Thursday, October 7, 2010

There is something different about top performers...

In my last post, I mentioned that Sugar Ray Leonard spoke as a dinner speaker at a conference I attended this week.  On the "Rah-Rah" scale, I would give it a solid 7.  He was interesting, but not in the temporary "make you want to go do something epic" that you usually get from these types of talks.  The side notes and insights he gave about his preparation for his various fights were the most interesting to me.

It got me to thinking about what the difference is between that "Top .0001%" of people in any endeavor and the rest of us.  Sports figures like Mr. Leonard, Lance Armstrong, Payton Manning, Tiger Woods et al.  Business leaders like Warren Buffett, Larry Elison, Bill Gates and numerous others.  Nobel prize winners.  Presidents (there have been less than 50 presidents out of a pool of 500.000,000 people .000000002% or something like that).  All of them have defied great odds to hit the top of the profession they have chosen.  There has to be a difference between them and run of the mill schmuckos like me....

I think it boils down to these three things...

1)  These folks simply work harder and focus maniacally on what they want to be successful at.  Sugar Ray mentioned that most boxers would train for a 15 round fight.  However, he would take all of the extra rounds and on some days would train as if he was fighting 25-30 round fights.  Armstrong's/Wood's dedication to over the top hours in practice is legendary.  Buffett from the time he was in diapers seemed to focus on business.  Bill Gates, lived, ate and slept software.  These folks simply focus like lasers on a target better than the rest of us.

2)  Through this massive focus and dedication, they were ready when the time came to take a lucky fork in the road.  I am not saying any of these folks were "lucky", what I am saying is that because they were so practiced and prepared, when Lady Luck showed up, they got to dance with her. 

3)  Finally, I believe that once they achieved "the top", they continuously learned and recreated their own game.  How many iterations has Oracle been through?  How many new product areas has Microsoft entered?  Tiger Woods changes coaches every few years (Be Nice!  Leave the easy jokes in the briefcase folks..this is just about one facet of his "game".)  These people and businesses stay on top because they adapt and intensify the focus.  There is always another business leader or kid with a bike, glove or club trying to knock them off the top of the heap.

What does this have to do with my run?  Not much I guess.  However, folks like these motivate me to try to do more with my running/triathlon hobby, my work in the software industry and my personal life.  As a mentor used to tell me a few years back..."Better to wear out than rust out!!!!   The idea of being one of less than 250 that have run across the US excites me and is driving me hard. I hope as hard as some of the folks on this list!  I want to blast this one.

I cracked 100 miles for a week the first time ever this morning.  A great 8 miles at 2:30 in the morning.  I am on target for the goal of a 400 mile month.

Have a great weekend!


1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Ed. Hope you are enjoying Dallas. That is my old stomping ground.

    Kinda nice to be able to run with your eyes closed, eh?