Business Growth Lessons from The Hustler and The Wolfe

Image of Gym BusinessYou’re reading this article because of the insight of two highly talented writers.

They inspired me to weave fitness into business growth because, well, the personal fundamentals involved have so many parallels.

First off, if you aren’t a fitness freak that’s okay. You’ll still learn a thing or two.

Second, your feedback is strongly encouraged so please leave some comment love at the end.

It all started with the hustler, Jk Allen, and his post on the Hustler’s Notebook.

Fitness and personal development

Jk wrote about Fitness and Personal Development and shared his views on discipline, spotters, and visualization in
regard to working out.

Staying in peak physical form requires discipline. It’s a commitment to a lifestyle of physical activity. If you want to experience lasting results, you’ll have to stick to a workout routine for more than two weeks per year.

It takes time.

Jk also mentioned having a spotter. Having someone nearby to spot you is vital as a weightlifter. Mainly because dropping weight plates and bars on yourself is unpleasant. Yep, fact. We as lifters sometimes ask for assistance.

Here, I’ll let Jk explain the role of the spotter:

“The spotter is there to motivate and assist you to push through extra reps. He’s there to physically help you lift heavier loads than you couldn’t lift on your own, ensuring that you get the max out of each rep performed.” ~Jk Allen

Then there’s visualization. Visualization comes into play before, during, and even after your workout routine. I envision lifting weight when I’m not at the gym. Picturing myself successfully lifting heavy weight, more weight than I have lifted before, honestly makes my next workout easier.

Just “seeing” myself working out before I start helps me be a better lifter.

Weeks ago, Paul Wolfe asked “do you believe in natural talent?” He discussed Anders Ericsson and the 10,000 hours rule. Ericsson believed that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to excel in a given discipline. He’d likely agree that his rule applies to sports and physical training.

So, after reading Jk’s and Paul’s articles, this all came together for me.

Your 10,000 hours

Paul discussed Anders Ericsson and his 10,000 rule (Malcolm Gladwell later covered it in his book Outliers). To quote a section of Paul’s article:

“Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers popularized the 10,000 Hour rule – and essentially it states that to get to be world class at a discipline you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice. Or 10 years of work.” ~Paul Wolfe

So does one have to be born with a specific talent or can it be learned?

Can musicians, artists or golfers and swimmers become world-renowned after years of practice, perseverance, and learning from others with more experience?

My vote: yes.

To excel in any of those disciplines you simply need to put forth consistent effort to improving your skill.

The sixth sense

When I started weightlifting 17 years ago, I was weak. I didn’t know the first thing about proper form nor did I know what my body could handle.

By the time I had a gym membership, I was quite a bit more experienced and became aware of my abilities. But then something else happened, naturally, after I had become a member of the gym.

I learned who the strong people truly are. After you put in your time at the gym, you learn that some folks are muscular but without the strength that muscularity implies. Once in a while you can identify them before seeing them lift a single dumbbell.

You develop the ability to “know” which people will make it beyond the first month after their New Year resolutions.

The former weightlifting competitor, though older now and only a slight resemblance of his competing form, sticks out like a sore thumb. You respect his experience, the way he or she deliberately navigates the room and manipulates the equipment and weight.

You can also spot the “instant gratification” types at a glance.

But none of this tribal knowledge is known on day one.

You have to put in your time to develop your sixth sense. In your niche, observing your market, studying your target audience or even when researching your competitors you’ll develop a higher awareness of all of it. But you achieve that awareness only after putting in your time.

Only through practice, discipline,and perseverance will you be able to do so. If you’ve just started a business, I’d advise against staring up the stairs, just step up the steps. It’s going to take time before you get a solid feel for your market and your next step.

Be patient. Keep at it.

Experience comes at the price of action taken over time; you can’t piggy-back on any system to circumvent this process.

Final thoughts

Be patient with your business. Be patient with yourself. Be ready (and willing) to put in your 10,000 hours. If you don’t, if you try to shortcut the system, you’ll fall short of your glory.

There are many who have come and gone before you so work diligently to avoid being just another face in the crowd.

Are you prepared to put in your 10,000 hours?

Photo: neeta_lind

12 Responses to Business Growth Lessons from The Hustler and The Wolfe
  1. Paul Wolfe
    May 25, 2011 | 11:14 am

    Hey Jon

    Thanks for the mention!

    You know what I believe so I won’t bore your readers by leaving a Post sized comment about the acquistion of talent!

    Here’s something I hope will be of interest though.

    I was reading a review of Danny Brown’s book Parables For Business and I left a couple of comments in various places about the wisdom that’s hidden in old stories. And referenced Joseph Campbell and the Hero With 1000 Faces.

    It struck me that the 10,000 Hour rule is coded into the story of the Tortoise and The Hare. Instead of winning the race think if acquiring a high level of skill in a particular discipline.

    And the tortoise does it by putting one foot in front of the other.

    The Hare though looks for shortcuts. Has a sleep. Chases some side roads down to look for more shortcuts.

    We know who wins the race.

    Here’s the thing – in the acquisition of a skill the tortoise ALWAYS wins the race. Always. You don’t put the hours in, you can’t there. It’s as simple as that.

    Those who don’t believe it will wake up one day and find they are eating Tortoise Dust on their own journey to nowhere.

    HTH. Looking forward to chatting on Saturday.


    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 8:52 pm

      Howdy, Paul!

      You’re welcome and thank you for adding this. It’s funny that I’ve never looked at the Tortoise and The Hare story this way. Amazing. Slow and steady wins the race is something I hear regularly and there’s a good reason for it wouldn’t you say? :)

      The tortoise is willing to focus on one step after the next, after the next…and soon enough it reaches its goal. It may not be quick and/or glamorous but I’ll take achievement over glitz any day!

  2. Allie
    May 26, 2011 | 11:14 am


    Today must be self awareness day. I just read a post over at CopyBlogger about how your own self awareness ties into your business/blog. At least that was my takeaway. :-)

    I was going to argue that people do have natural talent so they can just “do” things better. BUT after reading what you said, “But you achieve that awareness only after putting in your time.” I think I may have to change my mind.

    Sure some people do have a nack for things BUT they need to be aware of it and foster the goodness that comes with it.

    I am a firm believer everyone has something special inside them, they just need to find it. And that is what you have said, they need to be aware of it and help that talent grow. Yet, also, even if you don’t have that special talent, you can achieve it with hard work. I just think the ones with the natural talent for something have a “heads up” on others.

    I’ve been a little MIA lately and it feels good to be back commenting on my favorite blogs.


    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 8:48 pm

      Hey Allie,

      It’s perfectly fine to disagree with me so feel free to speak up if you ever do! Natural talents exist; let’s face it. We all know someone that just “takes” to a discipline or task with relative ease.

      You know, that’s well said. We all have a unique set of gifts and qualities to share. Some of us have to dust and polish off that “inner special” to make it shine but that’s just the way it goes. The deeper we’re willing to dig the greater the treasures found. Thanks so much for stopping by and including me among your favorites. You’re awesome, Allie!

  3. Adrienne
    May 26, 2011 | 12:09 pm

    Well Jon, funny thing is that I just started a fitness routine last month and am only six weeks into it. So this came at a good time for me because for the first time I refuse to quit this one. I admit, exercising is not something I’ve ever enjoyed. I do love walking though.

    I don’t actually visualize me doing the exercises but I do the gratification of thanking God for my fabulous body! You know, what’s to come! :-)

    I believe people have natural talents but I also believe that those who are truly determined can achieve success with a lot of hard work. Maybe they just have to practice their golf swing more or hone their talents as an artist. It might take them a little longer but the results can be the same.

    I definitely know I will put in those 10,000 hours with no problem whatsoever. Patience, never my strong point but something I have definitely learned while on this journey.

    Thanks Jon, great share!!!


    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 8:43 pm


      Congrats on taking action toward improving your fitness level. That’s fantastic. You’ll reach your goals and the main thing is to find enjoyment DURING this time of improvement. That’s likely the biggest hurdle, right? I mean we all want to celebrate in the winner’s circle but few of us have what it takes to make it through the journey. May as well find ways to have fun along the journey.

      Yep, natural abilities do play a part but I don’t think you need them to excel. You may have to work a bit harder than others but skills can be learned. We agree here. Thanks!

  4. Jk Allen
    June 1, 2011 | 12:57 am

    Hey Jon – I love how you intertwined the philosiphies here from myself (I’m honored, thanks!) and Paul’s 10,000 hours.

    To answer your question, I’m ready to put the time in. That’s what being hustler is all about. It’s about having the willingness to put in the 10,000 hours in order to reach the goal that your aiming for.

    sorry so late on this one man. I was at Disney World from the 20th through 27th and trying to get caught up it.

    I appreciate the mention…very kind of you man.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 8:40 pm


      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, man! Thanks for swinging by and for inspiring me. You’re all about the hustle, I know this :)

      Disney, eh? That’s great I hope you enjoyed it. I’ve been “away” for a good stretch of time as well so no worries, I know the deal.

  5. Robert
    June 1, 2011 | 8:04 pm


    How the heck are ya my man? Everything good?

    Hey man this is an awesome post! As a frequent visitor to my local gym I can relate to all of those points. There’s alot of young guys in my gym there for the glory the “chest and biceps” guys!

    I think its the same for business, the guys that go in looking for immediate glory and instant results are the ones that don’t last, and the ones that have problems with the neglected (body) parts down the line.

    The gym is the same as business, you need discipline and a “spotter”, but its only experience that gives you those things. Like you said, we’ve got to jump in to start understanding what the business is about.

    I think it comes down to the basic fact that “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” I do agree with most sports that if someone put in 10,000 hours they could become world-renowned, but I think that there are a few sports where natural ability plays a massive part.

    In conclusion, in this instant gratification society, most people want results without the hard work (isn’t that why some guys take steriods!?)

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 8:38 pm

      Hey Robert I’m doing well, thank you. I hope all is well with you these days.

      Great connection with the “chest and biceps” types, man. I agree; the instant gratification types are easy to spot and it’s just human nature. We try to take the path of least resistance. Skills can be learned and honed but I do agree with you that some folks are naturally quicker on the up-take.

  6. Stuart
    June 2, 2011 | 6:31 am

    Hey Jon, great post! Very good how you combined Jk and Paul together here, I think this may be an inspiration for future posts? ;-)

    The keyword here is practice. Practice more to get better, practice harder to push your limits. Keep practicing, and you’ll move further down the path.

    But there’s something else; the end-goal. Where is the end-goal? I personally don’t have an end-goal, I just keep doing what I enjoy doing, keep up the practice, until I can practice no more. I don’t focus on the outcome, I focus on the activity itself.

    With exercise, I don’t focus on a glorious, muscular body. I just focus on exercise :-)

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 8:32 pm

      Hi Stu!

      You know, this may serve as future inspiration :) Practice is definitely the key. If you’re enjoying the practice of what you’re doing and content with where it seems you’re headed, then who am I to stand in the way? I will say I’m a fan of having a clearly defined (or as clear as this life allows) end-game but of course with flexibility.

      Best wishes focusing on that exercise, my friend!

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