20 Life Lessons You'll Learn From Sports (But Not From School)

20 Life Lessons You'll Learn From Sports (But Not From School)

Nathan Baugh

1. Nothing great is achieved by complaining.

Complaining wastes time and energy. Improving yourself takes time and energy. Choose wisely.

2. Optimists win.

If you think you can’t win, you’ve already lost. If you believe you can win, you’ve got a chance.

3. How to take feedback.

The best coaches & teammates call you out on your bullshit. They don’t accept mediocrity or even average. Instead of getting upset, listen to the feedback and apply it.

4. Value people who change their mind when given new information.

Even better if they actively try to disprove their own assumptions. You thought one strategy would work but it’s not. What do you do? Evaluate, adjust, and keep going.

5. How to thrive under pressure.

You have to perform when the lights are on, when people are watching, and your teammates are counting on you. It makes work life feel like a breeze.

6. Execution matters far more than vision.

  • “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” — Mike Tyson
  • “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” — George Patton

7. Internal motivation > external motivation.

Waking up at 5 A.M. for workouts is an amazing teacher of discipline.

8. Trust your instincts.

You have a split second to make a decision. If you hesitate, you’ve lost. Life is sometimes this way. The ability to think on your feet is an underrated skill.

9. Cut loose.

Oddly, athletes often perform best when it feels like they don’t care. When you care too much you get tight and suddenly easy things become difficult. Have fun out there.

10. A team is only as good as its weakest link.

You can view this in two ways:

  1. Only work with the best.
  2. Lift others up to be the best versions of themselves.

I prefer the second — the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

11. Do everything you can to build and keep momentum.

Momentum is hard to describe. But when you’ve got it, you’ll know. How to build it:

  • Do small things exceptionally well
  • Let small things become big things

12. Not everyone is the superstar.

“A big reason guys get stuck in the G League... they don’t realize the position they’re trying out for. It’s like going to a job interview thinking you’re going to be the CFO, and they’re looking for someone to clean the bathrooms.” - Alex Caruso

13. Make everyone around you better.

Team sports are a positive sum game. So is life. Take that extra minute to lift someone else up.

14. Avoid assholes.

Don't care how smart, how talented, or how productive. Don't let these people into your team or company.

15. Learn just enough to be dangerous.

You may be a forward, but if you can step to the 3-point line and the defender has to respect that, you have a huge advantage. The same applies to business. Learn a bit about how different systems work together and you’ll 10x your value.

16. Talent combined with effort leads to achievement.

But effort is twice as important. "Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn't." — @angeladuckw

17. Think in terms of systems.

Act in terms of people.

18. Take care of your body and your mind.

  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Go outside
  • Hangout with friends

Your productivity and happiness will skyrocket.

19. Work in sprints.

Leo Messi walks 83% of a soccer game. The other 17% makes him the best player in the world. The epitome of “work like a lion, not a cow.”

20. Bet on yourself.

Steph Curry was a 3-star recruit who was turned down by all major college basketball programs. He just broke the NBA’s three-point record.