What is Greatness?

(This was posted first on Reddit)

From Robert, trainer for Team USA:


I was invited to Las Vegas to help Team USA with their conditioning before they headed off to London. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in the past, but this would be my first interaction with Kobe.

The night before the first scrimmage, I had just watched “Casablanca” for the first time and it was about 3:30 AM. A few minutes later, I was in bed, slowly fading away, when I heard my cell ring. It was Kobe. I nervously picked up.

“Hey, uhh, Rob, I hope I’m not disturbing anything right?”

“Uhh, no. What’s up Kob?”

“Just wondering if you could help me out with some conditioning work, that’s all.”

I checked my clock. 4:15 AM.

“Yeah sure, I’ll see you in the facility in a bit.”

It took me about twenty minutes to get my gear and get out of the hotel. When I arrived and opened the room to the main practice floor, I saw Kobe. Alone. He was drenched in sweat as if he had just taken a swim. It wasn’t even 5:00 AM.

We did some conditioning work for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Then, we entered the weight room, where he would do a multitude of strength training exercises for the next 45 minutes. After that, we parted ways.
He went back to the practice floor to shoot. I went back to the hotel and crashed. Wow.

I was expected to be at the floor again at about 11:00 AM. I woke up feeling sleepy, drowsy, and pretty much every side effect of sleep deprivation. (Thanks, Kobe.) I had a bagel and headed to the practice facility.

This next part I remember very vividly. All of the Team USA players were there. LeBron was talking to Carmelo and Coach Krzyzewski was trying to explain something to Kevin Durant. On the right side of the practice facility Kobe was by himself shooting jumpers.

I went over to him, patted him on the back and said, “Good work this morning.”


“Like, the conditioning. Good work.”

“Oh. Yeah, thanks Rob. I really appreciate it.”

“So when did you finish?”

“Finish what?”

“Getting your shots up. What time did you leave the facility?”

“Oh, just now. I wanted 800 makes. So yeah, just now.”

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This is what greatness comes down to. The ability to practice extremely boring things over and over and over again, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE ALREADY PERFECT.

Who is Your Competition?


Consider this: If you were an applicant and there are 30,000 (Thirty thousand) applicants to 100 jobs at a single company, who are you competing against? 30,000 people or 100 people?

This question is one that people rarely (if ever) ask.

Who is your ACTUAL competition?

Let me give you a clue to the answer.

There are 20 clubs each season in the English Premier League. This season, the clubs are Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton, Manchester United, Southampton, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Stoke City, West Ham, Hull City, Swansea, Norwich City, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Cardiff City and Fulham.

If, for example, I am the manager of Fulham FC, and I want to win the EPL title next season, who is my competition?

The answer to this question is the clue.

As the manager of Fulham FC, if I SERIOUSLY wanted to win the EPL title, and I was willing to do EVERYTHING it takes, I wouldn’t be studying what the manager of Aston Villa is doing.


Because even though Aston Villa has been in the EPL for many years, they are not going to win the EPL title anytime soon.


If as the manager of Fulham FC, I SERIOUSLY wanted to win the EPL title, and I was willing to do EVERYTHING it takes, I would be studying ONLY what the managers of FIVE CLUBS out of the twenty are doing.


I’m sure you already know the clubs. They are:

1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Liverpool
4. Manchester United
5. Arsenal


These are the clubs that REALLY want to win. These clubs take the NECESSARY steps to win. They buy the players that can make them win, they get the coach that can make them win, they put their resources and time to WINNING the title, not AVOIDING relegation.

As the manager of Fulham FC, these are the clubs I’ll spend weeks studying. These are the clubs I’ll watch the videos of their past seasons. These are the clubs I’ll study their history.

AFTER STUDYING THEM, I’ll then create a strategy to snatch the EPL title from their hands, because I now fully KNOW who I’m competing against.


Let’s get back to my first question. Who is your competition? 30,000 or 100?

100 is the answer.

In case you don’t appreciate this, 100 is ONE-THIRD of ONE PERCENT of 30,000.

This may seem scary. But it’s actually a very good thing. Because, you can now construct in your mind the type of person that will be among the 100. What type of qualifications will this person have, and how can I get them? What kind of connections does this person have, and how can I get them? What kind of preparation is this person making, and how can I prepare like that?

This way of thinking will seem unusual to many people. But believe me, THIS IS THE WAY TO WIN.


If you want it, if you REALLY want it, you’re NOT competing against the losers. You’re competing against the WINNERS.

And to beat a winner, you have to FIND the winner’s strategy, REPLICATE it and then find a way to MAKE IT BETTER.

And better.

And MUCH better.

When you’ve done this, that is when you’ll WIN.


Do People Criticize You? Read This and CHEER UP.

Do people criticize you?

Do people criticize you?

Have you ever tried sharing your new and different idea with people?

If you have, criticism is something you must have experienced. One of the worst parts of criticism is when you have to live with these same critics everyday. For many people, continuous criticism makes them give up. The few who move forward to success are powerful sources of inspiration.

This quote by Theodore Roosevelt will spur you to continue striving in the midst of critics.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly;

Who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed;

Who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.

So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Like Nations’ Cup Winning Coach, Stephen Keshi, who tried something entirely new and different last year with the Super Eagles, don’t fear the new and different. Have the courage to pursue your goals. Soon, your story could also be told.

Stephen Keshi: Man or Superman?


There are few things better than watching this Stephen Keshi-led home-based Nigerian side coming back from three goals down at half-time to winning 4-3 without penalties.

As I sat and criticized the players at the end of the first half (I’m human too), I never imagined it ending 4-3. I never believed. I’m still in slight shock. But it happened.

Like @Sir_Yinkz said on twitter:

Whatever Stephen Keshi told the Boys in the Dugout should be packaged and sold at Shoprite.

It should.

The level of self-belief and motivation needed to turn around a 3-0 scoreline is difficult to generate in 15 minutes. But Stephen Keshi did it.

Ejike Uzoenyi

I saw the faces of Chigozie Agbim and Ejike Uzoenyi at the end of the first half, when they were gathering to pray. They were close to tears. But Stephen Keshi did it.

And to show you how much Stephen Keshi did; remember the end of the match? When Keshi sat down smiling while the whistle was blown? Did you notice that the coaching staff didn’t run to hug the boys? They came around, hugging Keshi and congratulating him.

Keshi believed in these boys. My dad recalled today how Stephen Keshi repeatedly told Joseph Yobo that Nigeria would win the Nations cup. And Yobo did not believe him. But Keshi went on to do it. And the same thing happened when Nigeria won: The coaching staff and players came to rejoice with Stephen Keshi, not Sunday Mba.

The commentator on SuperSport constantly compared this match with the Liverpool vs AC Milan final, where Liverpool came from three goals down back up to 3-3. And won on penalties.

As far as African football is concerned, today’s win is both better and more important and will go down in history as one of the best football matches. Ever.

As you read, take ten seconds to do this: Put down your phone or tab or whatever you are reading this with and give a round of applause to Stephen Keshi, the man of the moment, and the best Nigeria coach in recent history.

That feeling in your chest when you have money . . .

. . . in your pocket and you want to buy everything in sight.

That feeling is POVERTY calling you.

Never forget that.

The same feeling called others. Everyday they answered. And their lives now tell the story.

Don’t answer the call of POVERTY.

“Flog me,” the child said.

Believe it or not, children appreciate strict discipline–a lot, as long as it is tempered with LOVE.

Teaching kids has taught me that kids want to be disciplined to go in the right path. They never say it, but they know when it has left. And they miss it.

No child remembers a teacher who ONLY made them laugh. They remember the teacher who had high expectations of them and never let them be complacent.

When you interact with kids, don’t focus on entertaining them. The TV is doing that brilliantly. Give them a purpose. Let them know how much potential they have.

With time, they’ll respect you and obey you.

The magic combination is DISCIPLINE and LOVE.

They’ll NEVER forget you for it.


GayHenry Kissinger wrote in the foreword for “From Third World to First” by Lee Kuan Yew that,

The continents interact, but they do not necessarily understand each other. The uniformity of technology is accompanied by an implicit assumption that politics, and even cultures, will become homogenized. Especially, the long-established nations of the West have fallen prey to the temptation of ignoring history and judging every new state by the criteria of their own civilizations. It is often overlooked that the institutions of the West did not spring full-blown from the brow of contemporaries but evolved over centuries which shaped frontiers and defined legitimacy, constitutional provisions, and basic values.

For this lone reason, the “nations of the west” should let Nigeria alone. We are not Americans, neither are we British. We are Nigerians. We have our values, we have our beliefs. We have the right to make our own rules and our own mistakes.

We are a religious nation. Maybe not righteous, but religious. That has its advantages. It also has its disadvantages.

The assumption that “culture will become homogenized”, and “judging every new state by the criteria of their own civilizations” is almost normal for many western nations today. And it is shortsighted.

No nation develops by photocopying the values of a more developed one. Nations grow by making use of the resources and values of their own country in intelligent, productive ways.

I have nothing against gay people. But no person or country has to support being gay or gay marriage.

Don’t Forget to Say It

Too often, we forget the value of just saying the things that matter to the people that matter. We forget that though these things seem casual, the weight words have depends on the people who say them.

A simple, “Stay strong for your family” from a friend or relative you know who really cares can go a very long way in keeping you through the hard times.

So, don’t forget to say it. You might think it, but you do need to say it.

Especially to the people you care for.