Over the winter, I envisioned the image above in my mind. Last week, I took that image at the Trenton Thunder game of top Yankee prospects, Manny Banuelos and Austin Romine. And tonight, I stopped by the ball park to show it to them. They were impressed with the image and were kind enough to sign it for me.
I spoke with Austin several times last season on baseball and mental toughness (see our video interview HERE), but last night was the first time I spoke to Manny. I asked him if he had anything to say to my blog readers. He said two words:
Simple, yet powerful. See, most people want to be successful, but they don’t want to put in the work. People want to be more fit but don’t want to eat healthy. People want to make more sales but they don’t want to make phone calls.
Everybody knows what to do, but nobody does what they know.
How hard are YOU working today?
Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is the lightning that does the work.
You might be able to talk the talk, but can you walk the talk?
Some people love to say that they are talented or skilled, but that doesn’t impress me.
Talk is cheap.
Here’s what I care about…
1. How hard are you working?
2. What actions are you taking to help you attain your goals?
3. Are you making the necessary adjustments if your current plan is not working?
I don’t care if you SAY you are going to start working out, or quit smoking or start practicing more.
I only care about what actions you are taking.
You get results by action, not by words.
So impress me, I dare you.
I’m a big Michael Jordan fan.
Everyone knows that MJ got cut from his high school basketball team.
But here’s something that nobody knows…
Michael was cut from his varsity team but was allowed to play on junior varsity.
Well, on the last day of the season, MJ asked the varsity coach if he could just ride on the bus with the varsity squad.
The coach said yes, as long as he carried the varsity players’ uniforms.
So not only did Michael Jordan get cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan carried the varsity team’s uniforms.
Then, the next school year, he worked harder than anyone else and eventually became the Michael Jordan that we all know.
Be like Mike.
Today is Message #1026 (my birthday: October 26) and my lucky number. In fact, if you have spent some time with me, you know that I even have a #26 necklace that I always wear (it was my baseball number too), and all around my house I have different items with 26 on it from a street sign to old license plates to mahjong tiles.
Why the number twenty-six, you ask?
When I was younger, my hero was pitcher, Dwight Gooden (Dr. K) of the New York Mets. He was #16 and I had all of his baseball cards, doubles, and in some instances, triples of each. One day I flipped one of his cards over and noticed that his birthday was November 16 and instantly saw why his jersey number was the same. Well, from then on, my number was 26.
In addition to all of his baseball cards, I had Dwight Gooden posters, photos and magazine cutouts. I even tried to duplicate his pitching motion.
Well last night, I spent some time with Dwight Gooden at Yankee Stadium.
It was unbelievable. He even signed a ball to me.
I asked Doc, “What was the secret to your success?”
Without hesitation, my childhood hero replied, “Hard work.”
He didn’t say, “Talent” or “Natural Ability.”
There is a phenomenon called the “Iceberg Effect.” When we see a Dwight Gooden, we only see his out-of-this-world skills (tip of the iceberg). What we don’t see is the hard work and 10,000 hours he put in to getting to that point.
Everyone wants to be an overnight success, but do you know how long it takes to become an overnight success?
Thank you, Mr. Gooden for continuing to be an inspiration to me and a special Happy Birthday to Coach Anthony Carter and high school tennis player, Kevin Roveda.
Today’s message is especially dedicated to all of you who think that Roger Federer was born with more tennis talent than you. And Happy Birthday to tennis great, coach John Carrigan in the UK.
I’m currently reading a great book, “Bounce – Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success” by Matthew Syed.
The premise of the book is that hard work, not talent determines success. Syed talks about the iceberg illusion. This is when we see a Roger Federer and only see the end result (tip of the iceberg). What we don’t see is the thousands of hours of hard work that he put into this “end product of a process measured in years…What we do not see is what we might call the hidden logic of success.”
Now here’s the interesting thing…
In 1984 Desmond Douglas, the greatest ever UK table tennis player, was placed in front of a screen containing a series of touch-sensitive pads at the University of Brighton. He was told that the pads would light up in a random sequence and that his task was to touch the relevant pad with the index finger of his favored hand as soon as he could, before waiting for the next pad to light up…After a minute, the task ended and Douglas’s teammates gave him a round of applause. Douglas grinned as the researcher left the room to collate the results. After five minutes, the researcher returned. He announced that Douglas’s reactions were the slowest in the entire England team: he was slower than the juniors and the cadets; slower even than the team manager…Douglas was universally considered to have the fastest reactions in world table tennis…
When Roger Federer returns a service, he is not demonstrating sharper reactions than you and I; what he is showing is that he can extract more information from the service action of his opponent and other visual clues, enabling him to move into position earlier and more efficiently than the rest of us, which in turn allows him to make the return – in his case a forehand cross-court winner…
…Federer’s advantage has been gathered from experience: more precisely, it has been gained from a painstaking process of encoding the meaning of subtle patterns of movement drawn from more than ten thousand hours of practice and competition…It is his regular practice that has given him this expertise, not his genes.
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Tom Jolly, sports editor of the New York Times. Happy Birthday to a true peak performer.
Many years ago on a rainy July morning in Washington Heights, New York, a 12 year-old boy was watching TV.
“Why don’t you call your friends and go out and play ball?” his dad asked.
“Dad, I’m watching TV and it’s raining out.”
Dad said, “Come over here, I want to show you something.”
From their fifth-floor apartment, they could see the local school yard.
There, in the rain, another 12 year-old boy was hitting a baseball off a makeshift batting tee.
After hitting the ball, he ran after it, teed it up, and hit it again.
This went on for over an hour.
“I guess it’s not raining on Manny,” his dad said.
“Manny” is now one of the greatest hitters of all time: Manny Ramirez!
What do you want to be – a great athlete? a great writer? a great student? a great salesperson?
What are you doing to make that happen?
Instead of “trying your best”…Do whatever it takes.
Here are the five words why most people fail:
I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.
Thanks for reading.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game. It’s easy.
Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy.
The Beatles are no different from you and me.
“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.” It’s easy, just find successful people and do what they’re doing.
John, Paul, George and Ringo had a growth mindset, but they also knew the value of hard work.
In fact, in his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about how instead of playing one hour sets, once in a while in Liverpool, The Beatles went to Hamburg and played 7-8 hour sets seven days a week! Supposedly they were terrible on stage at first, but improved by putting in the time.
Everyone wants be an overnight success, but it takes ten years to become an overnight success…or 10,000 hours, according to Gladwell.
I know what you’re thinking, 10,000 hours is a long time!
I can help make it easier:
1. Instead of focusing on 10,000 hours, focus instead on one good hour…then do it 10,000 times.
2. Enjoy the process and those 10,000 hours will fly by.
3. Remember that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
Also from Outliers…
“The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert–in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. … No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”
There’s no short-cut…now get to work.
What are you trying to master? Leave your comments below…
“All of the ability is already inside you.”
-Rob Gilbert, Ph.D., Professor of Sport Psychology, Montclair State University
Look all around you.
It’s never been easier to succeed. No longer is it about talent. It’s all about having the right strategy and putting in the work.
Look at all of the resources around you – books, DVDs, podcasts, workshops, the internet and more.
You can have your own private pitching coach. Your own private nutritionist. Your own private strength and conditioning coach.
But here’s the kicker…
You have to put in the work.
If you work hard, you will surpass those with talent that do not work hard.
I know what you’re thinking, that it’s not cool to try. But do you want to be cool or do you want to be great?
As you’re working hard, some people may call you a nerd or loser…
But later on, those same people are going to call you…
Thanks for reading.
Don’t forget…tomorrow, Sunday, October 4th at Yogaphoria in New Hope, PA, I will be giving a free workshop with the great Naime Jezzeny on Peak Performance for Athletes. 10am.