You Herd Me!: I'll Say It If Nobody Else Will

You Herd Me!: I'll Say It If Nobody Else Will by Colin Cowherd Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: You Herd Me!: I'll Say It If Nobody Else Will by Colin Cowherd Read Free Book Online
Authors: Colin Cowherd
pretty good idea: Michael Jordan lifting weights the morning after every game of his career; Kobe Bryant refusing to leave the practice gym until he wins the final game of H-O-R-S-E; Peyton Manning sitting in a dark film room hours after practice looking for the slimmest edge on his opponent.
    For all we give to sports, these are the stories we
need
to hear.
    Nearly any business of any size—sports teams and leagues included—resides in a global space. Fifty years ago, the great 18-year-old American shortstop had to worry about fewer competitors for a job in the big leagues. Now, that same kid has to be better than shortstops from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, and even Cuba.
    You simply can’t rise to the highest level without putting in more hours than your competitors. And when it comes to sports, the more hours you put in at an earlier age, all the better.
    In 1996, the late writer David Foster Wallace wrote a fascinating article in
Esquire
about a little-known tennis player named Michael Joyce, who was the seventy-ninth-ranked player in the world at the time. Wallace delved into the inner workings of the tennis circuit and told the story through Joyce’s eyes, and one thing became abundantly clear: the commitment, time, and focus needed to be a top 100 player—even in the second half of that top 100—is not suited for those who are only partially devoted to the sport. As Wallace writes, “The realities of top level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one area of excellence. An ascetic focus. A consent to live in a world that’s very small.”
    The question then becomes, does that small world necessarily make you less happy?
    A 2006 Pew survey attempted to define happiness as it pertains to political persuasion, always a dicey proposition. But the findings were illuminating. The survey found that conservatives, regardless of income level, are happier than liberals. (This indicates that the prevailing idea that older, wealthier conservatives are happier than younger liberals is true but not exclusively true.)
    The study used political persuasion while basing its findings on the well-established Big Five personality scale, in which five factors—openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism—are used to determine personality.
    What did it find? Conservatives tend to be less neurotic and fretful. They don’t agonize over unknowns, which means they probably don’t lose sleep over the possible tyranny of a third-world dictator. The study concluded that conservatives know their place in the universe and aren’t troubled by it.
    Liberals, on the other hand, need closure and certainty. They
are
troubled by the tyranny of a third-world dictator, even though they are undoubtedly powerless to do anything about it. They focus on what is idealized rather than what is possible, while conservatives focus on stability and community, two factors that are far more controllable.
    I’m not suggesting the path to happiness starts with trading Rachel Maddow for Sean Hannity. I doubt psychologists and therapists are touting their new treatment—Beat depression! Watch
Fox News
!—as better than medication. The conservative/liberal thing is a mind-set that extends beyond politics, and the study left me with an overwhelming sense that a smaller world with more certainty makes people happier. Maybe that seems counterintuitive in an increasingly global community, but one finding of the study struck a chord with me: conservatives cared more aboutcommunity than liberals, but it was limited to the community that they consider theirs.
    And that phenomenon—the world-within-a-world—is what I have witnessed for more than twenty years in sports. Hyperfocused people living goal-oriented lives attain levels of confidence as a direct result of their familiarity with success.
    Despite their seemingly single-minded devotion, they love their families and have friends. But on a deeper

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