Shaquille O’Neal, the All-Star center underscores an incredibly important point. And that is this no matter what your individual accomplishments are, no matter how good you think you are at something, you can still get better. Sometimes a LOT better. Sports fact, you are never as good as they say. It is also a life and business fact.

Shaq was already named as one of the 50 greatest players of all time. When he wants a basket or a rebound, he won’t be denied. But the problem is that while he has always had the physical skills to be great, his decisions haven’t always been the greatest.

Learning From MistakesOne problem was, his mind was often somewhere else besides the game. When that happens, he might get his points but his team would lose… even though he may have scored 40 or 50. Another one is, for years he was basically a one-man show. His teammates were not made better because Shaq was playing. Result? Seven years… no championships.

What the addition of Phil Jackson as coach has meant, besides back-to-back championships, is Shaq played a more team oriented game… the kind that makes everyone better. He had his head in the game when Phil Jackson coached him. He’s less selfish. He’s a better listener… more teachable.

Because no matter how good you are at some task or profession, you can’t possibly push yourself or motivate yourself as well as a coach or teacher can do it for you.

It’s interesting that Shaq made this statement, because he was extremely angry at Phil for pushing him too hard. But he’s to be admired, because he again realized that championships are the goal. It’s often hard to take orders from people, especially when you don’t agree with them. But keep in mind that it’s almost unheard of to self-teach your way to excellence through high school, college or a business career. Guidance is the most valuable thing about institutions of learning and business. Deadlines are usually better enforced by someone other than ourselves. Of course, remember you are never as good as they say so keep focused and listen to those who have your best interests in mind.

Willpower, quite often, is anything but powerful. This is why self-help info products and gadgets don’t usually produce the change in people that they want. An exercise bike can’t force you to get on it. You have to do that by yourself.

When I talk about seeing each day as a day to learn, much of that learning must come from simple observation. Watch people. Listen to those who get a lot done. Listen to their words. Ask about what motivates them. Ask them about how they get over their problems and how they ‘use’ them to carry on. Yes. I said use their problems.

Most people have challenges and they are seen as problems, excuses, valid reasons to fail. Effective people see them as motivation. How? By realizing that everyone has challenges. Just because you have some tragedy doesn’t mean you’re cursed. It means you have to get over it. It means that when you do get over it, you will go on with valuable experience that will help you in the future.

You have been given another mental tool. If you see challenges and tragedies as legitimate excuses to hide, to quit, to fail…then you don’t get the valuable experience. You will be less, not more, in the future. You’ll be less able to handle it again, when life hands you another big challenge… and another.

And life will. You can count on it. So don’t beg for life to be different than this. Because it won’t change. And that’s good.

See this as one of the great mysteries unveiled for you and you’ll be richer and happier by multiples. See it as unwelcome news and you’ll continue to hide, to quit, to fail. So always remember you are never as good as they say but with Maximum Performance you will be your very best.

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