Study Failure, Too

Here’s a decent article on JaMarcus Russel. A few quick comments:

Those who excel at ANYTHING differentiate themselves at the higher levels on mental strength alone, I think. Here’s an important quote from Russell:

I take some responsibility, but I was one guy… . I may have missed a throw, but I didn’t give up 42 points, I didn’t miss a block.

Nope, not good enough. Everyone is going to be surrounded by incompetence. The great among us aren’t just people who have the highest levels of personal skill. The greatest walk around with an incompetence-minimizing force field that brings everyone’s level up.

It is precisely that JaMarcus didn’t take responsibility for his team members’ failures that makes him a poor leader. Let’s say his force field had a neutral effect on others. In that case, sure, he’ll respond to Top-1% coaches, teammates, management and trainers. But that situation rarely presents itself and, crucially, he also responds in a similar but opposite way to bottom-1% affiliations.

Don’t be Mick Jagger with all the talent. Be Keith Richards and elevate everyone else. It’s the harder job.

I’m reminded of an excellent podcast Bill Simmons did with the CEO of Ticketmaster. One fascinating observation was that we think of these gigantic sports franchises as being run like the best-performing corporations in the world. Well, they aren’t. A lot of the time it’s better to think of them like family businesses, which are often run poorly.

People will bring you down if you let them. Russell doesn’t have what it takes to excel at the highest level.

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