Everyone who knows me knows every morning I make my bed, cross the room, and turn off the alarm before it turns off, meaning within sixty seconds. I have other sidchas, like picking up litter daily, which I’ve done without fail since 2017.
People ask why, which seems obvious. Doing something with a measure of quality and a time limit gives a sense of purpose. For a cash cost of zero, I start every day with purpose, and a time gain of over thirty minutes compared to how long I took to get out of bed before starting this habit five years ago or so. If you don’t do it, I recommend it. I couldn’t imagine doing it before. I lacked discipline. It helped develop it.
GQ profiled swimmer Caeleb Dressel. It begins:
Caeleb Dressel, a Florida native who might just be the fastest-swimming biped mammal on the planet, believes that if you want to unlock greatnessâ€”in the most exalted senseâ€”you have to start with the small, boring things. â€œLike making your bed,â€ he says.
Swim races are often decided by fractions of a second, and every detail matters, from how each finger is placed as it enters the water to how pointed each toe is out behind the body. Because he focuses on the small stuff, Dressel, 24, is faster to 15 meters than anyone else in the world.
How good is he?
In case you don’t follow swimming either, here’s his record:
In 2017, at his first World Championships, Dressel won seven golds (more than any other country), including three in one night; […] he now owns the nine fastest 50-meter freestyle swims in NCAA history; and just last November, at the International Swimming League final, Dressel set three more world records.
Some people are even speculating that this summer in Tokyo, Dressel might be able to repeat arguably the greatest feat in Olympic history: Michael Phelpsâ€™s eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.
SIDCHAs, in his words
How he describes daily habits:
â€œI know this stuff really does sound stupid, but this is one of the reasons why I think Iâ€™ve seen some success in this sportâ€”the tiny little habits,â€ he says. â€œI really consider being successful in this sport as just dropping pennies in the bank. And thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m doing every day when I do these stupid, mundane little tasks.â€
Why I wrote this post
The GQ profile covers other habits of his, so read the full piece, but reading one, I had to write this post:
He tries to pick up a piece of trash every single day.
You want greatness? Work the details. The effective ones cost nothing and give you time. Nothing is stopping you but yourself. They reveal your weaknesses and therefore where to grow. They are the source of glory.
EDIT July 29: He won the gold
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