When asked how he trained each summer for the upcoming season, Kobe Bryant said he focused on what he sucked at. So if Kobe was confident and had a high shooting percentage off the dribble with his right hand but the opposite coming off the dribble on his left hand, he would focus on his left hand for the summer. Perhaps the following summer he wanted to focus on improving his defensive rebounding. This mentality to focus on continually improving upon his weaknesses lead Bryant to one of the greatest professional basketball careers.
In order to improve, you must focus your energy on what you need to improve upon. It sounds counter intuitive but, think about it – in order to achieve a new level of mastery, you need to turn a weakness into a strength. As you build your strengths, turning former weaknesses into reliable strengths, you grow your knowledge base into a powerful arsenal. While the majority of successful people leveraged their success by magnifying their focus on the one or two strengths they had, in order to continuously remain at the top of their chosen path, they had to add new wrinkles.
This attention to your weaknesses will come at a price. While you can focus on your strengths and get stuck in a shallow positive feedback loop with yourself, focusing on what you suck at will challenge your patience, self-reliance, and confidence. Very few people wake up and say to themselves, “Oh boy, I am rearing to get my day started and spend all my time practicing what I suck at!” but, this is the attitude required to stay the course when you get frustrated at the sometimes glacial speed of improvement.
You don’t do this to suddenly have a breakthrough moment after a day or even a few hours of focused attention. It will be a long-term project for the entirety of your life. Being a life-long student will be the key to making progress and staying humbled by the process.
While along this journey, you must direct all your attention inward, not focusing on the pace of others. This lack of focus on self will create more frustration and doubt in your abilities. It is you versus you yesterday.
You must be detailed and specific with the tasks you wish to improve upon. Kobe said he wanted to be better off the dribble with his left hand and improve his defensive rebounding. He didn’t generically say “I want to be a better shooter and rebounder.” He was specific with his goals and analyzed his game constantly. He was a life-long student of the game and his passion for improvement led him to five championships. What will your focus and determination lead to?