“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” — Mary Anne Radmacher
When you show up each day, at whatever you do, are you fully engaged?
Do you really apply yourself and test what you’re capable of?
Do you use it as a chance to get a little better, or learn a little more?
A Little Better, Adds Up to a Lot
When you focus on getting a little better, you get a lot better over time. And you can build your experience and expertise, on a daily basis, a moment at a time, a chance at a time, and a choice at a time. That is, if you’re present, prepared, and engaged. That’s why “the present” is a gift to you, if you use it.
It’s your chance to both realize and unleash your potential.
In the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Sweck shares wisdom on how you can express and grow your greatness by changing your mindset and applying yourself each day.
Realizing Your Potential the Wooden Way
John Wooden produced one of the greatest championship records in sports. He led the UCLA basketball team to the NCAA Championship in 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1975. His team once had an eighty-eight game winning streak, and there were seasons where they were undefeated.
His team didn’t start this way. In fact, when he first became coach, his team was picked last to finish for the division. That’s right … Last. That does not sound like a winning team.
Yet his team proved them wrong, and they went on to win the division with 22 wins and 7 losses that season. Talk about a turnaround.
How did he do it?
He focused on continuous improvement, conditioning, and mindset.
Become a Little Better Each Day
The key to getting a lot better, is to get a little better each day.
“Wooden is not complicated. He’s wise and interesting, but not complicated. He’s just a straight-ahead growth mindset guy who lives by this rule: ‘You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.’”
Full Preparation and Full Effort
It’s not about perfection. It’s about preparation. And you get out what you put in.
“He didn’t ask for mistake-free games. He didn’t demand that his players never lose. He asked for full preparation and full effort from them. ‘Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?’ If so, he says, ‘You may be outsourced, but you will never lose.’”
They Lost the Opportunity to Become Better
If you just go through the motions, you’re throwing away your chances. It’s lost opportunity.
“He was not a softy. He did not tolerate coasting. If the players were coasting during practice, he turned out the lights and left: ‘ Gentlemen, practice is over.’ They had lost their opportunity to become better that day.”
Find your chances, take more chances, and use your chances.
Otherwise, the opportunities you lose, will be your own.
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Image by Andreas Ivarsson.