The following story is referenced in the recently published book Bounce, and Marlo Thomas‘ book The Right Words for the Right Times.
Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA star who will likely be in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, tells a story of how he was despondent after coming back from highly competitive high school basketball camps. O’Neal felt that other players were better and that his future as a professional player was in doubt. His mother exhorted him to try harder but Shaquille didn’t feel he was ready to do that and told his mum that he would “try harder later.” His mother, like many moms who intuitively get the concept of self accountability, responded with the following:
“Later doesn’t always come to everybody.”
Well, O’Neal took that insightful and motherly wisdom to heart and began to work his butt off with the dedication and intensity required. Of course it helped that he had imposing physical attributes. But others have similar physical stature and never come close to getting to the big leagues. Talent helps but is over rated. Purposeful practicing and having a detailed game plan may be underrated?
The point is – we must outline an action plan starting now (for more information read my Success is a Mind Set blog). This includes specifically describing the connection between the desired end and the means to get there. Then we have to execute to that plan. So many people have a hope and wish but no real thoughtful and specific road map. But putting the target and means together as a system is necessary. Self accountable people start now. They don’t wait for later. We have a purposeful game plan, fail, learn, improve and practice, and practice, and practice. We push the limits and practice more. One day we get to some gratifying milestone, and keep going.
Pick a road. Start now. And find a team of coaches and people who care for guidance and support. Most of us can’t do it alone.
Living in the Triangle,