Willie Mays said, “It isn’t difficult to be great from time to time. What’s difficult is to be great every day”.
I love that quote and have kept it with me at my desk for years. I break it out every so often with my staff or any group who will listen, because it is a great reminder that we can really bring our A-game at any given time, and while that’s good, it’s not exceptional. Exceptional (and difficult) is bringing that A-game every single day. No matter what.
And being great every day is what enables you to accomplish anything you want to in this life.
Coming from a guy like Mays, who performed at an extremely high level throughout his baseball career and was a 24-time all star, that little adage packs in a lot of credibility and has a pretty powerful punch. Read it again and think about how you can apply it to your life in a meaningful way.
Along those lines, you may be thinking, how does one go about being great every day?
The first component in any commitment to be above average is your mindset. You need to have a belief that you CAN instead of that you MIGHT or that you WOULD IF…
Belief in yourself, that confidence and faith in your ability is where everything starts. And this is definitely not an easy process to get lined up. In fact, Willie Mays may have understated it when he merely described it as “difficult”. It’s really difficult.
The reason that it’s really difficult is because you have to overcome a lot of inner demons. There are a whole bunch of limiting thoughts that exist in your mind, largely due to the mental beating you have been administered over the years from our culture and all of the otherwise well-meaning influential people in your life. You’ve pretty much been conditioned to default in your mind to the mode that brings up all of the reasons that you can’t do something. It’s, dare I say, natural to think that way…
It requires a very focused effort and a serious commitment to becoming extraordinary for any of us to battle through those limiting beliefs and get to a point where we believe that we are capable of becoming wildly successful in any and all of our endeavors.
Napoleon Hill said, “There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge”. He was absolutely right! The tough part is convincing ourselves that it’s true.
It takes faith.
You may not have anything to draw on except that feeling and that mindset that believes in the things you cannot see. The Bible defines faith exactly like that. It calls faith “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. You can’t see it until you start believing it.
Maybe you’ve never achieved anything outstanding in your life. You may not even have a frame of reference for how you ever will. And that’s where the mindset of faith in yourself has to begin. From ground zero, if you will. It has to be fueled by your own passion, emotion and imagination. You have to picture yourself succeeding, feel yourself succeeding, and know, like you know, like you know, like you know, that YOU can do anything you set out to do.
Nothing extraordinary has ever been accomplished or invented or discovered in this life without a vision and an undying belief that it would come true.
You CAN be great every day in whatever it is you do. But you first must believe that to be true.
The next part involves taking the daily action that the person you are striving to become would take in every situation. And then you must remain persistent.
It sounds sort of easy, but I can assure you just like Mays said, it is difficult.
But listen, difficult is nowhere near impossible. In fact, difficult really only means that you have to be conscious of what you are doing, and taking inspired action in the moment each day. It requires attention and effort. Real effort. See the post “Give Me An “E”.
If you will make a commitment to become great, you can do it.
And then, no matter what may come your way…including those aforementioned “otherwise well-meaning” folks around you, who always seem to have a special way of taking you off course or discouraging you…you don’t quit. You stay the course. You remain focused. You continue to move forward.
You fight and scratch and dig deep and do whatever you have to do…it’s just that quitting is not an option. Persistence wears down resistance. At all levels. And I can tell you that the ultimate failure, which scares all of us, awaits you only if you stop trying. Failure can’t cope with persistence either. Until you give up, you’re never defeated. So really, until you stop, you can be as great as you want to be. And you can be that way every day.
In real life, on the job, in your relationships, or even playing baseball.
Every day might not be a great day, but even that can’t prevent you from being great. And by doing so, you may just turn that day into a great one, after all. For everyone.