What if I told you I had heard an interview with Lebron James, in which he was asked what was different about his practice regimen? How much harder and longer did he practice? How did his discipline and focus stack up against those around him?
And Lebron replied, “Honestly, man, I don’t really need to practice all that much. I was just born with this gift and I’m so thankful to have this ability. I really don’t practice because I just don’t need to as much as other guys.”
Wouldn’t that sound crazy? Of course, this interview never actually happened. (And wouldn’t happen, if I had to guess.) Because that would be crazy talk.
As ridiculous as it sounds, we all think this way toward some area of our lives. We rely on our natural ability, particularly when those natural abilities are already pretty decent. And yet I know that you, like me, aspire to much better than decent. You aspire to be great!
Good ol’ Lebron should absolutely be playing basketball. I’m not saying don’t play to your strengths. To the contrary, I want to jump up and down and scream emphatically that you should! But that’s the beginning of the journey, not the end. That’s the question, not the answer.
It’s important to identify areas in your life where perhaps you’re comfortable with settling with your natural ability, because it gets you by. Where is potential greatness being undercut by pretty-good-ness?
I can think of several examples from my own life—I’m embarrassed to say—in which I’ve fallen into this trap. Or perhaps I didn’t realize that greatness was even an option. Or maybe I was blind enough to think that I was closer to greatness than I truly was.
I treated my music this way for years, unwittingly. I treated school this way. It was very easy for me. So instead of doing an exceptional job, I simply leaned on whatever natural ability was there to allow me to simply get by.
I treated sports this way—baseball in particular. I was pretty good as a young buck, and was haughty enough to thing that it came so naturally to me that I need not practice. Then some of my friends made varsity and I didn’t. My pride couldn’t process that. My pride didn’t allow me to conclude that I needed to add hard work, practice and improvement to the natural ability that was there.
Don’t fall into that trap. It’s a blessing to come into the world with some skill in place, but don’t simply rely on your natural level of ability–I believe that’s called laziness, and I’ve been as guilty of that as anyone. Instead, become purposeful about growing and improving those areas of weakness and strength.
If you don’t you still might be pretty good—but good is the enemy of great!
Back to King James. Lebron, left to his natural, un-polished ability, would likely still be an NBA player. But he practices constantly and intensely because he isn’t satisfied with staying at the un-improved, natural level—as high as that level may be.
For me, I love to think about my ability to communicate in this light. I love communicating, I love talking to people. I do it fairly easily and confidently. But what if I could do it even better?
What if I went from being a pretty good communicator, to an absolute master at communicating with other people? Persuasive, compelling, exciting, knowing how their subconscious would respond to certain types of words and questions, movements and inflections?
How would that change my relationships? How would that change my life?
What is something that you’re pretty good at? What if you became incredible at that? What if you became phenomenal at that?
How would that change your life?
By the way, if you’d like to jump start you ability to communicate, I’ve written an e-book that I’m giving away for FREE. Click below to add skill to your natural ability: