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Deliberate Practice

The Urgency of Today

A friend of mind loves to recall his favorite example of a call to sports talk radio.

He was driving on the New Jersey Turnpike at 3 o’clock on a Sunday morning, when someone called the radio station and asked this question: “How do you think the Portland Trail Blazers will do this season?”

My friend laughs at the memory. “He had to know right then, at 3 o’clock in the morning,” he says. “It couldn’t wait.”

This story helps to underline a point about human nature. Everyone can develop a sense of urgency about something. For some people, it’s about learning whether the Portland Trail Blazers will be great this year. For a select few, the urgency is in getting the most out of TODAY.

Let’s say two people both have two hours in which to practice today. One person views these two hours as a span in which to do a predetermined set of exercises and drills. The other sees practice as a series of precious moments, each of which holds the seeds of greatness. This person approaches practice with a sense of desperation: How great can I become in this limited period of time?

We see selective desperation all the time in sports. For instance, when a football team is trailing in the last few moments, it plays with different emotion than it did for most of the game.

Suppose that team could ALWAYS play with that level of commitment?

John Wooden said, “Make today a masterpiece.”

Remember, everyone can feel urgency about something. If you feel urgency about today, you can become great.


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