Capacity Is a State of Mind

Watching the NCAA final Monday night illuminated for me something that I think gets lost nowadays: The incredible value of hard work.

Both Michigan and Louisville played ridiculously hard. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many basketball players collide or hit the floor diving for balls; there were moments where I felt like I was watching a football game!

I don’t mean to take anything away from Michigan’s effort – the Wolverines left it all on the court, for sure – but I think Louisville was, man-for-man, the less talented team. But I think the Cardinals’ sheer tenacity got them over the hump. Watching Louisville play, you could tell that Rick Pitino had every player more than willing to run around the court, full-speed, until they keeled over from exhaustion. What fight those guys had.

The same thing holds in business.

It’s an old, forgotten trait – just outworking the competition.

Therapists and self-help gurus will tell you to concern yourself only with what you can control, and to accept the things you can’t.

In business, the people you deal with may be smarter, or more talented, or more educated, or more whatever – you can’t control those things.

But if you really want to, you can always be of the mindset that: There’s NO WAY anyone’s going to outwork me.

I’ve had a very successful career, and I’m not going to be falsely modest and say I’m not that intelligent or educated or anything like that. I have some game!

But I guarantee you this: In my career, I’ve crossed paths with countless people smarter and more talented than I am.

But I outworked them all. No one works harder than I do. That’s just a fact. I’m like one of those Louisville players: I’ll run barefoot over broken glass for that loose ball. And the next one. And the next one. Until my legs give out. And then I’ll crawl on my hands and knees until I pass out completely.

That’s the type of worker I am.

That's why one of my favorite quotes about hard work is:

There is no substitute for hard work.” - Thomas Edison

It's that word substitute. I mean, here's a guy, Edison, who was a total genius - literally. And even he knew that talent and brains were no substitute for old-fashioned, nose to the grindstone work.

Can you adopt that mentality? Can you go into work every day thinking:

“I might not have this, I may not have that - but there’s no way I’m going to be outworked today. No freaking way.”


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  • I’m going to read this. I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing.
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