that undulates according to his training requirements. He sleeps 8hr each night but goes to bed at 9pm to maximize recovery through circadian rhythm. He also takes naps during the day as needed.
He quit his 9-5 job and has chosen to remain single and limit his friends to a select few who understand and respect his drive to achieve these goals. By doing so he eliminates most of his life stresses and distractions.
He is an active participant of the program and updates his coach on his progress and how he is feeling so they can further refine their approach and produce better long term results.
Both men are dedicated to varying degrees.
My definition of dedication is of the second man. That is dedication, and if you’re not at that level of seriousness then I do not consider it dedicated.
I know it sounds like I’m basically putting down 99.999999% of the world but I’m actually not at all. When I came to this realization it was daunting at first but soon after I was inspired. It meant that I still have so many unexplored opportunities which have the potential of pushing me that much further.
I am far from the definition of dedication I presented above, but I work in ernest to get closer to that ideal each and every day. And because of that I am stronger than I ever thought possible and I will continue to get better because I have so many avenues to pursue that are as of yet unexplored.
The goal here is perfection. But perfection is not a destination, it’s a matter of being. When you are doing literally everything possible to achieve your goals, no matter how insane or unreasonable that is when you will discover your true limits.
Something that has inspired me about many great people like Nikola Tesla, Elon Musk, David Goggins, Grant Cardone, Mike Tyson, Arnold Schwarzenegar is that all of them were told that they were crazy, that their goals were impossible and that they would never accomplish them. But they were willing to do whatever was required to reach their goals. Elon made hundreds of millions and then reinvested all of it into space x because his vision was more important than the money.
Can you imagine the level of dedication you would need to have to come away from selling PayPal for $300 Million and then on the spot risk all of it for a bigger dream?
The infamous "Goldman Dilemma". Olympic athletes were asked if they would take a substance that guaranteed them a gold medal but killed them in 5 years. Approximately 50% said yes in order to receive the honour of winning an Olympic gold medal for their country (1). Now there is contention over the accuracy of this approximation is but even if it was 5% it sufficiently demonstrates my point. That level of commitment is what makes them champions, that is what separates them from everyone else. Their level of unwavering dedication propels them to the highest level. The only way to catch up is to adopt that same mentality.
So what is dedication? Dedication is everything. Dedication is winning and dedication is living your life in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.
1. Woolf, J., J. Mazanov, and J. Connor. "The Goldman Dilemma Is Dead: What Elite Athletes Really Think about Doping, Winning, and Death." International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics 9, no. 3 (2016): 453-67. doi:10.1080/19406940.2016.1194875.