Do You want to Settle for Good or Do What it Takes to be Great?

History is littered with individuals and teams who were extremely skilled but failed to achieve the greatness that was within their reach. There are a multitude of reasons why all of these people and teams came up short, but the most common problem was taking some of their opponents too lightly.

More winning streaks have ended against weak competition than to contenders. Sometimes players and teams make the mistake of looking ahead to games against bigger opponents. Others simply assume that showing up will be enough to beat weaker teams.

I often hear commentators talk about players and teams who play their best against the best competition; this sounds impressive, but if you lose games to lesser competitors, those games against the best become less meaningful. Great players and teams don’t take days off: they know that consistency equals excellence.

The best players and teams respect their competition, regardless of their record, and they also look at all of their games as a chance to put fear into their future opponents. This often enables them to gain a substantial mental advantage before the game starts.

When Tiger Woods was dominating the golf world, most of his competitors unknowingly helped him—-his style of play filled them with doubts about their chances to beat him. I have worked with several athletes who have told me that some of their opponents have tipped their hand by expressing doubts about their chances before the games start.

Many games are like boxing matches, where each progressing round is more important than the previous round. Even if you have dominated and won the first 11 rounds of a 12-round fight, putting your guard down for one punch can cause you to lose the fight.

Great players and teams show no mercy and are just as locked-in against opponents with losing records as they are when they play the top competition. Good teams play well enough to win the game, but great teams play well enough to strike fear in their future opponents and set themselves up for more success in the future.

As the great runner Steve Prefontaine (the first Nike-sponsored athlete) used to say:

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Don’t settle, do a little extra, and be great!


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


Comments are closed.