Today is August 10 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you remind yourself that someone might be practicing more than you?” We needed to be reminded of the obvious at times and this is one such situation. You are not the only one trying to navigate the chaos and translate dreams into reality? You are not the only one who applied for that job. You are not the only one trying to make the team. You are not the only one who applied to that school.
You have competitors and almost all of them are unknown to you. What are you doing to outperform those unfamiliar to you? How often do you even think about having competitors? Hall of fame basketball player Larry Bird understood the value of practicing more than his competitors as he learned to navigate the chaos.
Larry Bird reminded himself that his competitors were practicing when he was not; so he pushed himself to be one of the best basketball players of his generation. Bird’s high school coach, Jim Jones, was a key factor to his success. “Jonesie,” as Bird called him, would help Bird and his friends practice any day of the week. Bird would go to the gym early, shooting between classes, and staying late into the evening. It was during this time that he played with the older students working at a nearby hotel. Bird noted “I don't know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody - somewhere - was practicing more than me.”
Bird received a scholarship to play college basketball for Bob Knight and the Indiana University Hoosiers in 1974 but dropped out after 24 days. Bird returned home to French Lick where he enrolled in the nearby Northwood Institute before dropping out. He had a short marriage that ended in divorce.
To support himself and his daughter from that marriage, he took a job driving a garbage truck and maintaining parks and roads in the district. During this time, he also played AAU basketball for Hancock Construction.
Bird faced personal loss during the same period when his father committed suicide. After that tragic event, he decided to return to college. This time he went to Indiana State in Terre Haute. During his first year on the team the Sycamores earned a 25–3 record—their best in almost 30 years. When he was at Indiana State, Bird became the most talked about college player in the country.
The Boston Celtics drafted Bird in 1978. The contract signed on June 8, 1979, gave Bird $650,000 per year for five years, a total of $3.25 million. This sum was a record for a rookie in any sport. The Boston fans made no secret of their expectations for their new headliner. Bird did not disappoint them and would eventually go on to have a stellar career with the Celtics. Bird was a 12-time NBA All-Star and received the NBA Most Valuable Player Award three consecutive times (1984–1986). He played his entire professional career for Boston, winning three NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards.
Much like Bird, David Goggins understands the necessity to practice more than his competitors. Goggins is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, motivational speaker, and author. He is also a retired United States Navy SEAL and former United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party member.
In a June 22, 2020 YouTube video Goggins declared “Always be ready you never know when your next challenge is coming out of the blue. Every day in life presents the next challenge.” While working out one day doing pull-ups, a man approached Goggins and joined him. Goggins was doing anywhere from 5 to 8 pull-ups on the minute. After 30 minutes the guy who joined him thought Goggins was finished. Little did he know but Goggins had no intention of finishing, so he kept doing more pull-ups. As Goggins told the story “We get to an hour and he says to me ‘how many can you do?’ and I say to him ‘one more than you.’”
Those that navigate the chaos like Goggins and Bird do one more. They understand someone might be practicing more than they are. How often do you remind yourself someone might be practicing more than you?