Americans love aspirational brands, the ones that inspire us to dig deeper than we ever thought possible to break the barriers that constrain us from our best–the best–performance humanly possible. And messages like these, along with the Olympian ambitions they ignite, deserve praise for portraying in poetic, primal fashion the commitment, focus, and sacrifice required for succeed in a competitive environment. Too bad these celebrated brands only promote sports…
Or do they?
When the Nikes of the world exhort us to “just do it,” we imagine that vague pronoun reference involves sweat, pain, and pressure. But if we expand our perception of “it” to incorporate the cost to be the boss in areas outside athletics, we can connect our academic and professional pain and pressure to the performance hype train.
Consider Gatorade, who has been fueling serious sports performance for over 50 years. They’ve broadened their scope over time from football to basketball to basically everything sports-related. But their newest message should resonate with everyone who strives for success and greatness:
“Give that extra ounce. It might just be the one that all the others don’t.”
To understand who “all the others” are, catch Gatorade’s “One and Only” commercial, featuring a laser-focused Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns, no stranger to basketball fans, has performed at an insanely high–literally, as he’s 7-feet tall–level all his life. The first pick of the 2015 draft and NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2015–16 season (also 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year) wins acclaim as one of the best players to build an entire team around.
No wonder this icon of excellence sounds so convincing when warning aspiring athletes of the level of competition at the top:
“You think it’s just five guys between you and that rim? Try five hundred. You see, for every guy you beat, there’s a hundred more out there. With your same fire, working on your same moves, all trying to steal your glory. So if you want to be the one and only and not just one of many, give that extra ounce.”
This gritty speech surely rings true for the athletes out there, but high performers in every field should see their own struggle between the lines. In fact, the world of high-stakes admissions tests raises competition to levels that might wilt even the dauntless Karl-Anthony Towns. After all, just about two million college-bound seniors take the ACT every year, with an equivalent number sitting for the SAT, and these tests are graded on a curve! Every score point is contested by tens of thousands of test takers. Talk about pressure.
That’s why adrenaline-drenched inspiration fills a critical role in test prep alongside study guides, practice tests, and tutoring sessions. Working through lesson after lesson, question after question, exam after exam demands all a student can give and more than most are willing to commit. Beast mode applies to test taking too. So, just do it. Give that extra ounce!