I feel the effortless flow while my arms spread wide in the air arching myself back into the water in a perfect butterfly stroke. They call me the human dolphin. I have been swimming, an outlet for having too much energy, since I was seven. When I was eleven I saw the summer games in Atlanta and the winning swimmers became my instant heroes. My dream was being one of them. Well… let’s get back to the water and my butterfly stroke because I need to focus. You see I have a tendency to let my focus drift and think about other things all the time. At school they diagnosed me with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Whatever man, I can do this. I got this one down, no matter what they say. My name is Michael Phelps and I am about to beat my rival in the 100m Butterfly finals with 0.01 second, win my eighth gold medal and on my way to become the most decorated Olympian ever to swim around this planet.
How is it possible that someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD can be so razor-sharp focused and so inhumanly disciplined? How do you train six hours a day, six days a week, every week, for an insane amount of years, rain or shine, vacation or no vacation, for a 100th of a second?
Yeah – I hear myself thinking, while taking a bite of my favorite candy bar washing it down with a swig of caramel latte, “nice but what has this do to with me”?
Well, let’s say I needed more motivation to create wealth through investing. I could be lazy and invest in a lotto ticket and let destiny play out. C’est la vie, right? Can you imagine Michael Phelps dropping by at the Olympic swimming pool by accident while being on vacation in Beijing and winning eight gold medals? Yeah sure! Sweet dreams and good luck with that.
I could be in fear of losing and therefore never try to win in the first place. This is an easy way out and sets me up for a sure outcome. I lose. There is no way I can even get close to qualifying without trying, no way!
There is a third way, the most desirable way and the only way to become a master in anything. You must find the desire from within and practice. Forget the lotto or fear for losing. The fear I won’t have enough to buy my favorite cup of coffee when I’m 65 is not enough for me to get motivated. That lotto thing never worked for me so maybe I should look at it in a totally different way: creating wealth for the purpose of being able to help others, how cool would that be? Intrinsic motivation is the only motivation that makes you flow and feels effortless. Can I do this?
You see, I can get much closer to what I want by having a clear purpose. The Michael Phelps’ of this world are special people. In investing they bear names like George Soros, Stanley Druckenmiller and a few others. These are the champions who are focused on the 0.01 percent win over each other. You and I should aim to win the gold medal of long-term investing returns in order to get closer to our purpose. Remember that all Michael Phelps’ world records eventually will be broken by milliseconds but it will require many years of training for it to happen. So what am I waiting for: practice, practice and practice.