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Raise The Stakes

I read an article that featured Paul Pierce of the Washington Wizards where he explained what Paul, a 37-year-old NBA veteran, tells the younger guys on the team about becoming great.

"You have to decide if you want to just be good, or if you want to be great. To be great you have to bring it every game, every practice, not just when you feel like it."

That's a challenge for all of us -- even the people who do bring it in the way Pierce described.

When you're good, you're better than most of the people around you -- that's the definition of good. So there's no outside impetus to raise the standard of performance. The drive to be great has to come from within. In the Michael Jordan book I'm currently reading ("The Life" by Lazenby), the author mentions that often: MJ was always looking for ways to raise the stakes and drive himself more. And he grew frustrated when others around him were unwilling to do the same.

It's something we would have to remind ourselves about to keep it going at first. But soon it becomes normal as long as we can handle the self-imposed heat.

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