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Guest Post: Could you become the only or best in the world at something?

A very good guest post by Zac Cohn in response to this week's Get Some Victory newsletter. "Parkour," if you don't know the term, is similar to "free running" - it's very cool and check out a Youtube video if you've never seen it. Also, I got a chance to play the Chess variant with Zac he talks about - it's extremely fun. Here's a very good insight, grateful to Zac for sharing this:

A lot of people have self-inflected self-esteem issues. They don't think they're special, don't think they have a chance to succeed or break out of mediocrity and normalcy. They typically aren't very competitive by nature, but being around or hearing about people who are tends to reinforce their nature.

In my five years of experience with parkour, I've come to realize that I have done things that no other human being in history has done. There was a huge, magnificent tree in the city where I went to college, and there was a very difficult jump from one branch to another. I worked hard and built my skill up to the point where I made that jump, and then a few weeks later the tree was destroyed in a storm. I am the only person to have ever done that jump, and the only person who ever will.

Making that jump was exciting, but when I heard the tree was destroyed it was an earth shattering experience for me. I WAS THE ONLY PERSON TO DO THAT, I WILL ALWAYS BE THE ONLY PERSON TO HAVE DONE THAT.

After this experience, I've looked for other places to apply this idea. The idea that I am the only person to have ever done this. I am the best in the world at that. My friend recently developed a really fun chess variant we call Egyptian Laser Chess (no relation to the recent events in Egypt)- there have been maybe 20 games of it played (ever, by anyone), with maybe half a dozen people. Of those people, I've won a majority of the games - you can also see me as the highest ranked player of Egyptian Laser Chess on the planet.

Developing Willpower, by Jason Shen

Jason Shen has achieved tremendous success in athletics, technology entrepreneurship, writing, and living an outstanding life. To promote his recent GiveGetWin deal on The Science of Willpower, he sat down to tell us how he started learning about willpower, the state of what's known scientifically about how willpower and the brain work, and how you can start improving your life right away by implementing a tiny habit, thinking and systems, and using some powerful thinking tools. Enjoy:

Developing Willpower by Jason Shen, as told to Sebastian Marshall

Willpower has been an undercurrent in my entire life. In gymnastics, you have to use your willpower to overcome your fear of an activity and go for the skill you want, to get over the fear, to push yourself to finish your conditioning and strength training a part of you doesn't want to…

It didn't come automatically to me. When I was a student, I wasn't automatically self-disciplined. There were actions I knew were useful, like doing my homework in one session without getting distracted, or not throwing clothing on my apartment floor. But I wouldn't always do them, and I didn't know why.

I started to learn those answers during a student initiative course at Stanford called The Psychology of Personal Change. That's when I first started reading academic papers on the topic. In academia, willpower and self-discipline is often called "self-regulation," and in 2009 I started to get really serious about it from an academic perspective -- and saw gains from it in my personal life.

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