Yesterday I was playing basketball with a friend. When I was shooting, I noticed that most of the time I always hit the first one, and pretty often I hit 2 or 3 shots in a row. I suck. Statistically, this doesn't make any sense. Out of 10 shots, I'd probably hit 5 or 6 from which 2 or 3 would be back to back.
The whole point of this story is that you need a fight, you need some sort of fight to succeed. There are a lot of good basketball players out there, but the ones at the top are there because they had something to prove.
It's never enough; if your value system is based around money or fame like most people there will never be enough of it. I think that life fulfillment is impossible without a little bit of this. Even if you have a house on the beach with a family or you're living a bohemian life, you will end up needing a fight. Sure, some people don't need much competition. They're happy putting political bumper stickers on their Subaru.
But some guys need to overcome a mountain before they can relax at the beach. My competition growing up was proving I existed. I grew up a regular white boy, basically inexistent. Growing up I just wanted some kind of attention and validation, something to prove that I existed and it's left me with a lot of resentment. I don't know if I constructed my personality and my belief system based on truth, or based on standing out.
Whenever I was going in for a significant change in my life or when I was preparing for any kind of contest, I would always tell people around me about that. Otherwise, I would have just told myself that "I'll try my best at this" and it would've been some half-ass job, but because I knew people are going to see it, I knew I had to step my game up.
Watching the Michael Jordan documentary is how he used his ego to become the best. At any point when Chicago needed a desperate win, somehow Jordan always said:
"I took it personal."
A writer once dissed him and said he wasn't shit and he took that energy and into the game. He wasn't just playing basketball. He was playing for pride.
What separates professional athletes from each other? Is it ability? Is it skill? I don't think so. Most of them are built the same, most of them have been playing whatever sport they play for the same amount of time, the same training, but what separates them is their mental capacity, it's how much they believe that they are the best player, how much confidence they have when they are right in front of the net and they need to score. How much they can sustain their talent throughout the entire season.
A lot of players show glimpses of the same capabilities that the best players have but they can't do it day in and day out. It's champions with mental strength who need to overcome their ego and their pride, who need to prove something because somebody wronged them. Those are the players who are the best players.