I had a friend, we’ll call him “Mike,” who I’d played one-on-one in basketball as a teen.
Mike was shorter and quicker than me, and a better shooter. When we played full court one-on-one, I would try to match Mike’s quickness and shooting — usually coming up short.
He’d make more outside jumpshots, steal the ball when I dribbled too much. He would win many of these games.
Mike won these games not because Mike was necessarily better than me, but because I was playing to his relative strengths rather than my own.
I was taller and stronger than Mike; I could have simply used my size and scored all layups on Mike and won every game easily. I was using the full court games more as practice than as a way to prove that I could win, though.
But then, Mike got cocky.
Off the court, Mike would talk shit amongst our mutual friends about how he’d beaten me in our games. I understood why he felt so high and mighty; he had been beating me after all, and based on the way I’d been playing, competing on quickness and shooting, Mike felt as if he would always win.
In front of our friends, I told Mike that he should remember that I could play a different style that would render our games much less competitive — a style that I would easily dominate.
Mike seemed to not believe me.
The next time we played, I stopped using Mike as a test defender for my dribble and shot. I stopped playing Mike’s style completely.
This next contest wasn’t about working on my game to get better. This game was about reminding Mike that I was 6-7 inches taller than him, 20 pounds heavier, and that our games had only been “games” because I’d allowed them to be games.This game was about reminding Mike that I was 6-7 inches taller than him, 20 pounds heavier, and that our games had only been “games” because I’d allowed them to be games. Click To Tweet
For the entirety of the game, I didn’t try to out-quick Mike. I didn’t shoot any jumpshots. I simply backed Mike down to under the basket and made layups.
Every. Single. Play. All game long.
We never finished the last full court game. Facing a huge deficit, Mike quit and walked off the court.
We never played full court one-on-one again.
My favorite part of that last game with Mike wasn’t that I’d won the game. As I said, I already knew I could overpower Mike for easy points. I hadn’t proven anything to myself by doing that.
What I most fondly remember about that game was that I’d eliminated Mike from ever again being competition to me.
That accomplishment wasn’t physical — it was mental.
That’s how you truly dominate your opposition.What I most fondly remember about that game was that I’d eliminated Mike from ever again being competition to me. That accomplishment wasn’t physical — it was mental. That’s how you truly dominate your opposition. Click To Tweet
When you beat someone physically, the common response is predictable: you had a better performance… TODAY. Things worked in your favor… THIS TIME.
Let’s play again, and one or two changes in LUCK will change the outcome.
When someone is beaten physically, they usually come back for more.
When you beat an opponent mentally, though… it’s over.When someone is beaten physically, they usually come back for more. When you beat an opponent mentally, though… it’s over. Click To Tweet
They don’t come back. They don’t ask for a rematch. Hell, they may not even finish the game you’re dominating them in.
A mental victory takes the fight out of your opponent. No matter their physical resources, they are effectively eliminated from ever competing with you again.
Physical victories are temporary. Your defeated opponent will return as soon as they have the tools to fight again.
Mental victories are forever. The defeated opponent may still have a gun, but you’ve confiscated all their bullets.
Where in life are you fighting physically where you may fair better fighting mentally? Reply and let me know — I read all responses.
Make sure to take the following MasterClasses related to this very topic —
#941: How To Develop Mental Toughness
#1340: Understanding & Mastering Mental Cardio
#1292: How To Build Mental Strength Before Physical Strength
#1163: How To Treat Your Mental Game Like Your Physical Game
#993: Mental Errors Are Unacceptable
#689: How To Eliminate Mental Errors Forever
#594: Dealing With & Destroying Your Mental Blocks
#1386: How to Develop And Maintain Mental Toughness
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