With Final 4 right around the corner I had Rick Pitino’s book ‘Success is a Choice’ lined up to read. And if things went according to my bracket (Louisville in the Final 4), it would have made a lot more sense. However, one of ex players is still coaching in the dance, so it made enough sense to me. Billy Donovan, at Florida, was mentioned in the book a couple times for being I slow, overweight kid, who finally got it and was able to succeed at the D1 Level. What was it he finally got? He understood that success wasn’t complicated, and to be successful was a choice he could make.
Rick begins the book with a war time quote by Winston Churchill that is complete truth.
Hoping and praying for success was fine, but deserving it is what really mattered. – Winston Churchill
How true is it that? It doesn’t matter how bad we want something, it comes down to what we have done to make it happen. That’s the truth. But yet we live in a society where we demand everything now and we are unhappy when we don’t get what we want instantaneously. Understand that good things are going to come your way if you work consistently and strategically for it.
Pitino laid out 10 Steps for Success:
- Build Self-Esteem – We can’t get anywhere without it, but we have to be honest with ourselves about where it comes from.
- Set Demanding Goals – Goals are the steps to pursue our dreams. This is how we grow.
- Always Be Positive – You can be extremely hard working but if you aren’t positive you are inhibiting your chance at success. Plus the journey is less rewarding.
- Establish Good Habits – Success can be hard. But if it’s built on good habits, it won’t be because doing what needs to be done is second nature.
- Master the Art of Communication – Good skills are essential. All of them start with listening. I went deeper on this in a previous blog, Connections and Connecting.
- Learn From Role Models – Others have laid out a road to success for whatever journey you are on. Use it!
- Thrive From Pressure – We must differentiate between stress and pressure. Do this right, and it can be a powerful driving force.
- Be Ferociously Persistent – Persistence is determining factor between who will succeed and who fails.
- Learn From Adversity – If you aren’t willing to learn from it, you are letting it thwart your dreams.
- Survive Success – Becoming successful is a process that never ends.
If you want more detail I highly recommend you check out this book. And if you’re really looking to get some reading done check out Stronger Team’s 118 Books You Must Read. It should keep you busy for a while.
I enjoy watching NBA basketball because you have a collection of people who have become the greatest at the sport they (and I) love. Sometimes I can’t help but notice the advantages they have to be great basketball players. Take Lebron James he’s 6’8, 250 lbs and moves really well, or Kevin Durant, who is 6’11 but has the coordination of a 6 footer. On the other end you got Stephen Curry, not the protypical athletic specimen, but son of the Raptors legendary shooter Dell Curry, so I guess we can use the genetic cop out again.
But I’d disagree. What Stephen Curry did get from his dad was an understanding at a young age of the consistent effort and dedication required to pursue excellence. It’s this work ethic that these superstars all share that has led them to their personal success. Success was not given to them, it had to be earned. Like Curry and other great players they are notorious for showing to the gym hours early for extra shooting where they prepare themselves by demanding perfection. After workouts Curry is known for not leaving until he has swished five free throws in a row. He did this when he a teenager, and has continued this as an NBA star, it’s a part of his journey.
Alan Stein said it the best in one of his clinics when he told the aspiring basketball players “Success is not an accident, success is actually a choice and Stephen Curry is one of the best shooters on the planet today because he has made the choice to create great habits. And my question to you is. Are the habits you have today on par with the dreams that you have for tomorrow?”
Wow, how powerful is that?
One strategy I have started to use that I built from the NCCP and Strongerteam is a START, STOP, CONTINUE of single habits. The goal each month is to focus on two new habits, a positive one to add and a negative one to remove. I like the idea of focusing on building good habits because habits are easier to break than to make. Now, after the month pick one of your habits that you would like to continue to work on and for the next month work on two new habits, plus this one. This is important because it has been suggested that it takes anywhere from 21-60 days to consolidate a habit. Sometimes, it can be challenging but habits are natural and automatic and thus will no longer require extra motivation. If you focus on making the actions automatic, in one year you can have 24 consolidated habits that will be the foundation of your future.
So ask yourself what standards can you set for yourself right now that will lead to a successful tomorrow? What can you do to hold yourself accountable? What will be your START, STOP, CONTINUE?
Be > Yesterday