Picture in your mind the night Larry Bird scored 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks. It doesn’t matter if you are a sports fan or not to appreciate the story I am about to tell you. What will get your attention is this: I’m about to use Larry Legend as an illustration to teach all of us how to be a success in 10 simple steps.
Some of you may have zoned out the moment your saw the word “sports” or muttered (forgive them Lord) “Larry Who?” But 10 Simple Steps gets most of us every time. Here’s an exercise to prove it. Go to Amazon and type the phrase 10 Easy in quotes in the search box. Or since we want everything as instantly as possible just click this link. You’ll get the point.
Now back to the story. The Boston Celtics were playing in Atlanta before a sold out crowd that was predominantly composed of Celtic fans. Doc Rivers recounts that night as Bird put on a shooting clinic that left the fans, his team mates, and even his opponents in awe. All you have to do is watch this video clip to know how special that night was. After Bird’s last shot drained the net, several of the Atlanta players jumped up in celebration in spite of the fact they had just been schooled by the hick from French Lick.
So how did the man from Indiana who couldn’t run and couldn’t jump become one of the 5 best players in the history of professional basketball?
This is a blog post and everyone knows we internet types have the attention span of a gnat. The digital mind requires bullet points and callouts to grab our attention. Since I am a writer, and all of you are readers (evidenced by the fact you made it this far in this little object lesson) allow me to shift gears from basketball for a moment to writing. Just replace the word “write” in the following list with “practice basketball” and you’ll know the secret to Larry Bird’s success.
- Write more.
- Write even more.
- Write even more than that.
- Write when you don’t want to.
- Write when you do.
- Write when you have something to say.
- Write when you don’t.
- Write every day.
- Keep writing.
In his autobiography, Larry Bird Drive, Bird explains how the habits he developed in high school stayed with him throughout his legendary career. Beginning in ninth grade, he spent every summer practicing. And when he was done, he practiced some more. One of the key elements of his summer regimen was that he did everything alone.
Having a shooting partner according to Bird, would often lead to distractions and thus getting less work put in. Because of this he always practiced alone. Later in his professional career he might have a ball boy present, but no communication would occur during these sessions, in order for the focus to entirely remain on practicing.
The point is this. There is a simple way to be successful but there are no easy steps. Whether you are a writer, a basketball player, a teacher, or a parent with the overwhelming responsibility of training up children in the way they should go, the way is simple but not easy. Whatever it is that needs to be done to become what you know you need to be:
- Do it.
- Do it more.
- Do it even more.
- Do it even more than that.
- Do it when you don’t want to.
- Do it when you do.
- Do it when you have something to say.
- Do it when you don’t.
- Do it every day.
- Keep on doing it.
Now that wasn’t so hard was it? How’s it working for me? Get back with me after the multitude of interruptions and occasional attacks of laziness that are bound to occur before this day is over and I’ll let you know.