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What Is a Lot?

Updated: Apr 19

Is a one mile run far? Is writing 10,000 words a lot? Is lifting 400 lbs. strong? Is practicing your Spanish lessons one hour a day enough? Is an audience of 100 people a lot? Is four thousand miles far away?


What is a lot?
A lot of cars.... get it?

The answer to every one of these questions is, “It depends.” Or “Compared to what?”


There is no such thing as an absolute “a lot.”


If you have never run before, have a broken leg, or you are 102 years old, a one-mile run is pretty far. If you have never written before, 10,000 words is daunting. If you are Brandon Sanderson, 10,000 words is one or two afternoons. 400 lbs. is about the most I’ve ever lifted but if you are my coach, it is not even a heavy warm up set. One hour of Spanish lessons if you are never going to use it because you live in the middle of Beijing and it is uncommon, is probably a lot, if you live in Mexico City it’s probably not enough. If you hate an audience, 100 people might be terrifying, while if you are an online influencer looking for a crowd, 100 is nothing, you want hundreds of thousands. A four-thousand-mile walk is pretty far. It’s a pretty quick flight though, and the distance a space shuttle goes every thirteen minutes.


There are no absolutes. 


When I first started to write, I could write X words per day. The number doesn’t matter. I didn’t write every day, though almost, and I found I averaged X. Over a year or so I started to average about 1.5 X. At two years I found 2.5 X was pretty comfortable.


I wasn’t adding much time to the process, I was just getting more efficient, better at doing it, and I don’t think the quality dropped. This month, due to circumstances outside of my control I have to write about 4.0X every day, without exception, for 35 days.


It hasn’t been easy every day, but most days it hasn’t been too hard. Would I keep it up intentionally? Not right now. Maybe someday. But I say this to say perhaps practice does make perfect. Perhaps we can become something more than we first imagined was possible if we are given time to get there. If we give ourselves the time to get there. What we expect of ourselves in our first try might be too harsh, even if the final goal is appropriate.


Whatever you are capable of today, you can train yourself to do more. Pick your goal, pick your targets, break them down to 1 year, 2 year, and even 5-year activities, and you will find day by day you can get there. But don’t wait. I took years off from writing I can never get back. Don’t wait too long to start. The process of a better you takes more time than you think.


But it is in your power.


So go make it happen. Today.

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