The Cream Of The Crop

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The Cream Of The Crop

We all take shots that miss the mark, and sometimes we miss in front of our harshest critics. This is true on the basketball court, and this is true in life, because life isn’t an exact science. Life is a contact sport. But there are certain things we can learn about life by watching a sport like basketball. In both basketball and life, one’s ability to rebound from missed shots and to follow one shot with another shot is vital to success.

In my lifetime, I have watched a lot of sporting events. I’m a guy, so that’s a legal requirement for me. But if I had to summarize what I have learned from watching all those competitive events, it would be the fact that victory is achieved by focusing on three things: attitude, effort, and technique.

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about basketball, football, baseball, tennis, bowling, archery, or golf, technique is important. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about archery, swimming, boxing, rugby, hockey, soccer, or kickboxing, effort is important. But in every sport, including life, attitude is fundamental. In fact, attitude is the foundation that makes effort worthwhile. It’s the centrifuge that makes technique effective.

Nobody in baseball hustled more than Pete Rose. Nobody in golf practiced more than Jack Nicklaus. Nobody in boxing focused more than Muhammad Ali. And nobody in basketball had more ability than Michael Jordan. But the thing that really set these great athletes apart from their contemporaries was the amazing attitude that drove these men to be their best and to rebound from losses in order to work harder for victories.

Coach Don Meyer, one of the great college basketball coaches, used to say, “Complacency is the forerunner of mediocrity.” And if that is true, then dissatisfaction is the forerunner of greatness. A hunger to do more and to achieve more is a prerequisite for excellence.

So start thinking about a new paradigm for life. The cream of the crop in any sport know how to win. But what is far more important is that they know how to rebound. They know how to rebound from their missed shots on the basketball court and in the real world, and they know how to keep shooting until they finally hit the goal.