Sports are rich in lessons about personal development, and I love listening to sports talk shows unpacking a team’s strategies, tactics and training. So, I’d like to share some of my sports thoughts that also offer excellent insight into achieving amazing success.
Use luck, but don’t depend on it
Luck will always influence success, especially in sports. For instance, a key reason the Milwaukee Bucks won the 2021 NBA championship was the team’s comparatively low number of injuries. Of course, the Bucks still needed to put in plenty of hard work to win the games, but the team masterfully figured out how to capitalize on its fitness luck. This is an excellent lesson for personal development.
A major factor in my own success is because my parents enrolled me at a small school in a suburb of Los Angeles. At the time, most school districts would not have accommodated my disabilities, but the Las Virgines Unified School District took good care of me. I was lucky to have great parents and teachers. However, I still had to exploit this luck by working hard to achieve my goals.
Play to your strengths
It’s easy to get in trouble by not playing to your strengths. A great example was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s performance during this NBA season. Giannis’ game-winning strength is being unstoppable in the paint, so when he tried shooting three-pointers the team lost its winning efficiency. Throughout my career, whenever I also try to be more than my strengths, I inevitably run into trouble. Now I know what I’m good at – writing and pondering about becoming amazing. That’s my lane and I understand how to stick to it.
The idea that you can throw talent together and expect amazing results is a bit like tossing ingredients into a pot expecting to create a gourmet meal. This narrative is lazy and not the way success works at all. A team can have all the superstar talent in the world, but if it can’t find ways of working together, it will be a losing team.
Heading into the last NBA season, many pundits assumed the Brooklyn Nets would win the league because it had superstars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. But this prediction ignored the reality that the Nets’ rookie head coach didn’t give the team enough time to build chemistry. The team’s shallow bench also became a problem when those superstars started getting injuries. A bit of luck might have been enough for the Nets to win the league. But expecting everything to the break the Net’s way was not a winning formula.
Similarly, in business, it is deeply unwise to base an entire marketing strategy on the expectation that a new product will go viral. While it takes much more work, it is a far better strategy to understand the market and plan rather than rely on luck. It’s possible that if everything went the right way, the Nets would have won the NBA championship, but their luck ran out. The lesson is that there will always be situations that break the wrong way. I think the word for that is “life.” So, make sure to plan accordingly.
While I enjoy watching sports games, I get much more enjoyment listening to the talk shows diving into the details and analyzing how teams play. The shows offer a glimpse into the inner workings of sports and plenty of gold nuggets for personal development.