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Beating the Odds

The Endless Search for Novelty

Well, it’s headed for 100 degrees here in New Jersey, USA. The heat wave led one radio announcer to say, “It was a rough winter and a very wet spring. No reason to think the summer won’t be extreme, too.”

One of my favorite quotes came from the world-class instruction at the Gold Medal Squared volleyball camps. It goes like this: “The essence of boredom is to be found in the endless search for novelty.”

It doesn’t take any talent to be fascinated by extremes. Things like tornadoes will surely get your attention.

But the real greatness comes from day-to-day fascination with the commonplace. Look at the ancient astronomers, who, using only their eyes as equipment, painstakingly looked to the sky, and recorded what they saw. Or at the weather observers, who chart the conditions by the hour. This is where real knowledge of systems and patterns comes from.

It’s the same way with building any skill. Anyone can get excited about the first day of practice, or the first day of a new workout program. The real genius, the real achiever, is one who can keep this fascination day to day.

Look at the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Red Sox have dominated the Yankees this season, yet they lead them by only a slim margin in the standings. That’s because in games against other teams, the Yankees have a better record than the Sox do. It’s easy for anyone to get excited about playing a rival; the trick is to stay excited about playing everyone.

Eddie Murray, a Hall of Fame baseball player, often said he approached every at-bat the same way. It didn’t matter what the score was, who the opponent was, whether it was early in the game or late. He saw fascination in every trip to the plate.

If you want to be great, you must find fascination in the commonplace.

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Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Seven Ways to Prepare for Adversity,” click here. You can follow Coach Tully on Twitter at coachtully@twitter.com


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