Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in an NBA game. That’s epic.
What most don’t know, is that he could have scored 5,687 more points if he had done just one thing. Here’s the story.
In his 100 point game he shot his 32 FTs that game underhand, going 28/32 from the line. That’s epic.
Wilt was a career 50% FT shooter, in fact one of his coaches told him that if he could make FTs his team would probably never lose. After his second game shooting underhand, following up his 100 point performance with 72 points and over 75% from the FT line, he went back to shooting overhand and making only half his FTs.
That’s an epic failure and chances are you are making the same mistake.
Here was his mistake. Wilt said the reason he stopped shooting underhand was that he didn’t want to be called a “sissy” and feel embarrassed. He lacked courage. He preferred comfortable conformity. He cared more about status than impact.
Today, you need to evaluate where you are failing.
Today is the moment everything changes.
In all likelihood, it’s not even your fault. We are all products of our environment. We coach the way we were coached, lead the way we were led and parent the way we were parented.
In fact, the entire foundation upon which our education in America is built was first laid by Horace Mann. He saw education as an opportunity to form habits in youth that would carry into adulthood. We are products of a system designed for the second industrial revolution. A system that valued conformity of groups as opposed to developing individual learners.
In America we aren’t taught how to learn, we’re taught how to conform.
Most coaches are copycats. We would rather fail in an acceptable way than take a shot at success and risk the embarrassment of failure.
Innovation, creativity, ingenuity, mold-breaking — these are what we should be cultivating through sport. We can all agree on their inherent value, but we lack the fortitude of leading through example.
John Maxwell has said:
The greatest distance in the world is the distance between knowing and doing. Your ability to close that gap will determine the limit on what you can to achieve.
True failure is knowing there is a better way, yet lacking the courage to set out on a new path.
So give yourself a chance and avoid regret and mediocrity.
Here are three ways you can combat the pressure to conform and avoid your own epic failure.