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Key Combinations

In sports, a disciplined and mentally tough athlete can will himself pretty far in his game. High school, definitely; maybe even college ball. With a little bit of talent, that same will and determination can make something of a professional career. Not household-name, financially-set-for-life-level professional, but some talent, combined with a sharp mental game, can get you a paycheck for playing your sport. Maybe.

The athlete who has the opposite balance — lots of talent but meager mental skills — will get plenty of opportunity; talent is enticing and everyone thinks they can help him “figure it out.” This player will ultimately be known as a disappointment, the failure who wasted his talent.

Now, the athlete who has those same mental tools and a heap of talent, these are you Hall Of Famers. Think Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, Serena Williams. The reason they’re so rare is because you can’t work for talent; you either have a lot of it or you don’t.

There’s a similar equation in business. It involves skills and notoriety.

If a person is really good (skilled) at what he does, but not very well-known, he can carve out a nice career, making enough to live a good life and afford some of life’s luxuries (the most important being time).

On the other end, the professional who’s very well-known, but not very good at all in his work, eats well for a while but then goes away when someone just as famous but better comes along.

This famous-but-average pro is the bane of the good-but-unknown pro’s existence. Because the good-but-unknown pro knows he’s better than this mope, but he can’t prove it — nobody knows the unknown guy’s name, so they don’t listen when he speaks.

The sweet spot in the middle — very well-known, and really good at what you do — is where the legends are born. These are your Tony Robbins and Oprahs. Everyone, even the people who don’t read/watch/listen to these experts, knows the names and have a basic idea of what they do.

In sports, your given talent level is a cap on your potential success.
In business, there is no cap. Anyone can get better, and anyone can get more known.
If you want to be a legend, you need both. The skill part, I’m sure you understand. But what about the fame?

For Your Game

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