Kristjan Vingel

Become a Pro.

January 10, 2021

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What is the differentiating factor between people who have seemingly iron-strong discipline and those who don't?

It's actually 2 things. One is called a 'habit'. The other one is what I want to talk about in this article.

It's the mindset of a professional. It's a principle that separates the wannabes from the tough - the people who only dream and wish and the people who get things done no matter what.

I was first introduced to this principle by reading Steven Pressfield's book "The War of Art" a few years ago where he talks about the difference between an amateur and a pro.

A professional is someone who does what he knows he has to do - whether he feels like it or not. An amateur, on the other hand, lets life get in the way. That's the difference.

I used to blog every day. I wrote an article every single day, no matter what - even if I got home after midnight and was dead-tired. I might have not written my best ones on these "I-don't-feel-like-it" times, but I did it anyway. Because it was important to me.

Then I let life get in the way. I started making excuses why I don't have time, it's not a priority etc.

So it was after reading Atomic Habits by James Clear that I re-introduced me to this principle. I realized I had forgotten it.

If something is important to us, then we have to adopt a professional's mindset and do it no matter what. Otherwise, it's not important, so why do it at all?

There was a time I thought that if something is important then it should be done every day.

I've learned to be more flexible now and try to think less in "all-or-nothing" absolutes. Still, there has to be a consistency in what we do that is not based on how we feel. E.g., if one works out 4 times a week, she is still a professional if there's a certain structure to it.

It's not about measuring and numbers that decide whether someone is a pro, but their behavior. Their mindset - their work-ethic.

Do you let life get in the way, or are you a pro?

K.

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Kristjan Vingel