Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shane Battier and the Dynamics of Success

I'm not usually one to gush about articles, but the NY Times Magazine piece on Shane Battier is an absolute gem. Although he is not the most physically gifted and talented athlete in the NBA, he has found his niche in pro basketball. The article does a great job of illustrating that niche and demonstrating how Battier has developed and maintained it.

The implications for trading are enormous. Here are just a few:

1) Your success comes from knowing and accepting your strengths and limitations;

2) Your edge has to be cultivated on a continuous basis; you have to adapt to the game faster than it adapts to you;

3) You don't have to be freakishly talented to find success, but you do have to be freakishly devoted to exploiting your edge;

4) It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you are focused on the game and not ego-focused;

5) Study, study, study the numbers: Success comes from knowing who you're up against better than they know themselves.

Battier comes across as a bright, dedicated professional. Because he is such an intense student of the game, he finds opportunity where others do not. The dynamics of success aren't so different in athletics, markets, business--and life itself.


hcarstens said...

Also illustrates how 'making everyone better' is an all-star quality, too.

Truly amazing article on so many levels,


adan said...

great post, really helps show the cross current that flows between all professions and endeavors...

thank you much!

Adam said...

In the tradition of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, this article shows how carefully studying performance using credible statistical methodologies can show where there may be a competitive edge where you didn't think one previously existed.

By focusing so closely on this one young man, it shows how a person who studies with care can find and enhance their own edge.

The article also shows that this athlete is a person of exceptional character, and that character like a competitive edge can be cultivated, and that the two function in a feedback loop, each enhancing the other.

A fine piece of journalism, most strongly recommended.


Ziad said...

A gem indeed... Thanks for the link.

T said...

Just love the statement:

"The IQ of where to be"...

How appropriate is that in the markets!


CharlesTrader said...

Additional insights from Josh Waitzkin, author of "The Art of Learning" and child chess prodigy ("Searching for Bobby Fischer"):

“I mentioned that Bruce (teacher/mentor) and I studied the endgame while other young players focused on the opening. … Bruce began our study with a barren chessboard. We took on positions of reduced complexity and clear principles. Our first focus was king and pawn against king – just three pieces on the table. Over time, I gained an excellent intuitive feel for the power of the king and the subtlety of the pawn. … Layer by layer we built up my knowledge and my understanding of how to transform axioms into fuel for creative insight. Then we turned to rook endings, bishop endings, knight endings, spending hundreds of hours as I turned seven and eight years old, exploring the operating principles behind positions that I might never see again. This method of study gave me a feeling for the beautiful subtleties of each chess piece, because in relatively clear-cut positions I could focus on what was essential. I was also gradually internalizing a marvelous methodology of learning – the play between knowledge, intuition, and creativity. From both educational and technical perspectives, I learned from the foundation up.”

“While the weaker player might say, “I just had a feeling,” the stronger player would shrug and explain the principles behind the inspired move. This is why Grandmasters can play speed chess games that weaker masters wouldn’t understand in hundreds of hours of study: they have internalized such esoteric patterns and principles that breathtakingly precise decisions are made intuitively.”


Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for the comments; we can learn much from excellence across various fields of performance--