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  • James von der Lieth

How You Do One Thing Is How You Do Everything

Updated: Feb 27

"How you do one thing is how you do everything." - Unknown

I don't know where I heard this quote but I love it.

You can tell a lot about someone by the way they play or learn a sport. Are they selfish? Are they a team player? Do they have ego? Are they graceful? Are they goofy? Do they gossip about their teammates? Too aggressive? Not aggressive enough? Do they prefer individual sports or team sports? Are they honest about their scores? Do they have a different excuse every day? Are they humble? Are they confident? Do they pretend like they know more than they do? I could go on, but you get the point. There is a good reason golf and tennis are such popular business sports. They both really do work for judging someone's character. The way someone plays a sport is how they do everything in life.

You can learn a lot about others by observing them in a competitive situation

Growing up, we had a terrible culture in competitive youth basketball thanks to all the parents. With only 5 limited spots on the floor, there was extreme competition for playing time. A lot of the parents would talk crap on other kids on the team, and politic to get their kid more playing time. At the same time, they put so much pressure on the kids that it became not fun. It was pretty disgusting.

Meanwhile, soccer was more fun because most of the baby boom generation parents didn't understand the game well enough to criticize or care. There was less negativity and more fun. I'd be willing to bet that gossiping, negativity, and bringing teammates down to bring their kids up is how the same basketball parents approached corporate politics and operated in their jobs. Given a competitive situation like business, I wouldn't want most of the basketball parents on my team. They'd be toxic, and not have a growth mindset. Instead of focussing on improving themselves and putting team first, they'd be off gossiping.

There are people out there that are just naturally good at everything. Tom Brady can stroke a golf ball, shred a wave, and probably still rip a baseball. Michael Jordan took to baseball like a fish to water. I've never seen my childhood friend Jamie be bad at anything requiring finesse from Beer Pong to Soccer to Spikeball to Golf to Basketball. He also happens to be a pretty finesseful (should be a word) person in general.

Observe someone in a competitive sports situation and you can learn a lot about how they approach the world. People I know that suck at something they try and give up, tend to make an excuse and give up on everything. Someone that's afraid to get out of their comfort zone learning how to ski will probably never take a calculated risk in business. Full of false bravado and too aggressive on the basketball court? Probably the same way in business.

You can also learn a lot about yourself by learning a new sport or activity.

I started learning how to surf in May. It's been frustrating at times, but the last two sessions have been amazing and I've finally graduated to a hard board where I've started to turn on waves. I had never tried surfing before May. Here are some of the things I've observed about myself along the way

Things I've learned about myself through learning to surf

  • I respond best to positive teachers/mentors/coaches that give simple, direct feedback. I get overwhelmed by teachers that pick apart everything all at once and don't give me enough time to recognize some of my mistakes on my own. I'm hard enough on myself as it is

  • I'm too impatient and go after too many waves I shouldn't be

  • I need to focus more on enjoying the moment versus constantly trying to get better and picking myself apart

  • On the spectrum of thinking too much and just doing it, I'm too far on the just doing it end. This has led to bad strategy and getting destroyed in 10 foot waves

How you do one thing is how you do everything. Watch others, but more importantly, get better by observing yourself.

I'm an entrepreneur, consultant for tech startups and VRM's, investor, STR owner, writer, and a digital nomad.

I blog about the lessons I'm learning on my journey to live a financially free 💸, healthy 🏃 and location independent life ✈️

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