The difference between good and great athletes

Hint: It's the same with entrepreneurs.

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Baseball and investing may be the only places in life where a 30% success rate is considered great.

In investing, this has a caveat. The caveat is that the 30% of investments you were right on outgain the money lost on the other 70% of your portfolio.

Hitting a baseball is just difficult.

Its not uncommon for guys at the end of the batting order to be hitting around 0.200 or lower. This means that they are getting a hit once in every five at-bats.

Over a 162 game season, approximately 4 at-bats per night, you’d average less than one hit per game.

To make matters worse, many hitters end up with “slumps” where they get thrown out 20 times in a row.

After a few days of this, the media jumps on the band wagon, talking about how this player isn’t cut out for the big leagues, or maybe that they’re over the hill and should have retired years ago.

Social media lights on fire with trash talking and speculation about the player.

And it’s no wonder that this can cause players to crack under the pressure.

How great hitters maintain their mental toughness through slumps like this is what defines their success.

Edgar Martinez was one of the greatest hitters of all time and in his autobiography, Edgar, he talks about a skill that all the greats used to maintain their mindset.

Edgar did it daily. Ken Griffey Jr. did it. Even guys in other sports, like Michael Jordan and LeBron James did it.

But business owners are prone to this weakness. Often we impose it on ourselves.

It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a rut. Nobody is engaging with your content. You’re being rejected by everyone you reach out to.

You don’t understand why things aren’t working.

And your motivation wanes…

Maybe you even think to yourself, “My content is no good. I’m not a good writer. Maybe I’m not cut out for this entrepreneurship thing.”

Or worse, “I can’t do it.”

Negative affirmations like this are self-fulfilling. As Henry Ford said, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

And this is why Edgar worked so hard to completely eliminate these negative thoughts.

You’re not a bad writer. You’re just in a slump.

You can break out of this slump any time you step up to the plate to create something.

Both content creation and baseball have long seasons. You get a lot of “at-bats,” a lot of opportunities to connect with your audience. It’s easy to lose track of what you’re doing.

You will go through a lot of long, endless stretches, like Tommy Shelby (from Peaky Blinders), walking alone by the docks, trudging one foot in front of the other as you walk into the fog.

The key is to maintain a positive outlook amidst this walk through the darkness.

Said another way, you have to confront the reality of the situation while maintaining complete optimism that you can prevail. This is the Stockdale Paradox, a concept developed by Jim Collins in his landmark book, Good to Great.

We talked yesterday about mastery, and this is how it’s achieved.

It feels pedestrian. Simple.

But it’s how the greatest athletes of all time achieve their goals.

One at-bat at a time, bringing a positive outlook no matter what the situation.

They believe in themselves. And they keep working every day on the fundamentals that form the building blocks of their game.

And that's a wrap on Day 2 of the Library Challenge.

If you want to read Day 3, click here. If you want to go back to Day 1, click here.

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