Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Building Your Pyramid of Success

Here is a great article on the "pyramid of success" taught by legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.  Coach Wooden spent years honing the pyramid, but the cornerstones of "industriousness" and "enthusiasm" always remained constant.  A key concept is that each level builds on the one below it:  building your foundation of industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, and enthusiasm is necessary toward maintaining self-control, alertness, initiative, and intentness.  Those, in turn, form the foundation for condition, skill, and team spirit, which anchor poise and confidence--and ultimately competitive greatness.

"A key ingredient in stardom," Coach Wooden emphasized, "is the rest of the team."  Notice how many of the success elements in the pyramid relate to interpersonal strengths.  At the center of the pyramid is "skill".  Skill is central to success, and yet does not find expression in competitive greatness unless it is supported by self-control, industriousness, initiative, alertness, and intent.

A great exercise is to take the 15 elements of success in the pyramid and use these for a report card.  How would you score yourself in each of these categories?  Which are your greatest strengths?  Which are your weakest areas?  How could you shore up those weaknesses in a way that will make you a greater trader?  Self-assessment is always the start of goal-setting, which then can guide deliberate practice, which really is the process uniting the pyramid categories.  The pyramid is not a static set of traits, but a dynamic group of activities that are evident in every practice session, every game.

How do you begin working on your pyramid of success?  Check out James Clear's excellent post on making marginal, 1% gains.  Becoming just slightly better at a number of things, over time, creates a compounding improvement that can produce world champions.  Clear emphasizes the idea of "never miss twice":  if you allow yourself to make mistakes but don't allow yourself to repeat them, compounding can never work against your development.  The complementary principle is "always hit twice":  when you do something well, make sure you repeat it.  Becoming better in the long run is a function of many days of becoming slightly better.

Further Reading:  Insights and Inspirations From Legendary Basketball Coaches