“Pistol” Pete Maravich is considered one of the greatest basketball players to have ever stepped foot on a court. Whether you love or hate sports, the Pistol isn’t someone you’ll likely ever forget. In fact, he offered great insight in to how to succeed at anything!
Legendary “Pistol Pete” set dozens of college and NBA records in scoring; he averaged what would now be nearly 60 points per game while playing college ball. In 2005, ESPNU named Maravich the all-time greatest college basketball player. Pete was an incredible showman, famous for his crazy shots, flagrant passes, and crazy dribbling.
“The Pistol” died tragically at the young age of 40 due to a heart failure just a few years after retiring.
The biggest lesson we can learn from Pistol Pete isn’t specifically about basketball. It’s about how we can use the same principles of incredible hard work, fantastic amounts of passion and mastering the fundamentals to achieve success in our own lives.
The story of Pistol Pete is one of the most powerful stories one can read about achievement. By modeling after those character traits, you can succeed as well. Anyone can.
Passion, Obsession and Achievement
Pistol Pete’s first year of basketball was replayed through the docudrama The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend. The movie revealed what Pete was like at the start and ended up becoming a classic for people around the world who who aren’t afraid to chase their dreams, however lofty those dreams might sound.
Some would say that Pete was obsessed when he was a teenager, spending at least 6-10 hours every day practicing, running, dribbling, eating and drinking basketball. His passion for the sport meant he couldn’t live like a normal teenager. He even said later:
“I would spend six to ten hours there. I remember stopping after several hours and starting to cry. I went over to a corner and started asking myself questions. ‘Other kids are out swimming and playing. Why am I here? Why do I have this desire? Why am I killing myself?’”
This passion was the driving force behind everything he did. Without such passion, he never would have made it. With it, there was nothing that could stop him.
Hard Work: The Art of Achievement
Spending dozens of hours every week running and training was an incredible physical strain to Pete, as anyone with experience in even normal levels of sports can attest. Some accused his success in college as being a simple result of the fact that his father was the head coach, suggesting that he was simply given his success. As absurd as the claim was, Pete still replied:
“Sure Dad taught me everything he knew. But he didn’t practice for me. How could he? And that was the hard part. All the practicing.”
The Pistol even went so far as to tell other young adults later in life, “You’re wasting your lives if you don’t settle down and work, work, work.” He’s right. If you have a dream, or a goal, or often imagine what the perfect lifestyle is, yet don’t work at achieving that dream, you’re wasting precious time.
The fundamental principle of success is to be not just a dreamer or a worker, but both a dreamer and a worker.
Without dreams, there’s no point in working. Without work, there’s no point in dreaming.
This doesn’t mean that the meaning of life is found in the work itself. The meaning of life is found through the achievement of your personal values. I’ll write more about this later.
The Basics: Aim Low, Achieve High
Becoming successful requires mastering the basics. Whether you want to master your diet, business, money, health, or anything else, you have to achieve a little before you can achieve a lot.
Pete didn’t start off with behind-the-back passes when he was younger. He worked his way up to that level, first mastering the basics of dribbling, shooting and passing. He started with the fundamentals, and ended as one of the greats.
You have to walk before you run
The same principle goes for every realm of achievement. There are hundreds of blogs that exist for people who want to make money online, filled with advanced tactics and tricks for making an extra buck with a blog or website.
Sadly, most of the people who gobble up the information are missing the fundamentals of success, looking for the latest trick. The fundamentals of making money online are: build links, and write content. It’s literally that simple.
Lesson to be learned: never move on to the “advanced” tactics in anything before you are ready. Be an expert at the first-level stuff, and there’s no way you can’t be kept down.
If you have an ultimate goal for your life, there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about getting there. Working outrageously hard is one of the only sure-fire ways of achieving what you want in life.
Don’t allow yourself to be held back simply because you weren’t willing to work hard. Sweat now, laugh later — the motto of the successful - those who know how to succeed at anything.
Don’t get sidetracked with the advanced tips and gimmicks of any occupation before you master the fundamentals. Achievement is found in achieving the fundamentals. Advanced tactics are only for the advanced. You have to earn your way there before you can use the tactics.
Remember, some people dream of success — others wake up and work hard at it.
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