In middle school, I was convinced that I was going to be a pro basketball player.
"Once I hit my growth spurt" I mused, "I'll take my rightful position with the starters and be on the fast track to the NBA."
This was, of course, hopeful ignorance. As genetics would later prove (to my dismay) I would top out at 5'10... with shoes on.
But height was NOT the true obstacle holding me back from greater success on the court. It was my mindset.
I believed that my ability was dependent on circumstances rather than effort. Sure, I practiced layups and dribbling in my driveway, played pickup games with the guys on the street, and did calf raises on an old 2x4 in the backyard.
It was effort, yes. But ONLY the bare minimum.
I drilled my skills on-and-off, not hours each day. During summer vacation, I opted for freedom rather than attend basketball camp. In short, there was a gap between desire and effort. And that gap was a direct result of mindset.
Somewhere in the early wiring of my brain I developed a belief system that included entitlement, fate, "big breaks" and various paradigms that shared one central theme: Success as a result of happenstance.
Today, I operate out of different worldview. One that involves clear goals and a dedicated, relentless pursuit of that which makes me feel most alive.
Do I still acknowledge the reality of unpredictable circumstances and chance? Yep, sure do.
10,000 people auditioned to compete on the reboot of American Gladiators in 2008. Could I have planned for that opportunity? Of course not. Casting gave me a chance out of THOUSANDS. I put my heart into the competition, and the outcome was wildly unexpected. I leveraged that experience to the casting peeps at American Ninja Warrior. They could have said 'no' but instead, they gave me a chance.
The difference is I no longer let the prospect of chance or happenstance dictate my actions or attitude. Those opportunities are icing on the cake of intention.
I strongly encourage you to chase after that which makes you feel most alive. But fair warning: It will NOT be easy. It will be hard. You will want to give up.
Be the author of your life. Get after it. Today is your growth spurt.