Growing up, I was obsessed with basketball.
During the off-season, I decided I’d run cross country, just to stay in shape. Then, sooner or later, I decided I wanted to get good at that too. (Running, that is.)
So I ran my ass off.
Some days, I’d wake up at 5 AM to run five miles before school. Then I’d do another three to six hard miles, after school, for actual cross country practice.
But what happened come race day? I was lucky to place in the top third of runners.
Worse, there was this kid on my team – Aaron – who would always beat me, and usually medal overall.
Now. This motherf*cker was so lazy that, during practice, he’d jog till the coach couldn’t see us, then slow to a walk, cutting through yards so he could still finish “the loop” with the rest of us… without coach finding out.
Oh, and when I was out runnin’? Before school? He would “cruise the strip” and smoke cigarettes!
To this day, it boggles my mind how he could just show up, Saturday mornings, with virtually no training, and consistently place at the very top of the pack – beating out hundreds of try-hards, like me, who’d put in way way wayyy more work.
Believe it or not, Asshole Aaron also went to state every year for multiple events in track. Not long distance, either, as you might imagine. Nope. I think it was long jump, 4 x 100, and 200m… if I remember correctly.
But just think about that.
This kid was one of the better long distance runners AND could jump the farthest AND could sprint the fastest. In. The entire. State!
(Almost forgot, he was good at football too. Gee, shocker.)
And he did it all with absolute bare minimum effort.
I mean… just the epitome of gifted.
And, chances are, you know someone like this. In sports. Or school.
Or someone who eats In-N-Out Burger for lunch every day and still has a six pack.
Or parties till 4 AM every night, lives off of candy, never drinks water, does copious amounts of drugs, could shower once every three days, and still has perfect skin.
Whatever it is. We’ve all come across an Aaron or two in our life, haven’t we?
Well. Guess what.
They’re in business too. Aarons. And when you’re forced to compete with one, you’ve got two choices.
You can either shrug your shoulders and say, “This guy/gal is too talented, so why even try?”
Or you could outwork Aaron, like I did.
Now I know what you’re thinkin’:
“But Cory, he still whooped you when it mattered most.”
Ah, but did he?
In the short-term, yes. He definitely did. And that sh*t stung.
But in the long-term, no. He didn’t. You see, today, ol’ Aaron is fat, bald, and broke. But me? Thanks only to a sickening work ethic? (And no natural ability whatsoever!) Well, I look better than I did in college, I’ve got millions in the bank, and I’m not even 40.
And I’m just getting started.
It may have taken three decades to realize it, but having no advantages in life is the advantage. It forces you into a state of perpetual progression that, over the long-haul, will allow you to “lap” the Aarons of the world.
Related: that moment when you will cut a b*tch.