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Basketball helped me in life avoid a lot of pitfalls.
To be real, it does sadden me to see or hear of former basketball players who have all the opportunities to use basketball to gain an advantage in life, but because of their choices “they smoke it.” They blow it away and never rebound off their choices.
A Basketball player having athletic ability without focus is like having an octopus on roller skates, having lots of action but no direction.
Basketball players can have a great future in store for them if they make the right decisions with their athletic gifts. Those that “get it,” will recognize and take advantage of the resources they have. Unfortunately, some will squander these assets away and become a victim of themselves.
Before I explain any more, let me tell you a little about myself and why you should care. My name is Cordell Davenport. Basketball is my passion. Self improvement is my lifestyle.
I want you to take your aspirations to the next level. If you are like me basketball is your passion!
I remember as a kid getting a wire clothes hanger, bending it to look like a rim, put it at the top of a door in my room and get a pair of socks and use it as a basketball playing games on my knees.
I remember starting Varsity my 10th, 11th and 12th grade year in High School. My 12th grade we were once ranked as #2 in California. We ended up losing in the final 4 of the State Finals.
I remember after high school, I gave up on basketball, and how through a unique opportunity, I regained my belief and confidence in myself and was able to achieve a lifelong goal of getting a Basketball Scholarship in the NCAA.
I remember playing Basketball in college, traveling back and forth to Nebraska, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado for our conference basketball games.
I also remember, while in school, I had no idea on what I wanted to do with my life after basketball. I had no goals. I didn’t know what I wanted to major in college. I didn’t have a vision of what my life would be like once my playing days on a team was over. “ I was not in the driver seat, I was just content being in the back seat looking out the back window.”
Let me confess to you…
But it all changed for me…after college a friend gave me over 40 self improvement audio recordings that totally opened my eyes. With those recordings I was introduced to concepts that slapped me around and at the same time put fire under my butt. “When I changed, everything else changed.” I changed so much that I went from never reading, to going to the library and other book stores, to look for more information…I got hooked on learning. Although, I went to college and had a degree…the stuff I was looking at wasn’t being taught in schools. I changed so much that I even authored a book.
The game of Basketball has fundamentals. The game of life also has fundamentals for success. It starts with knowing and applying self improvement principles.
After graduating, I have excelled in outside sales and as a Hospital Electronic Medical Record Trainer (having instructed hundreds of Doctors, Nurses, Technicians and Medical Staff at over 22 Hospitals). In addition I have started a variety of small business.
As a former NCAA basketball player, I know a lot of ex-basketball players that had crazy game on the court, but when it came to what they did for a living after basketball it didn't match. You would think a person who had all this esteem, all this prestige, all this accomodation that their talents would benefit them. It would give them a boost. Give them an advantage in life, in providing for their family. But that is not the case.
Here are the mistakes you must avoid that previous basketball players have made:
1. Wasting a lot of energy without getting where they really want to go. One reason is because they didn't know where to go. They can’t hit a target they don’t see.
2. Not bothering to learn the rules and principles of self-improvement.
3. Hanging around the “wrong” crowd. The saying is so true, “Birds of the same feather flock together.” They didn’t understand they were the average of the five people they spent the most time with.
4. Not taking accountability for their actions. Winners make progress and losers make excuses.
5. Not having self-discipline. Self-discipline is to purposely do what they should be doing when they don’t feel like doing it.
When your time is over playing basketball do you:
Have you ever wondered about how there are some Basketball Players who make the right decisions with their athletic gift? Those that “get it,” will recognize and take advantage of the resources provided. Unfortunately, some will squander these assets away and become a victim of themselves. Years later, they will wish they could go back and do things differently but it will be too late! I propose that you not be like them, I want you to become focused and prepared.
I remember this experience I had. I once had a booth at book a festival at USC in Los Angeles. I was promoting my book. I had a guy approached me. Talking to him, he said he was a Senior and was on the USC basketball team. So, I gave him a summary of my book, and I asked him, so, what are you plans after college? Do you know, he shrugged his shoulders and said I don’t know! I was thinking how can this happen, here he is about to get in the “real world” and doesn’t have a clue, to what he wants, let alone where he is going.
THAT IS SO SAD!
As you know, the way you get better in basketball is to have good practice skills. Have you heard someone say, “How you practice is how you play in games?”
Do you remember all the hours you have spent practicing on your game? Like, putting a chair on the floor and pretending it was a defender and practice your cross over in front of the chair? Or, having to make two in a row to move to the next spot on the court, and if you miss, you have to start all over? What about practicing going coast to coast and doing pull up jumpers over and over again? What about getting the ball and counting down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and shoot the ball to win the game? When you practice you visualize you are in the game…right? What about you practicing on your skills for the game of life? What are you doing to better yourself? How are you growing?
Recognize game, I am concerned about you the person and not the basketball player. I have learned how to use basketball as a ladder in life for success and want for you to do the same for yourself. Success is to know what you want and get it!
Meditate on this:
FYI, we retain
To develop a quality that you lack, that you wish to have, apply the “Be, Do and Have” principle. Which goes, to be the person you want to be, you will have to do what they do how they do it and then you will have what they have. So how can you be like someone you admire? Well copy their actions, hobbies, qualities, belong to their same associations, read the books they read....Basically “copy and paste” them into your life.
There are specific reasons for success and specific reasons for failure. The key? Do what other successful people do, over and over, until you get the same results. The method? Learn and do, learn and do, over and over until you master success qualities and behaviors. I can't repeat it enough, copy and paste what other successful people do!
If you feel a certain way, you will act in that way in which you feel. So if you want something, or different in your life, “fake it until you make it.” You can fake yourself out by using reaffirming positive “self talk.” In my book Basketball To Success I go in detail on self talk. Self talk is very powerful, it will increase confidence and build courage and confidence. Act as if you have what you desire, walk and talk as if you have what you want. It has to be real in your mind first before anything will happen. The companion of fear is “worry.” If you have fear of something, the trick is to do the thing you fear until it disappears.
The reality is, we all complain about various matters. But the difference between the right and wrong type of complaining, only complain about what you can control. While at the same time, don’t complain unless you are going to do something about it. You don’t complain about gravity… complaining will not change gravity. Just like you can’t control the weather, don’t complain about things you can’t control.
Complaining about the events in your life won’t change the outcome. Sadly when you complain and don’t put forward any action you will make no progress. Don’t Blame It. Own It.
Until you accept responsibility and take charge of your life, nothing is going to change. A lot of people would like to have this, get that, become this type of person, have these good qualities as a person, look a certain way etc. Although they may know what they have to do to achieve certain goals, they have the excusitis syndrome. They say, “Someday I’ll, someday I’ll get this , someday I’ll whatever.” Here is the truth, the road of someday will lead to the house of nowhere.
Of course, responding differently means you must give up blaming the event itself. At times when something doesn’t work, we blame what happened rather than our reaction to it.
When you don’t take responsibility and make excuses, you:
Once you begin responding decisively to signals and events as they occur, life becomes much easier. The feelings of hopelessness and lack of control go away. You start seeing differently. No longer do you say to yourself I feel like a victim. I feel used. Only bad things happen to me,” rather now you say “I feel better. I’m in control. I can make things happen.”
Don’t Blame It. Own It. You need to accept the fact that you are the one who has created the way things are. You took the actions, you thought the thoughts, you created the feelings and you made the choices that got you to where you are now. You are the one who decided to go out and kick it rather than work on your basketball game. You are the one who decided to hang around people who could influence you to do crime. You are the one who didn’t study hard enough to pass that class. You are the one who ignored your parents’ guidance. You are the one who is selfish and are only concerned about your stats and not the team performance.
This goes for outcomes that are both good and bad. But perhaps the worst outcomes are those you simply allow to happen.
You didn’t register on time, now you have to wait until next year. You didn’t take your car into the mechanic when the service engine light came on now you are stranded. You didn’t follow through on your word to your grandparents that you would visit them often and now they have passed away and you have regret. You didn’t graduate and now you can’t get the job or promotion you want. You didn’t leave when you saw the drugs and guns in the car and now you are in jail. When you allow outcomes like these to happen, be aware that you are not a victim. In fact, you can safely take credit for standing passively by and letting it happen. Don’t Blame It. Own It.
What are your favorite excuses for not making the changes you know are necessary if you want to achieve your goals? The starting point of personal liberation is for you to accept complete responsibility for who you are and for everything that you become. You can never give responsibility away. The only thing that you can giveaway is control.
Remember the three critical points you can control:
The acceptance of responsibility is not optional. The words “I am responsible!” are perhaps the most powerful words in any language to short-circuit negative emotions, and gain focus. Your job is to accept responsibility for everything that has happened to you in your life, even if you are only responsible for your responses.
Former President John F. Kennedy, made a quote that puts things in perspective and makes total sense, he said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” So for you as a basketball player, the time to prepare for your future after school is now. The way you prepare for the future is to create it now!
One of America’s greatest inventors was George Washington Carver. As an agricultural chemist, Carver discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes. Among the listed items that he suggested to southern farmers to help them economically were his recipes and improvements to/for: adhesives, axle grease, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, fuel briquettes, ink, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonnaise, meat tenderizer, metal polish, paper, plastic, pavement, shaving cream, shoe polish, synthetic rubber, talcum powder and wood stain.
And here is a quote he stated, “99% of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”
“There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” Author Ken Blanchard
A major excuse a lot of people use is that, “They don’t have enough time.” Well, everybody has the same amount in a day which is 24 hours. You can’t spend time, but you can use it wisely. There are 168 hours in a week, no more no less. The question is what do you do with your time? Let’s say you spend 51 hours a week sleeping and about 50 hours at work counting commuting time, so far that is 101 hours, let’s say you spend 15 hours a week eating in a week, that is 116 hours , now 24 hours a week, relaxing, watching tv, surfing the internet, that makes 140 hours, throw in 4 hours for miscellaneous time that makes 144 hours, remember there are 168 hours in a week, you still got 24 hours in the week, you can still spend 6 hours watching tv, and still have 18 hours unaccounted for. With all of that being said, the fact is that successful people make the time to make things happen.
Do your best to have and keep self discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not! Self-discipline is the common denominator of all successful people.
As you plan your life of living a life of self improvement, answer these questions:
“Preparation doesn’t begin with what you do. It begins with what you believe. If you believe that your success tomorrow depends on what you do today, then you will treat today differently. What you receive tomorrow depends on what you believe today. If you are preparing today, chances are you will not be repairing tomorrow.” John Maxwell
“I will prepare and someday my chance will come.” Abraham Lincoln
Imagine having a relentless mentality that gives you power.
“If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.” ? Dr. Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
Here is the bottom line, when you are negative, it zaps your energy. It decreases your confidence and blocks your creativity. You then focus on the obstacles rather than the finish line. But here is the key, optimal thinking can be practiced and developed! Pessimism can only survive on a diet of negative thinking. So stop feeding your mind these thoughts if you want to be productive in life!
Why is this all important? It is because…
Thoughts change beliefs. Beliefs changes attitudes. Attitudes changes actions. Actions change your future.
Confidence is not everything, there is just nothing without it. Without confidence you will lose before you start!
Imagine having a vision for your Life After Basketball
Finding your purpose is really discovering what you want your life to stand for. Your purpose can tell you what to accomplish, how to accomplish it and in what time frame. When you discover your purpose, life flows effortlessly. Opportunity seems to fall in your lap. Resources and relationships find you easily. Small successes build upon one another to create unstoppable momentum.
But how does purpose differ from goals or action plans? Purpose is the “why” — the reason you create the goals you create and pursue the activities you do. It’s the reason you strive to achieve the results you’re looking for. Goals are merely the “what” you’ll accomplish and action plans are simply the “how” you’ll accomplish those goals. Without purpose as the compass, goals and action plans are meaningless.
Imagine having your ideal career ….Exploit your strengths and manage your weaknesses. From basketball to your career. Make a living at what you enjoy, by working with your strengths. Try to find a job you love to do. The idea is to get paid doing something you love. By figuring out what you love to do as soon as you can will help give you direction. Once you have that information then organize your life around that. Something to think about having focus… “When you chase two rabbits at the same time they will both escape!”
Your job should be to find a teacher, coach, mentor, book or resource to help you reach that goal. Find someone who has already done what you want to do and ask or pay them for their time and interview them on how you should proceed with reaching your goal. Volunteer to help them, shadow them do what it takes to listen, learn and observe.
After your playing days are over and you settle down with a career, no one cares that you led your team in scoring, no one cares your team went undefeated…but what is important is how you show what you learned from basketball and apply it to work/life. You have to showcase all what you learned from basketball. Show them, you have discipline. Show them, you can work under pressure. Show them, you are a team player. Show them, you have confidence. Show them, you are coachable. Show them, you are focused. Show them, you love challenges!
The price of success is paid in full. It is paid in advance. Just like going to McDonalds, you pay for what you want before you eat it. If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life. Don’t blame anyone, take 100% responsibility of your life. The truth is that all the best habits and skills you have developed to play basketball can be applied to your life. Merge what you know about basketball along with a lifestyle of Self Improvement and you will significantly increase your chances of becoming successful in whatever you chose.
Having self discipline is doing what you should be doing when you don’t feel like doing it. How you do anything is how you do everything. Having persistence is self discipline in action. As Jim Rohn (my favorite Self Improvement Coach) says, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
As you know with basketball working on your game is a must if you want to get to the next level. That same mentality needs to be applied to your life’s beliefs, habits, goals, focus, discipline, career….life is not all about basketball. You should always be looking out in the future, you should always be preparing for the future.
I want you to go deep into your own mind and visualize you fall asleep and wake up and look around – five years have passed!
Pay close attention! Success is to know what you want and get it. As I said in the beginning you don’t know what you don’t know. If you were like me, you don’t realize the impact adopting self-improvement as lifestyle can have on your life now and in the future.
It saddens me to see people I grew up with or people who are doing well in basketball, but after basketball they fail…fail big time and don’t use BASKETBALL AS A LADDER IN LIFE! I truly believe that I can help current basketball players in providing them life skills so that they can be successful in whatever they choose…but only if they have the right combination to the lock. I found the code. I want to share it. We choose and continue to choose our direction in life. I want you to have the attitude of thinking, “if it is to be, it is up to me.”
Do this, make self-improvement:
No one makes it alone. One of the most important lessons you learn on the journey through life is that everything you accomplish will be accompanied by someone who helps you at a certain point in your journey. For you to accomplish great things in life, you must have the help of many people. Your ability to find and develop mentors for success can save you weeks, months and even years of hard work trying to figure it out on your own. Most of the successful people that have successful careers, got their positions by identifying mentors earlier in their careers and working with them over the years. This is such an important process that you cannot leave it to chance. One of your goals should be to deliberately seek out and develop high quality mentor/mentee relationships with knowledgeable people who can give you advice as your career progresses. One good piece of advice at the right time can save you months and even years of hard work and frustrated effort.
I want you to go deep into your own mind and visualize you fall asleep and wake up and look around – five years have passed!
Pay close attention! Success is to know what you want and get it.
If you want a free copy of my book, "How To Be On The Hunt For The Person You Have Yet To Become" visit www.LifeAfterBasketball.com
Here are some videos I made that emphasize what I have been talking about.
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