It is 6:27pm on Saturday, March 17, 2018. America is in the heart of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, better known as March Madness. For most of my life I couldn’t get enough of this tournament. But this year is different.
I have not seen a moment of live basketball.
I have not seen a single bracket, printed, online or on TV.
I have no idea which 64 teams are in the tourney. Or are there 66? Or 68?
I had no idea it was even possible to be so oblivious about the tournament a week after Selection Sunday.
But I haven’t had a moment of boredom in the past week. I have been so interested and involved in the other exciting things that basketball wasn’t even a blimp on my radar (I once had a French client misuse this term).
Having enough positive and interesting elements in your life that you have no room for the extraneous is a good sign. And right now, my family, work, friends and curiosities are filling my days in a way that leaves noneed for entertainment or distraction. Right now, I would rather write this post about my reflections than turn on the TV to catch up on all that I’ve missed. Life is not a spectator sport. Never has this phrase meant more to me than right now.
I would never take candy from a stranger. But I will take life lessons from anyone. Even Rick Pitino. Pitino, the controversial former basketball coach at the University of Louisville (and Kentucky, The Knicks, The Celtics and Providence) is back in the news again. Not for having naughty relations in a restaurant with the wife of his assistant coach. Or setting up recruits with ‘hired lady friends’. He is back in the headlines today, rumored to be a potential new head coach of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks.
What Rick Told Me.
All this Pitino-talk reminds me of an interesting story he once told me. That’s right. As I was driving to work in Atlanta, Rick told me about his first encounter with the 3-point shot. No, Rick and I weren’t carpooling to pass the notorious Atlanta traffic. I was listening to his audio book, Success Is A Choice.
The Power Of The 3-Pointer
Pitino thought the introduction of the 3-point shot would have a significant impact on college basketball. In fact, the first year the 3-point shot was introduced to the college game he told his team that he expected them to take fifteen 3-point shots in every game.
Then a funny thing happened. His team played an exhibition game against the Russian national team. And the Russian team attempted twenty-one 3-pointers, in the first half! Of course many of those shots were nothing but nyet. (Sorry, I could nyet help myself.)
Even though Coach Pitino knew the 3-pointer would have a significant impact on the game of basketball, he grossly underestimated it. Probably because he was surrounded by athletes, not mathletes. Because shooting 50% from 2-point land gets the same result as shooting 33% from 3-point land.
50% from 2-Pointville = 33% from 3-Pointtown
This math holds true in business and in our personal lives too. Taking smaller chances reaps smaller rewards. Taking larger chances reaps larger rewards. So stretch, grow, try, and learn. You can attempt shots with lower percentages and still enjoy a higher payout because of the higher value of each shot made. Don’t limit yourself to the easy stuff. Sooner or later you will regret it.
So step back and think bigger. Try the hard things. And pretty soon you’ll find you’re success rate on the hard stuff will catch up to the success rate on the easier stuff. You’ll be lighting up your own scoreboard. And when you do, you can tell me all about it as I drive.
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