5 Lessons From The Book 'Hidden Potential'

5 Lessons From The Book 'Hidden Potential'

"For every Mozart who makes a big splash early, there are multiple Bachs who slowly ascend and bloom late!

What any person in the world can learn, almost all persons can learn...if provided with appropriate conditions of learning.

People are actually very rarely freaks of nature. They're freaks of nurture"

These are a few sentences from Adam Grant's book Hidden Potential. I took a ton from it, and highly recommend it.

Here are my five biggest takeaways:

  1. Character is more than just having principles. It's a LEARNED capacity to live by your principles. Character is a SKILL, and it is in fact, malleable.

Knowing your principles does not mean you know how to practice them, especially under stress or pressure.

It's very easy to have high character and do the right thing when things are going well. The true test of character is if you can live by your values even when the deck is stacked against you!

As coaches we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to provide scaffolding for young people to develop the skills to live by their values even in conditions of fierce adversity, which they will inevitably encounter at some point.

2. Roses can grow in concrete!!

There's a fascinating case study in the book about a great inner-city chess coach, and his skillset can be summed up here:

"He was always conveying life lessons without being heavy handed. It was less about executing a chess plan than understanding self and mastery of self."

"You don't say, 'hey you're going to learn determination and fortitude' or they'll fall asleep. Say, 'hey chess is fun I'm going to beat you.'"

3. Of all the factors that have been studied, the strongest force in daily motivation is PROGRESS.

This was a big takeaway for me. We know progress isn't linear, but sometimes when it's YOUR career or life it's hard to zoom out enough to see you are in fact gradually ascending the mountain. As coaches, with this knowledge in mind, we need to be more proactive to ensure our athletes KNOW they are improving. If we can make sure they feel like they're being rewarded for their hard work by getting batter, they're going to be more motivated (and disciplined).

4. When it comes to developing athletes: make drills and conditioning games when possible. Tap into their competitive spirit and really teach them to compete against themselves.

There was a really cool anecdote about Steph Curry's training. Instead of just doing conditioning, his trainer does different games where he has to get x amount of points (with sprints in between each basket). Each set he's trying to beat his time. Suddenly, the least fun part of training becomes fun and a competition.

5. The best way to unlock hidden potential isn't to suffer through the daily grind. It's to transform the daily grind into a source of joy!!

Staying with Steph Curry, his coach Steve Kerr had this insight on him:

"He loves the process. That's one of the things that ties all great athletes together. There's routine, but it's really enjoyed each day. There's a passion that comes with it, and that's what sustains it over time. When you love something like those guys do, you work at it, you get better, and you just keep going."

The key here is: you're not practicing under this word: should. If we can actually enjoy the daily grind to where it's not a grind at all, powerful progress can happen over time.

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great weekend.

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