I saw a sign today that read…

“First we will be the best, then we will be first.”

This is a great quote, but unfortunately most people have it backwards.

Most people think that they need to be first to be the best.

That’s the wrong focus.

When you focus on being first, you probably won’t become first.

But when you focus on being the best by giving the best effort/service/attitude, you will be first at whatever you do. And don’t worry if you don’t become first right away, stick with it because I’d like to see who’s going to beat you in the long-run. I guarantee there won’t be many still around.


The less tension and effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.


If you’re an athlete, go back to a time when you were performing at your peak. Notice how you weren’t exerting that much energy? Weren’t you “just” doing it?

Be loose, clear your mind. But be focused.

When you are practicing, you should think about your technique.

When you are competing, you should be more automatic.

Take a deep breath and trust your game.


What do you aspire to be?

What level is your effort?

If your effort is less than your aspirations, the space in between is just HOPE.

Recently, I had a female student who has been progressing nicely. Unfortunately, she goes to a school that has a strong tennis team, so she did not make the team last year.

But she’s not giving up. In fact, she’s working harder.

I recommended that she play some tournaments to get match-tough and experience some pressure situations.

She did. And played well. She lost, but she learned a lot and gained much confidence by just putting herself out there.

I have another student who, when he started playing tournaments, lost in the first two rounds for the first year. But he persisted, and then started winning. He now consistently gets to the finals of tournaments.

Most people don’t like to lose, so they don’t compete. But those are the people who don’t grow.

My students’ efforts are high.

I like that. And I’m proud of them. With a mindset like that, you can’t lose. The results come as a by-product.

Effort = Aspirations = Success


You cannot control your emotions. They go up and down, like a roller coaster.

That’s normal.

However, most people’s actions are congruent with their emotions.

But that’s not what the peak performers do.

The peak performers maintain a high level in their actions, regardless of how they feel.

You can feel tired, negative, or not into it, but it is your choice what kind of attitude you have and what kind of effort you give.

The greatest athletes in the world can do their best when they feel their worst.

And so can you.



Today’s message is especially dedicated to all the great business professionals of LEEEP.

Last night I gave a talk and team building session to LEEEP at Princeton University’s Football Stadium. We discussed success, motivation, adding value and making a difference.

I asked if anyone knew what TEAM stood for.

TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More

as long as there is a…

Total Effort from All Members.

We are all on a team. A sports team. A business team. A relationship team. An academic team.

If you focus on giving your all, no matter what, the team is better for it.

The goal is to have all members of your team go all-out. But if that is not reality, why don’t you take charge – lead by example? You may be pleasantly surprised.

Enthusiasm is contagious.

Start an epidemic.


Have you ever been in the zone?

Didn’t the tennis ball look like a beach ball?


Part One: Look around you and find a nearby object, like a pen or piece of paper. Now slowly reach for it tightening every muscle in your body. Move as slow as you can. Now slowly bring it to your chest and slowly place it down back where you found it.

Part Two: Now reach for the same object normally and bring it to your chest and back.

Didn’t it feel effortless the second time? When you’re in the zone (or as I like to say, “the state of ‘ON'”) you are just flowing; you are just doing.

When we think too much, especially about negative things, we mentally tighten up just like when you were physically reaching for that object a moment ago.

When you mentally tighten up, your mind is not clear and therefore your body won’t function at peak performance.

Your effort should be ALL-OUT…

But your attitude should be A LITTLE RELAXED.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend. -BRUCE LEE