Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Are You a Game Changer?

It could be said that Michael Jordan changed the game of basketball. Steve Jobs changed the game of cell phones. There are many more examples of game changers, like the Wright Brothers or Thomas Edison.

In the case of the Wright Brothers, they pursued a goal in the face of being ridiculed by the masses. After many, many attempts they continued until successful. Once they achieved their goal, the
history of transportation changed forever. 

In the case of Thomas Edison, he continued working on the light bulb even after he failed more than 10,000 times. Once again, when he was successful, the world was changed. We no longer had to live by sunlight. We had artificial suns at our fingertips.

While the people I named are famous, there is no difference between them and you. Everyone has a game changing idea in their mind. What may be missing is the unyielding drive to make it happen no matter what.

At the same time, before we talk about persistence, it is safe to say that the world occurs differently for game changers. They see opportunities where others see nothing. In some cases, it is like they are looking at another world. For Jordan, the basketball court was a world where he could demonstrate his prowess. It is kind of like the basketball court was an opportunity for him to be who he really wanted to be. And while it is important to be who you want to be, you still have to practice. While many people may look at practice as a way to do things automatically, from another perspective, it may be a great way to eliminate bad habits. Once you practice out bad habits, you can replace them with what you truly desire. However, practice may include the possibility of many failures before you achieve mastery.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, his research showed that those who practiced their craft for 10,000 hours mastered it. Whether it was an athlete, musician or lawyer, people who out performed their peers did so with 10,000 hours of practice.  Those with 8,000 hours were good, except they could not compare with people who practiced for 10,000 hours. As the number of hours decreased, so did their performance.

With that said, there appears to be several common themes for game changers.

  1. They have a vision of their stage and what can be accomplished on it. It can be a laboratory, athletic field or business. They see the environment as a way to fully express themselves and a way to demonstrate the greatest power they possess.
  2. When everyone else is playing or sleeping, they are practicing.
  3. Regardless of how many failures they experience, they never, ever quit. After each failure, they pick up where they left off and attempt one more time.

For sure, game changers are seen as outliers in society. We describe their tremendous accomplishments with explanations of luck, genetics or inheritance. At the same time, there is no difference between them and the rest of society. The question is: are you willing to remain persistent in the face of failure? Do you require the approval of friends, family or peers?

We all have a game changer living inside of us. If you choose the playing field for the game changer within, give it plenty of practice and never let it quit, you too can make history.

What will be your game changing move?

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.


  1. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am having troubles with your RSS.
    I don't understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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    1. A very big thank you to you. I'm glad you read and left a comment. As far as RSS, I will find out why that happened and take care of it. I look forward to your future comments.

  2. Great observations, Ted. The issue always seems to come down to self-doubt. One really needs to have conviction to withstand the naysayers, missteps, and occasional failures in order to achieve those great things.

    I have my thoughts on how to persevere in the face of those apparent obstacles. What are you thoughts on that, Ted?

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks for reading and responding to my blog. I question the entire theory of self doubt. If you take this idea of self doubt and dive deeper into it, you find self doubt is not the problem. The voices people hear in their heads are almost never their own. When people have doubts, 99.9% of the time they are hearing the voices of others who have told them it can't be done - family, friends, coworkers, etc.

      Therefore, I say it is best to remove those people from your life. For those who can take such serious action, it is a sign they are truly committed to accomplishing their goal. The next step is to find people who can be an effective support structure to help you fulfill your ambitions.

      If you look at the titans throughout history, you will see that they always kept people around them who empowered them. And they threw out the rest. While I know my thoughts my sound extreme to most, I also know that extraordinary success is only for those who have the stomach for it.

      I look forward to your response.