Workout of the Day

What Arcade Games Can Teach Us About Success


Walking out of a birthday get-together for one of the gym kids at a local pizza place today, I saw a young boy, maybe 12 or 13, putting on quite a show on one of the arcade games. You know the game where you get 4 small basketballs, and one or two minutes to shoot as many baskets as you can into a small hoop that feeds the balls back to you as quickly as you can shoot them? I hesitate to describe what this kid was doing as “playing,” because that doesn’t give it enough credit. He was doing work. In the 15 or so seconds that I took meandering by on my way out the door, he didn’t miss a single shot, and he probably shot the ball 20+ times in that short span of time.

While I don’t really think arcade free throw games are a practice that will earn much authority, money, or large-scale acclaim, I think the kid is probably onto something, whether he knows it or not. I don’t know anything about this young boy, but I can guarantee that he didn’t walk into a local arcade one day and shoot 115 successful mini-basketball free throws in 90 seconds. He has probably spent hundreds of hours and thousands of quarters standing in front of that game, practicing his craft. And sure, right now he’s probably spending more on quarters to play the game than he is making back in stuffed animal prizes and the awe of his peers, but he’s in possession of a transferable skill that has application far beyond arcade game mastery: unrelenting application of self.

This is a skill that’s in no shortage among those who earn titles like “genius,” “industry leader,” and “master of their craft.” From the outside it may look obsessive or bizarre or even unhealthy, but it’s a foundational skill in the world of human potential and self-actualization. And it should be no surprise that this skill is common among the world’s greatest intellectual, creative, and influential leaders. Prodigiously gifted or not, if you spend thousands of hours unrelentingly applying yourself to a very specific skill, you will rise above the rest. I don’t know why this particular arcade game captivated this kid, or if he has other hobbies, or if he will ever advance to founding a new tech startup, mastering the stock markets, playing professional sports, or leading us closer to a cure for cancer; but I’m pretty sure that he’s in possession of arguably the most important skill for doing any of those things.

Find that thing that captivates you or drives you crazy, and learn how to unrelentingly apply yourself to it.

- PS


  • Make 2 attempts at a max effort 250m row

  • Rest ~ 4 mins between attempts


  • 12 min AMRAP

    • Max cal row

    • Every minute on the minute, complete a 50’ sandbag front carry (AHAP)