Campy Russell, a former NBA All-Star, is a wise soul. I asked if the Cleveland
The Cavaliers would return to the playoffs this year after losing to the Spurs in the 2007 final. He said it depended on his curiosity. He thinks what a fascinating answer: It’s not just their basketball skills or defensive strategies that will bring them back to the Promised Land.
Its success will depend on each player’s curiosity to see how much better it can be. How curious are you about your next level of excellence? If you’re not curious then you live in what I call The Stupid Zone. Where we live when we don’t question ourselves.
Imagine being an NBA player. You are the cream of the crop of basketball in the United States and now abroad. There are currently 491 NBA players in the world. What if you were one of them? You had a good draft, a good team and a good contract. Would you be curious to improve your skills?
How curious was Shaq O’Neal about improving his skills at the free throw line? Apparently he barely adequate was good enough. He chose to spend more time with the Los Angeles police instead of the police who commit fouls. When is he good enough, good enough?
Many sports lessons can be applied to our world, and this is one of them.
Let’s look at some examples of how curiosity can lead to success, while a lack of curiosity surely keeps us stuck.
The Yankees and Midges invaded Jacob’s field during the first round of the 2007 American League baseball playoffs. In attendance the night of the invasion, he was more fascinated by the force of the mosquitoes than he was by Derek Jeter or A Rod. How could the players concentrate through the Job-like swarm that G-d or LeBron sent? Ryan Garko of Cleveland said, “The other guys were acting like bullets were being fired at them. Hey, this is the big leagues.”
Are you curious about how some players can play through mosquitoes and one glorified mosquito conquered others? Are you curious about the mosquitoes in your life? Are you curious as to why you look away from your target, while the concentration of others never seems to waver?
Are you curious about the things that people can focus on? If one person’s mistake is another person’s bullet, how do you make your mistakes benign?
Curious about how a team can go from a 3-1 lead to a 4-3 underdog?
Have you ever gone from favorite carrier to unreturned calls?
They say good pitching beats good hitting in the playoffs. In the race for the American League pennant, Boston struck out 100-year-old pitcher Kurt Schilling and the Indians struck out 100-year-old slugger Trot Nixon. Was it really the launch?
I submit that what went wrong was above the shoulder, not at the end of the arm. The Indians woke up the morning of Game 5, one win away from the World Series. Collectively they said, oh my gosh, we’re almost to the World Series. And they played like they didn’t deserve to be there.
Our game is also played from the neck up. Are you curious about the connection? Do you think you can get the next sale, the account that will change your life? Does everything you say and everything you do exude confidence and competence? Or do you question your ability to play in the big leagues? Make a difference in your next sale, promotion or position.
Curious about the mindset of a winner? There is not one. Manny Ramirez, or Man Ram, as Jim Rome calls him, constantly labels himself with the more “quirky” name. The Red Sox were down 3-1. when he basically said, hey, if we lose it’s not the end of the world.
Manny got beaten up in the press, Boston tried to turn it into a language misquote, and then of course Man Ram gets a pass because he’s Manny. But what he said should not be overlooked. His mindset was, this is just a game. We win, we go home, we lose, we go home. nobody dies. And he continued to be as spectacular a player in the last 3 games of the series as he was throughout the season. Which is saying a lot. Because many, many players for many, many years in many, many sports have disappeared in their playoffs.
Curious about what Manny said to himself compared to what the Indians said to each other for the first time in the playoffs? He juxtaposes Manny’s mental chatter with the perceived stories that the Indians were telling themselves and building up the pressure minute by minute. Curious about how to keep things in perspective?
How curious are you about yourself? How curious are you about the skills you can develop and the skills you can improve? Will your success in the play-offs and the championship depend on your curiosity? Go gentlemen.