One thing about working for Dale Brown, which I had the privilege of doing for a decade was the things I learned off the court that made be better on the court (as well as in other areas). I have never met anyone that read more than Coach Brown. He would tear into a book, marking the passages on the pages that he deemed important and then having his secretary type those areas highlighted so that he could share them with others (and share them he did -- and still does). From time to time, he would pass a book on to me. I knew when that happened there was a reason -- the book held something in it that Coach Brown want me to read -- and to get. One such book was "The Achievement Factors," by B. Eugene Griessman. In researching the book, Griessman interviewed over 60 people from various fields as to why they had achieved success. Below is a summarized list of what he discovered:
1. High Achievers Discover Their Vocation and Their Specialty
They find something they love doing, something at which they can become really proficient...We should not be surprised, then, that people who derive so much satisfaction from their work do it well -- and never watch the clock to see how much time remains until quitting time.
2. High Achievers Develop a Competency
Competence is so crucial to high achievement that it can be considered not simply an achievement factor but the foundation upon which all high achievement is build...high achievers emphasize the importance of loving one's work -- because that love enables one to do the irksome tasks that are inherent in any occupation. Some of the duties associated with even the happiest career are boring, stressful, or tiring. That cannot be said too strongly, the high achievers say. But love or passion or a feeling of commitment transform nitty-gritty work into competency. And competency is the down payment on success.
3. High Achievers Value and Manager What Everybody Starts Out With: Time
Those who do not learn to value time and carefully manager its use in such areas flounder...High achievers devise little strategies to conserve time, like taking along a magazine or book to read in the taxi or the doctor's office...Even though they may be driven by the clock or the calendar, many of the high achievers have schedules that permit them to lavish time on activities that they love. Sometimes that means doing an extraordinary amount of work, if work is their only love. But others schedule time for tennis and concerts and reading and family life with the same kind of care that they schedule business appointments.
4. High Achievers Are Persistent
They are not easily stopped -- if they feel they are on the right tract.
5. They Channel Their Needs and Wishes Into Their Work
What people really want they often get.
6. High Achievers Develop the Ability to Focus
Hank Aaron's observation that superstars concentrate more than average players applies to more than baseball. Superstars from many fields say essentially the same thing. The possess the ability to tune out static and distractions and give absolute attention to the task at hand.
7. High Achievers Function Appropriately in Their Situations
Virtually all the high achievers say that, and a large number of them use the word luck to explain their accomplishments. They also mention the importance of mentors and discoverers and teachers.
8. High Achievers Perceive Opportunities
High achievers are open to what is happening around them. They are always learning, because they are inquisitive, questioning individuals...some of them will accept criticism, even welcome it, because they know that getting valid and timely feedback is absolutely vital to success...many of them read voraciously for diversion, for general knowledge and sometimes for sheer delight.
9. High Achievers Seize Opportunities
They seem always to be scanning the horizon for relevant information...they take risks.