Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pickup Basketball, Grit and Greatness

Ever play pickup basketball? You go to a gym, meet people, pick up teams and play. You never know who you will get on your team, or how your team will do and it changes every time. Last night I was reminded of a critical factor in greatness that any of us can leverage: grit.

Arriving early I was the tenth player so we chose teams and started playing. Since there is only one court, if you win you stay on. As the game progressed more players started arriving at the gym. I knew them. They were bigger, stronger, and more talented than anyone we had on our team. Though we won the first game I thought our time on the court might be short lived. However we won the next five games against far superior teams until we finally lost by a point (I think we were exhausted by that time). Why did we do so well? Our team worked harder, fought harder and wanted to prove ourselves much more than the other teams.

Research on grit, which is perseverance in the face of obstacles, has proven to succeed over talent and IQ. Our cultural challenge is that many of us want instant gratification. Instant gratification will never lead the way to greatness. Those who are willing to continue in the face of obstacles fight against challenges and even fight against their own lethargy will succeed in whatever they want to achieve.

So, what do you want to achieve? What are you doing about it on a daily basis? What do you do when you encounter obstacles? The answers to these questions reveal the likelihood of your success. Any of us can succeed, but it may not happen tomorrow, or the day after, or for quite a while. But if you are willing to make the journey, you may find your success at the end of the road.

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