As I’ve said before, one of my favorite motivational sports quotes is: “Play the Game, not the Score.”
Essentially, it means that in order to be successful in life, you need to live up to your own values and standards, not just when no one else is watching - but especially when no one else is watching.
In fact, I'd say that's who you really are – you are the person who does what you do, and thinks what you think – when no one else is around to influence those actions. That’s the "unscored" you. The unfiltered you.
So who are you when you're alone? Are you a productive, successful person?
See, it’s possible that no one will ever really know how much you studied for that test, or how much work you put into that assignment, or whether or not you send people thank you notes after meetings, or call colleagues to check up on them when they’re sick, or how many shots you take every day in an empty gym. Or how early you wake up every morning, to do any number of things.
No question about it. It's entirely possible that no one will ever see these things, or acknowledge them in any way.They might never show up on any "scoreboard" of any kind.
But it’s these very same little things that ultimately make the difference in life.
When you come up just short of the finish line in the end, it’s usually because you didn’t do these little things. Those little things amounted to the final inches you needed.
The same goes for your circumstances. For the most part, no one’s gonna appreciate how tired you are half the time, or how hard a time your significant other is giving you at home, or how annoying your coworker can be.
You don’t get bonus points for dealing with these things.
The successful person accepts these things as part of the game. The productive, successful person keeps their nose to the grindstone no matter what is going on around them - because they’re interested only in the long-term returns.
They know that if they keep playing the game itself, and they don’t fall under the influence of life’s temporary distractions, then in the long run, they’re going to win.
While the person who keeps looking up to check the “score” will always come up a little short in the end.
Do you have the fortitude and patience to play the game - to keep your heart focused on your long-term goals?
Or do you keep getting distracted, keep looking up at the scoreboard?