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We all possess unique qualities that separate us from others. There is something about every one of us that is distinct; our own talent and purpose, which is the nucleus of our ultimate contribution to the world.  In order to cultivate and master our talents, some believe that more than 10,000 hours of practice is necessary.  Excluding vacations, breaks and “wellness days,” this is hours of work.  Pure, hard work. At a dream that most times, you can only see.

Focus is a necessary pre-requisite to reach this level of mastery. As I raise my own daughter, I find myself constantly stressing the importance of focus, self-awareness, self-love and self-respect. In hopes that she will discover her own unique talents as a result. Self-awareness at a young age through focus is the goal. By the time she is 10, she will have reached a high degree of “junior” mastery.  At that point, we will then address her inherent talent.

Focus on your talent only after you understand yourself. Once you reach this point, you need to stay there. You must not waiver from your beliefs. If you believe you are a leader, for example, you must not fear standing alone. If you're a talented trainer or coach (as everyone likes to call himself or herself these days), you cannot lack the same disciplines you require from your clients. You have to walk that walk. We do face temptation from time to time. But we also have the same 24 hours everyday. If it has been done, you can also do it.  Find a way to channel such temptations into cultivating your talent and deal with your own distractions accordingly.

Are you ready to sacrifice your dream for a night out? Are you sure you want to put that dream on hold to watch your favorite celebrity on late night television?  I've given into my temptations, many times, in the past and it cost me. I often wonder how things could have been, if I had focused earlier in life. Every bad decision and distraction has a price. A worthy goal may require you to examine your days down to the hour, to minimize cost.  How many hours do you actually spend cultivating yourself? And how much time are you ready to give yourself if you find it is insufficient? What and/or who are you ready to give up? Right now.

Those same weekends became my time of opportunity when I realized that I could contribute twenty additional hours to master my own craft.  Simple addition told me that I would gain 960 hours a year if I gave up late night partying and the subsequent hangovers. I lived that life and I was that guy but not any longer. I want to succeed more.

As a parent, the stakes are even higher. We give up time with our own family to pursue a dream, in hopes that it will impact the next generation. As I believe, the greatest tribute I can pay my parents is to take my life to its highest potential, something they did not live to see. Having my parents, as well as my child, in mind makes this lifestyle even more important and bigger than any routine at any given gym facility.

You don't think about reps and/or sets the same when there are people depending on you. That session, with a client or for yourself, just became an opportunity to take your life up another level. This can’t only be about making money. To quote a man I admire greatly, "it’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business." That, in my opinion, is a man with a high level of focus. The type of man I want to become.

It takes an extraordinary amount of discipline to succeed, a willingness to put aside the worldly fun and focus on you.

A sensational success story of a kid celebrated for receiving a $90 million contract out of high school can easily overshadow the level of focus and dedication of that same kid.  Born into poverty with no father figure but only a single mother. He had a dream.  He worked on reaching his dream for more than 15 years before the multi-million dollar contract came. 15 years of hard work, dedication, focus, and disappointments. It's hard to believe how much sacrifice he must've made in that 15 years, at such a young age. But it happens all the time. Society just calls them "lucky".  So, the next time you find yourself being tempted to put your dream on hold, think about that kid.  It took more than 15 years for LBJ's passion and talent to reach its potential and explode into a global success. You have the same 24 hours in a day that he did. How will your actions today affect you 15 years from now?

Maximize every opportunity and prioritize. Focus. Your future depends on it. Forever Forward.

Ed Napper is a fully certified Gym Jones Instructor offering a wide range of personal training services, in New York City. Passionate about Life and helping others maximize their potential. He can be reached at on Instagram. 
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