The Wisconsin Badgers just secured (at least) a share of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Championship. But get this — they are very last in the conference in FG%, 3-point%, and assists per game. Additionally, their defense and rebounding numbers are average at best. There’s one category, however, they lead the nation in – they commit the fewest turnovers per game (8.6) of any team in the country.
This isn’t about not making mistakes. No player or team is perfect. Wisconsin’s best player (and potential national player of the year), Johnny Davis, has far more turnovers than any of his teammates. The best players will make the most mistakes.
This is about not beating yourself. Wisconsin’s basketball program has been consistently good for decades. This hasn’t happened because of superior talent but due to superior discipline.
In sports, you almost always have an opponent. In basketball, there was always someone pressuring me when I brought the ball down the court, bumping me if I cut through the lane, and contesting my shot when I raised up to shoot. The defense’s objective is to deter you from scoring – to get in your way to disrupt and dissuade you from your goal.
In life, you almost never have an opponent. No one is physically getting in your way to stop you from achieving your goals.
When my alarm clock goes off, no one is forcing me to stay in bed. My desire for comfort does that.
When I sit down to do my most purposeful work, no one is forcing me to spend time on less important matters. My poor habits and distracted mind do that.
I have challenges, and I have competitors, but I don’t have any opponents…besides myself.
It’s a freeing yet humbling reality. Ultimately, the only person who can stop me from reaching my potential is…me. My limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, lack of focus, or poor choices is what could derail me. Not an opponent.
Let me reiterate – it’s not about being perfect, and every turnover/mistake isn’t created equal. Most coaches can live with turnovers that are due to an assertive decision. A turnover due to passivity or lack of focus is different.
This is true in basketball – the best players frequently miss more shots than they ever make.
This is true beyond ball – The best leaders won’t always make the best decision. The best investors will choose some losers.
Bottom line: Don’t be your own opponent. Get a shot on goal. Stay in the game. Show up. Every day. Give yourself and your team the most opportunities to experience success.
No one is impeding our progress. We have control over our beliefs, thoughts, focus and choices. Go be great today!