When programming a 9 week pre-season I can't jump straight into the intense or fancy stuff. It would be the equivalent of adding a huge engine to a delicate classic car. I might get one decent performance out of it but it would quickly blow up on me. Instead I have to start with the basics - in this case developing a large aerobic capacity, a strength base and adequate mobility. This process takes time, can be boring and often feels like time wasted as it can be difficult to see the improvements. Yet the more time we can spend here the more explosive and, crucially, sustainable, the end results will be.
This of course is the concept of building a base. The larger your base the bigger the pyramid you can build. However in our modern world we are conditioned to expect results now. Need to lose weight? Try this 3 day Juice diet. Need to pass an exam? 2 all nighters and some red bull will have you covered. When we need to succeed we are increasingly turning to the short term tactics or the peaking strategies rather than doing the legwork which is the real secret of high performance. To use an S&C example I often see people in gyms using bands, chains, fancy bars and all other types of equipment when squatting or benching. These are techniques for advanced lifters with a very well developed strength base, yet people go straight to them in the hope that they can skip the years of graft and base building that is really required.
This concept is readily transferred into the real world. If you are a student are you regularly topping up your knowledge so that when exams come around you can focus on planning for specific questions or are you just going to hide away in the library for a week and hope the information sticks? If you are working and planning your next move up the ladder are you practicing and developing your transferable skills on a daily basis or are you instead thinking about interview technique?
So today's exercise is to take a step back and reflect on the things you are currently trying to achieve, whether these are qualifications, promotions or athletic goals. Work out what the base activities are for these ambitions. Now consider where you are investing your time. If you aren't putting it into the basics then it may be time to reallocate.