How Intense Are You?
November 9, 2021
Imagine that you play badminton, tennis, or cricket. It is possible to play these sports at different intensities.
You play for enjoyment and to keep yourself fit.
You want to play competitively. So you practice regularly with intensity to play at the best level possible.
You have made it your life and career. You want to pursue it professionally, and you are willing to push yourself beyond your natural comfort to explore your highest potential.
Life and sports share many similarities. Just as we do in sports, we have the option to choose the level of intensity with which we will do anything we do in life. Our language is an excellent indicator of how we approach any task.
Level 1- “I’ll give it a try.”
This means you want to test the waters and explore. But, more importantly, it is very likely that you will give up when the first obstacle arises. You are approaching it with the lowest intensity levels when you say, “I’ll try this new diet,” or “I’ll take this new certificate course.” If your experience is enjoyable, you will continue. You will likely give up if things get tough.
Level 2- “I’ll give my best.”
A small percentage of people move from level 1 to level 2, where they are willing to push at the limits of their potential. They commit themselves more intensely, knowing things will get tough. They are ready to face challenges. However, while “I’ll give my best” is better than “I’ll give it a try,” it still leaves you with a psychological escape route to blame some external factors when things get too complicated.
Level 3: “I’ll do what it takes.”
When you play at this level, you are committing yourself fully. You are willing to accept the pain and uncertainty for as long as it takes to achieve your desired outcomes. As a result, you are showing up at the highest level of intensity. When you play at this intense level, you tap into vast reservoirs of psychological power that let you go past the pain barrier to reach your full potential.
A lot of life’s accomplishments require us to move up from level 1 to level 3. For example, we all know that close friend/family member who shed 20 years or excess weight in six months, ran a marathon, or made the career transition from a large corporation to a startup. These people have chosen to play at the highest level of intensity.
So, a great way to figure your motivation and intensity towards any task is checking on the language you use- is it “I’ll try” or “I’ll give my best,” or “I’ll do what it takes.”