Those of you who know me or have read the about section of this site know that I enjoy playing basketball. There was a point in time when I would go out and practice almost religiously. I’m a good player, but I have never really excelled at long range jump shooting.
So one day, I went to the court with my close friend and teammate at the time to go practice. My friend was one of the better players on our team and in the entire league. He was an excellent jump shooter as a result of years and years of practice, and I was practicing with him to improve my own jump shot.
So we start doing some shooting drills – I’m making a few every now and then, but the majority are misses. Frustration starts to set in. I shoot and miss another. “Shrug it off, the next one is going in,” my friend tells me. I throw up another shot – brick; “Next one is going in,” he responded. I take some more shots,and after every miss, he reiterates that I’ll make the next shot. He kept this up the whole practice.
In a game later that season, I was at the free throw line taking a free throw that could have put the game out of reach for the other team. I tried my best to concentrate and make the shot, but I missed. I caught an earful from my disappointed teammates after missing the shot – except for my friend. “Shrug it off – you’ll make it next time,” was all he told me.
My experience with this short phrase taught me priceless information. Firstly, I learned that it was this phrase that helped my friend become the excellent basketball player he is. But more importantly, I learned that this is the mantra that those who are most successful live by. This lesson that I learned through basketball is something that has helped me grow by applying it to my everyday life. You too will learn how internalizing this phrase can lead to massive success in your everyday life.
Failure is inevitable
One thing that my friend realized before even uttering the phrase “The next one is going in” was that I would certainly miss the shot at one point or the other. He knew that no one shoots 100% and that even the greatest shooters miss shots at some point in time. It was something that he had to come to terms with before he became the good shooter he was. He knew that if I were to become a good shooter, I would have to come to terms with it as well
The same is true with life…
Before you even strive at a goal – before you even shoot the basketball – you must realize that temporary failure is something that we all will face. No matter how successful a person is, at one point or another, the person will be faced with temporary failure. Thomas Edison was one of the greatest inventors ever, yet he failed over 1,000 times before successfully making the light bulb.
No matter what goal you want to achieve right now, you must first realize you will fail at some point. You must come to terms with the fact that you are not going to accomplish your goals with one effort. Once you have come to terms with this, you have taken the first step to being successful.
You can’t let temporary failure turn into long term failure
The phrase “The next one is going in” taught me to keep trying. It gave me a reason to keep shooting the ball despite missing, and trust me, when you miss enough, it’s easy to give up and start practicing a new skill. But the phrase gave me a reason to take one more attempt – the next one is going in after all, so you may as well put it to the test.
The same holds true to life. When you are struggling to reach your goals, often times you want to switch lanes and pursue other goals. However, you can’t let the temporary failure – a missed shot if you will – turn into permanent failure. You have to keep at it. After all, the next attempt may be your breakthrough – try again and see. And if you fail, try it another time, the next attempt will be your breakthrough.
Internalize it and it will pay dividends
After missing a few shots in a row, my friend continued to assure me that the next one was going in. After a while, I say, “You’re right – it IS going in.” I shoot. Splash. I grinned. “The next one is going in too,” I said with my new-found confidence. I shoot it again – made it once again.
Of course all of the shots didn’t go after speaking the phrase. However, after each shot, I would tell myself the next one was going in and it noticeably improved my shooting. This is because I not only told myself the next shot would go in, but I INTERNALIZED it. I was thoroughly convincing myself that the next shot would go in, and it was paying dividends.
Likewise, you have to apply this to your goals that you’ve set. I can tell you all day that your next attempt will be your breakthrough, but unless you really believe it, it won’t matter. So don’t just tell yourself that your next attempt will be your breakthrough – internalize it! It’s true, your next try will be the one. Believe it – that’s what’s going to get you through the rough patches.
When you do succeed, it’s even sweeter when you believed in yourself
When I told myself I would make the shot and it went in, it felt amazing. By saying I would make the shot, the success of making the shot was even sweeter. It was like an “I told you so” sort of satisfaction.
Likewise, it is an amazing feeling when you accomplish your goal after telling yourself you would. The additional satisfaction comes from the fact that you told yourself that you could achieve it and you did. You feel empowered because your thoughts, your belief, and your faith have come into fruition. This enhanced sense of accomplishment can then drive you towards success in other endeavors.
With all of this in mind, I want to leave you with one more thought. I’m talking directly to you, the reader, when I say that your next shot is going in. For whatever goal you want to achieve right now, know that your next attempt will be your breakthrough. I genuinely believe this. But it’s not enough for me to have faith in you – you must internalize this yourself. Once you do that, there is nothing left for you to do but go out and attain your goal. Its all on you now.
Take the shot.