In today’s BBTL book entry, Chet writes that real life is not like the dopamine-delivering video games that captivate us and distort our view of reality. To the disappointment of many, reality doesn’t provide that same rush we enjoy when we frequently “level up” in our favorite game. Instead, life is more like a marathon than a sprint; more “fits-and-starts” than straight “up and to the right.” “In reality,” Chet writes, “the road to mastery is filled with lots of basic stuff.”
“Basic stuff, done really, really well.”
In 1940, at an annual convention of insurance underwriters in Philadelphia, an official of the Prudential Insurance Company named Albert E. N. Gray delivered a remarkably inspiring and timeless talk titled The Common Denominator of Success. In it, he recounted his desire to uncover the true secret of success and described “setting out on a voyage of discovery, which carried me through biographies and autobiographies and all sorts of dissertations on success and the lives of successful men, until I finally reached a point at which I realized that the secret I was trying to discover lay not only in what men did, but also in what made them do it.” And what Mr. Gray discovered on his voyage and shared that day was some CCD (clear, concise and direct) magic.
“The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
How’s THAT for basic?!
He went on to say, “Every single qualification for success is acquired through habit. People form habits and habits form futures. If you do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously you will form bad ones. You are the kind of person you are because you have formed the habit of being that kind of person, and the only way you can change is through habit.”
Habits. Good habits. Nothing fancy, just basic habits – “basic stuff, done really, really well.”
The sports world has various names for the basic stuff. In football, coaches refer to it as “blocking and tackling.” In baseball, it’s known as “small ball” — just hit it where they ain’t and move the runner around. Golfers stick to the basics by thinking “fairways and greens.” And in basketball, it’s “make the extra pass.”
Fans consider basic to be BORING. I mean, there’s just nothing sexy about Woody Hayes’ “three yards and a cloud of dust” offense or John Wooden’s simple “conditioning, fundamentals & teamwork” approach to the game. But they don’t put style points on the scoreboard and, after all, the tortoise did beat the hare. Basic stuff, as two legendary coaches and a turtle taught us, really is the secret of success.
Best-selling author Napoleon Hill had what he called his “unbeatable recipe for success — patience, persistence and perspiration.”
Chet calls it “marrying the mundane.”
Whatever you call it, it comes down to basics. “Basic stuff, done really, really well.”
How about you, leader? Are you building on the basics? Are you deliberately forming good habits, or unconsciously forming bad? What basic stuff lines your road to mastery?