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  • Writer's pictureBen Brownsberger

Groundhog Day

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

Groundhog Day, literally today February 2nd, is also the title of a hilarious 1993 Bill Murray movie. This movie provides a metaphor which could be adapted to almost any endeavor. The metaphor is that life will keep serving you up the same lesson until you get it right or die trying. In the case of Phil Connors (Murray's cynical yet charming character) he quite literally died trying to get out of the loop which was a continuous repeat of February 2nd. Over the course of the movie Murray transforms from a nefarious fella to a benevolent All-American guy. Initially, Phil is confronted with an annoying series of mishaps and gains awareness of how to literally navigate the potholes and Ned Ryerson's (the overzealous insurance agent) of the world. After an untold number of attempts at getting through February 2nd, Phil literally knows every event in town down to the second from when a dish is going to fall, an armored car guard is going to be distracted to when an old lady's car is going to have a blow out. Mid-way through, Phil can't take it anymore and begins a serious of attempts to end the day on his terms, none succeed as he always wakes up at 6:00 am February 2nd, to Sonny & Cher's "I got you babe". A deeper message here is that days keep going by whether we want them to or not. After surrendering to the pointlessness of trying to escape the day and avoid uncomfortable outcomes, Phil decides to change his focus toward making a difference in other peoples lives and bettering himself along the way. The levels of multidisciplinary mastery that Phil demonstrates at the end of the film imply he spend literally thousands of days repeating February 2nd. He mastered: poems, language, piano, chainsaw ice sculptures and most of all generosity and humility. In doing so he earned the respect of the town, the woman of his dreams and most importantly: Himself. Sure enough with all those skills and character traits mastered; it was February 3rd...finally!

How does this relate to Optimum Performance? As stated above, this metaphor could be adapted to nearly any endeavor. How to excel: repeat the same thing over and over with the caveat that the repetition must be the best execution you are presently capable of performing. Don't just keep doing something which is not taking you towards the desired outcome. The actions and repetitions must be purposeful. Like Phil early on, it's easier to let distractions (fads whether they are pills and potions or the newest workout program) keep you from the main thing. After enough pain from going down unfruitful paths, you get to make a decision: keep looking until you find the way or validate your way out of pursuing your passion. In a world full of "noise" a.k.a. distractions today; my purpose is to provide "signal" which will ring true with simplicity to allow a clear train of thought and a meaningful course of action to be pursued. We don't get do-over-days, never underestimate the progress you can make taking action today. 2020 is 1/12 over already, focus on what you can start and accomplish today. When you wake up tomorrow do the next thing that will move you forward: today! Compounding actions lead to accomplishment. Doing things other people won't do, day after day after day is how greatness is achieved in every walk of life. As Coach Belichick would say, "We're on to Feb 3rd."

“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” - Zig Ziglar

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Eternal humbling: repeating a task until mastered. Perhaps humbling one's self is the path to excellence & freedom?

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