5 rarely-practiced fundamentals of success
Ever heard of “Pistol” Pete Maravich, the legendary basketball star lauded by the basketball Hall of Fame as “perhaps the greatest offensive talent in history”?
Though his basketball career ended in 1980, he is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with an average of 44.2 points per game.
Pete dazzled crowds with fancy shots and stunning head fakes. Left jaws hanging with impossible behind-the-back and between-the-legs passes. Amazed fans with his sizzling dribbling acrobatics.
But his flashy style was never quite enough…
Contrast Pistol Pete to Coach Norman Dale’s team in the movie “Hoosiers.”
Coach Dale, given a small squad of scrubs, is obsessive about the fundamentals of the game.
He’s unimpressed with offensive flash and drills his team on defense instead. He knows their best chance is to play as a team. He institutes a rule that they must pass at least five times on every offensive possession before taking a shot.
His fundamental and methodical style clashes with the team members and townspeople, who want him to “just let the boys play.”
But after submitting to his discipline and nailing the fundamentals, the team turns around. And when they’re joined by star player Jimmy Chitwood, they start “firing on all pistons” and eventually win the championship as underdogs.
Yes, Jimmy gave them much-needed scoring power. But their core strength was in the fundamentals.
In life we often strive for flashy plays, while ignoring the fundamentals. We yearn for the limelight, without working in the shadows.
Here are five indispensable habits that, if lived for long enough, will inevitably result in success:
1. Create your ideal life vision and connect with it daily
The absolute best system I’ve ever seen for creating a vision of your best life is Ann Webb’s Ideal LifeVision.
On her website she explains that,
“Ideal LifeVision is a minutely-detailed declaration of intent, or personal mission statement that includes the five key areas of your life: relationships, spirituality, physical fitness, your financial and professional life, and your emotional life and personal development…It is fine-tuned until it feels complete as an expression of the ‘ideal you.’”
Once you’ve written your Ideal LifeVision, it is
“then recorded (with Baroque music in the background) and listened to daily…By listening to what your ideal life looks and feels like daily, you begin taking steps in that direction immediately. Because of the unique recording method using Baroque Music, even when daydreaming and not particularly listening to your dreams, your subconscious mind still hears and responds.
“By listening daily to the type of person you are becoming, your beliefs begin to change…thus creating new habits. This is literally a tool where you can change your beliefs and actions over a period of time, thus reinventing yourself as you desire.”
I’ve been listening to my life vision daily for about two years, and it’s made a phenomenal difference in my life. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
As Henry David Thoreau said,
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
2. Write down your goals and do “goal-getters” religiously
Creating your ideal life vision is the “imagining.” Next comes the “advancing confidently”: goal-getters.
I explain this step in detail in this article.
The research is clear on the need for writing down your goals.
Goal-getters are the daily and weekly things you do to advance toward your goals. They are the things that, if you do them consistently and persistently, will naturally and inevitably result in the achievement of the goal.
Most people don’t even have goals. Of those who do, very few do goal-getters, which are far more important than the goals themselves.
Larry Bird had a goal of becoming an NBA star. To get there, among other disciplines, he shot 500 free throws every day for years.
Ray Bradbury had a goal of becoming a published author. To get there, he wrote 1,000 words every day for ten years before he ever got published and paid to write.
3. Create and stick to a powerful morning routine
Leadership expert John Maxwell said,
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
No other routine is more important than your morning routine. A powerful morning routine consists of a sequence of habits and disciplines to learn and grow, and to care for your mind, body, and spirit.
My indispensable disciplines include prayer, meditation (30 minutes a day), listening to my Ideal LifeVision, reading or listening to audio content, and exercising.
Create your own routine with the habits that help you the most. Do your routine every day for years and your life will be transformed.
4. Engage with formal mentors
This is perhaps the most impactful and least practiced of all these habits. The value of a great mentor cannot be overestimated or overstated.
Mentors see our blind spots. They know the journey we want to travel. They can help us avoid pitfalls and take advantage of opportunities. They can save us pain and heartache and accelerate our path to success faster than anything else.
5. Reconnect, realign, and recharge
As we strive on our journey, we must periodically take breaks to reconnect and realign with our vision and values, and recharge our energy.
We have to regularly connect with what matters most so we don’t get lost in the urgent but unimportant, to paraphrase Stephen R. Covey.
We all get tired in the trenches, and there’s no shame in stopping to take breaks. These can include daily meditation, weekly relaxation, monthly outdoor adventures, annual vacations.
Workaholism isn’t a virtue — in fact, it’s detrimental to our health, happiness, and success.
Fundamentals trump flash
Remember Pistol Pete’s flashy style?
There’s something you ought to know about him: In 10 years as a professional basketball player, he never won a championship. In fact, in five seasons with the New Orleans Jazz his team never even had a winning record.
It takes more than flash to win, and to win consistently. Jaw-dropping passes and 360 slam dunks are awesome, but not nearly as awesome as championship rings.
You have to execute the fundamentals before being recognized for your flash. You have to gut it out in the trenches before you can strut it on the stage.
Nail the fundamentals of success, and the flash of fame takes care of itself.