One of the simple secrets to doing great work is merely taking greater pains than everyone else. Scrutinizing every idea. Attending to every detail. Polishing every inch.
In The Star Wars Archives, George Lucas explained that this approach was a crucial element to how he created not just a movie to watch but an alternate reality to enter:
“One thing I learned from Kurosawa is to try and instill an immaculate reality, an attention to detail that makes it real. Whether you’ve got dust or a rattling thing on the side of the ship, that adds another little element to it that keeps it looking real. What that does is say, ‘You believe where you are, no matter where you are.’ I think I accomplished that. People think our places are real. There’s never a sense of, ‘Oh, I’m watching a science fiction movie.’”
That’s why Lucas carefully created every object in every frame of his iconic movies—every character, creature, costume, fork, napkin, tray, fixture, gun, chair, gadget, everything.
He knew that God’s in the details.
This mindset is also how a world-class athlete named Dave Scott won the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon six times.
In his most intense phases of training, he’d bike 75 miles, swim 12 miles, and run 17 miles every single day, burning thousands of calories. He’d also rinse his low-fat cottage cheese before eating it.
To remove another couple of grams of fat from his meal plan so he could eat just a bit more carbs every day, which he believed made him just that much better—one small step in his system of super discipline.
We know this ritual couldn’t have directly improved Scott’s performance, but we also know that someone willing to rinse their cottage cheese is also willing to go to any lengths to win, no matter how extreme.
And win Scott did.
So, what about you? Are you willing to rinse your cottage cheese? Are you willing to go great guns to get what you want?
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