When I was younger I allowed my ego to cloud my sense of reality and it prevented me from recognizing that there were always people who were smarter, faster, stronger etc. It used to really bother me. I readily admit to being frustrated at times by this, but I learned how to place it all in context.
What I mean is that I learned that there were some very basic aspects of life that made all the difference.
- Talent is important but in many situations it cannot replace hard work and effort, especially in a team setting. Work together and work hard and you can make up the difference.
- The will to win is another variable that you can use to overcome adversity. It works in conjunction with hard work, for that matter it probably is the key element. If you have a strong will and you are willing to do what it takes you can compensate for a lack of talent.
I dive for loose balls, play very tenacious defense and I chase every rebound.
In between this I often lavishly praise the skills of the man I am guarding. All too often he stops focusing on what he is doing and allows me to distract him and that is the very reason I keep talking. I want him to stop paying attention. I want him to be irritated so that he tries to embarrass me. I want him to get upset so that he stops utilizing his teammates. Once that happens victory is a step away.
What I really learned is this. I don't have to be the smartest. I don't have to be the strongest and I don't have to be the best in everything. What I have to be is accepting of my limitations, aware of my strengths and conscious of how to leverage those items so that I can achieve my goals.
There are two other key components to this formula.
- Do not assume that your opponent is too dumb, too stupid or too inexperienced to beat you. Don't let an overgrown ego make you complacent. Always remember that it is often better to be lucky than to be talented.
- Do not let your ego prevent you from learning from the success of those around you. There is little reason to reinvent the wheel. Take his success and figure out how to adapt and adopt his methods.
It is easy to react. When something hurts you it is easy to respond by lashing out and sometimes there is a time and place for that. But never forget that sometimes the best reaction is to take a deep breath and look around. I don't like being patient but I have found that for somethings I have an infinite amount.
And I have a very long memory.