In case you didn’t catch this story recently, it is worth a second look. I am not an NBA fan per se, but I appreciate excellence in almost any form. It is widely accepted that the hardest single task to do in sports is to hit a round ball thrown at 90+mph with a rounded bat. I agree, wholeheartedly. Additionally accepted is that the most difficult position to play in sports is NFL quarterback. Again, I agree. There is so much that happens in each roughly 4 second play that the computing power alone is impressive. I am not sure where hitting three-pointers falls into the mix, but it ain’t easy. Which is why what Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors did recently is the topic of this blog post.
During a practice session, Curry hit 105 consecutive three pointers without a miss. Let me say that again, louder this time…105 IN A ROW!!! From the corner, catch, jump, shoot, repeat…one hundred and five times without a miss. This is what a LIFETIME of pursuit of mastery can do for you. You can literally achieve things that no one thought was possible. To give a little more context to this, the world record for number of free-throws is 2,750, achieved by “Dr. Tom” Amberry in one 12 hour stretch. The NBA record for consecutive free-throws (not in a row, just without a miss) is 97. In each of the previous cases, this was a static shot, standing still at the free throw line, taking your time and lining up the shot and then executing. What Curry did was machine-like; he caught a feed pass, jumped and shot, over and over and over, to make 105 shots in a row from about 22 feet away. Effortless Art in Motion.
Now, my point about this is not that Curry hit these shots, as impressive as it is. The point is that there are some real takeaways from this to be had.
1. This dispels the (ridiculous) thought of “Overnight Success”. If you think at any other point in his lifetime Curry could have done this, you are way off base. His previous personal best was 77.
2. Hard work pays off. Yes, the Warriors are struggling this year compared to recent championship seasons, but that is because the team dynamic is different. There are different players around Curry now, so you can’t expect to have the same results with less talent to support him. BUT… his level of effort and output has not changed. He is still working hard to be the best he can be. This 3 pointer showcase was just a glimpse of that.
3. There is always room for improvement. As I eluded to earlier, his personal best previous to this past weekend was seventy seven 3-pointers in a row. THAT in and of itself is an amazing feat. But to top that by an additional 23 shots made is incredible. Now, can he go out every day and do that, no. But the fact that he pushes to be increasingly better all the time is the takeaway message here. There is no “I’ve made it…I can coast now. I’ve got my ring(s) so life is easy…”. It doesn’t work that way. You have to continue to strive forward.
There is no standing still, you are either
moving forward or you are sliding backwards.
Regardless of your chosen endeavor, this event is indicative of the level of work needed to be the best, to hit the big time. If you are starting a business, you need to work really, really hard to make a go of it. You need some luck too, and you need a support cast around you that will push you forward, hold you up when necessary, and help with the workload as well. If you play a sport, an instrument, sing, whatever, you have to apply every ounce of energy you have into that craft, for a really long time, to ever taste any level of mastery. But if you have the fortitude to do so, you can accomplish some amazing things. And, as a bonus, you will have uncovered the secret to success in anything else you wish to pursue. Hard work.
Keep in mind…this has ZERO bearing on the outcome of the Warriors season, or even one game for that matter. This is one man, on a team of players, working hard and striving to be his best. The assumption is that everyone around him is doing the same. Ironically, in the same weekend, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texan’s NFL team had an epic rant this weekend as well, it is obvious he feels that there are team mates of his on the Houston Texans that are not pulling their weight. He delivers an impassioned speech about what a privilege it is to get paid millions to play a sport, and some guys are giving a lackluster effort.
There are people out there that separate themselves from the rest, that KNOW what it takes to be the best version of themselves, day in and day out. Any time you can find someone like this to gain inspiration from, do it. They are shortening the learning curve, paving the way, and showing you exactly the mindset you need to do the same in your own pursuits. It doesn’t matter if you have never stepped onto a grass field or a hardwood floor in your life, what matters is the mindset that you adopt for your life. THIS is what will dictate your level of success.
I wish you luck in your own endeavors…