“Ben, those silver bullets that you and Mike are looking for are fine and good, but our web server is five times slower. There is no silver bullet that’s going to fix that. No, we are going to have to use a lot of lead bullets.” Ben Horowitz
Although, this quote was taken from the book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz and tells the story of one of the most successful Silicon Valley startups, I think it really has wisdom for training and life.
The world today is filled with people wanting the easy fix, the magical silver bullet that will solve all of their problems in one day and stay that way forever. The reality of the situation is that life isn’t like this at all, more often than not it is going to take regular lead bullets, the grueling, brutal, boring and plain old dirty hard work that gets us to where we want to go.
Look at almost any training program that is in fashion, they all purport to give you six pack abs, huge biceps and a phat booty all within six weeks or your money back, guaranteed. If it wasn’t so destructive, it would be laughed out of existence. There are no easy solutions in life and anyone that claims otherwise is full of bull*** and is just trying to make your wallet lose a couple of pounds.
I can’t blame people for wanting things right now, in today’s society everybody wants everything yesterday. Society is becoming more and more fast paced, if something doesn’t show results in a day, it’s deemed a failure. The problem with this is that it hides the reality of the situation. Most overnight successes took decades to build and it wasn’t a straight line to success.
Look at how long it took to get into a place of unhealthiness. We didn’t all of a sudden wake up weak and overweight, this decline took months, years or even decades to get to. Even the best plan in the world that is based in scientific proof and you’re given performance enhancing drugs, it would take months of hard work just to get back to a baseline of health, let alone be in peak physical condition.
Almost any workout and diet plan will work, all it takes is dedication and hard work. Think of your goal as an island and the plan is the bridge you need to get there. If you keep restarting and changing plans, you’ll just be left with a bunch of unfinished bridges, none of which actually help you achieve your goals. The second people stop seeing results they want to change something. This concept of the novel needs to change. We need to reframe novelty, from changing the activity, to doing the activity better each time.
Take squats for example, would it be better to spend one year squatting at least three times per week? Or would it be better to only squat once every two weeks and ‘mixing it up’ by throwing in lunges, box jumps, springs? Without any rhyme or reason, the end result will be nil. Do you ever notice the people at the gym that seem to either, a) lifting the same weights, or b) look the same, year after year. Do you ever stop to ask why this is the case. I would argue this is because they can’t stick to a plan and see it through for the long run.
Most people would see such a stringent program as boring and monotonous. But this is the exact type of boring work, the ‘lead bullets’ that will get you to your goals. We need to learn to embrace the boring hard work, because the time spent searching for the magic bullet is wasted effort we could have spent actually working on our goals.