On a bright Sunday afternoon, I was visiting Decathlon to purchase some travel gear. While I was parking my bike, I noticed a kid trying to shoot the basketball into the hoop. I parked my bike and started walking towards the entrance. The kid kept shooting the ball. The next attempt was more intense and fierce than the one before. Mind you it was sunny outside even for Bangalore weather and here was a kid relentlessly shooting at the hoop. I finished my shopping and came back home. But the picture of the kid tirelessly taking shots stayed with me.
A few days later, I was casually chatting with a junior of mine about my career. How just a few out of all shots paid off and made a huge difference in life. The picture of the kid came back to my mind. I started thinking, How safe should someone feel to keep taking shots at life? And are there any supporting elements that enable you to take more and more shots? I wanted to explore that in this blog post.
Let’s start with a fundamental question.
What Is A Shot?
In war, a shot is an act of firing a gun aiming at something (target) or someone (enemy).
In sports, a shot is an act of doing something to a ball in order to score a point.
A shot in life is an act of doing something in order to achieve a goal or target you set for yourself.
So, What Is An Act?
An act or work in physics is a measure of energy transfer that occurs when an object is moved over a distance by an external force at least part of which is applied in the direction of the displacement.
Let me simplify. Imagine you’re in a straight line. You are on one end of the line and your goal is on the other end of the line. You will need to spend energy to move from one end to the other. Now in life, this energy can take many forms. Most of the goals we set for ourselves need a combination of Physical, mental and financial energy to be spent.
Given a choice, I’d spend all of my time lying in bed reading age-old classics or chatting with my parents or even climbing a few more mountains or building the products I’d love to bring to the world. The reason I can’t do all of them all the time is because I need to spend time doing the job, gaining creds and making money. So inevitably, taking a shot at anything needs time. Most good things in life don’t come easy. It takes a lot of time and energy to do anything meaningful.
To Sum up, any shot you take in life needs Energy (Physical, mental & financial) & Time.
Let’s dive into each of them.
Physical Energy & Its Criticality To Take More Shots In Life
In 2018, I resolved to explore most of Karnataka in the next two years. Travelling has been a passion for over 10 years now. No day goes by when I don’t dream about exploring this Blue Ball. So, I worked my full-time job from Monday to Friday. Then ride up to some place near Bangalore on my bike over the weekend. I spent almost 3 weekends every month travelling. I thought I’d be exhausted at work on Monday but surprisingly, I wasn’t.
I exercised regularly and kept myself in shape. I didn’t realize the benefits of regular workouts at the time. But looking back, being fit helped me hike up tougher and tougher mountains come rain or harsh sunshine. If I wasn’t fit I wouldn’t have travelled as much as I did because I’d been exhausted.
Alongside, I started documenting my travel stories and eventually landed a part-time content writing position at Plan The Unplanned. And, I eventually started leading treks with Plan The Unplanned and many more opportunities opened up. I did make up my mind to travel full-time but then COVID hit and I realized am not financially strong enough to pursue full-time travel, yet.
Financial Energy & Its Criticality To Take More Shots In Life
When I resolved to explore most of Karnataka, I also planned my expenses accordingly. Fortunately, I was financially literate by then to be able to plan budgets and spend prudently. But imagine if I wasn’t financially prudent and didn’t think a second to eat out every day or spend money on every fancy thing I saw. I would’ve had no money left to take a shot at travelling.
All things said and done, travelling is expensive. A one-day road trip around Bangalore set me back by INR 1000 and a full weekend trip cost INR 4000+. Of course, you can travel frugally but am referencing the average cost. One day trip and 2-weekend trips a month set me back by INR 10,000-12000 easily. Lucky me, I didn’t have to think a lot to take a shot at travelling.
But where did all this money come from?
I attribute that to my well-paying job & good financial habits. If I have enough money in the bank, then I can even pursue travelling full-time. That’s how much leverage money gives you over everything in life. Money enables you to go long and work on ambitious projects without worrying about day-to-day expenses.
Mental Energy & Its Criticality To Take More Shots In Life
Mental energy is perhaps the most underrated yet critical element of success. It is so critical that every self-help book has a lesson dedicated to managing one’s mental energy. Unfortunately, this is also less cared for by people. Constantly worried or having low self-esteem or clinging to the past or overthinking or always complaining, doesn’t leave any energy to achieve your goals. I can’t even remember how often I just headed straight to bed because I wasn’t in the mood to work on anything. And needless to say without the mental strength, I wouldn’t have dared to travel solo and climb all those mountains.
As Shane Parrish rightly puts it,
A positive mindset doesn’t necessarily result in a positive future but a negative mindset is sure to result in a negative future.
I was a grumpy 22-year-old when I started working. Over the last few years, I realized that preserving my mental energy is perhaps the greatest lever that can accelerate my success. I deliberately started ignoring petty things like getting into pointless arguments or nitpicking on things or worrying about stuff I didn’t control.
This also makes me a boring person but I call it a life of much less drama. There have been instances where I said no to an activity or a job because it was mentally draining. By deliberately reducing interactions with things or people that drain my energy, I save up precious energy and focus on things and people that matter and that has been a game changer.
How Time Enables You To Take More Shots In Life
Time is the fourth and final supporting element that enables you to take more shots in life. It doesn’t matter how physically, mentally or financially strong you are, few things just take time to materialize. The beauty and the problem with time are that it can’t be controlled. It’s that one thing that doesn’t listen to anyone. No one can speed it up or slow it down or buy more of it.
The sooner you come to terms with its nature, the better it is. But of course, there are a few hacks. You can make the most of your time when you’re young and full of energy. Invest money today so that you don’t have to trade time for money in the future. Give yourself time to heal every now and then. Schedule me time at work and home to manage your mental energy. If I didn’t give travel enough time, I wouldn’t be sitting on a gold mine of opportunities now.
In summary, the probability of success increases as you keep taking more and more shots. Taking care of your personal, financial and mental energy enables you to keep taking more and more shots. If you continue taking more and more shots for a longer period of time, you’re sure to achieve success.
That’s all I had to share today. Thanks for sticking through till the end.
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Thanks. Talk to you soon.