Today I want to chat about Ben Bergeron’s philosophy a bit more.
Short story: He’s ALL about training character. He’s identified twelve characteristics of a champion. They are: Commitment, Grit, Positivity, Embrace Adversity, Confidence, Maximizing Minutes, The Process, Control, Turn the Page, Humility, Competitive Excellence, and Clutch.
Today we’re going to talk about his first characteristic: Commitment.
Want to be a Champion? Well, good luck if you aren’t even willing to COMMIT to being a Champion. You need to raise your standards t h r o u g h the roof and actually set being your absolute best as your ultimate target.
Ben tells us most people aren’t willing to do that.
He draws a little graph to make his point.
Draw an upside down “U” in your mind or on a piece of paper. On the bottom left we have “Complacency.” In the middle at the top of that inverted U we have “Competence.” Then on the far right we he have “Excellence.”
Ben tells us that most people have enough ambition such that they’re not totally complacent. They may even want to move from being merely competent to truly great. BUT… The moment they see just how hard they’re going to have to work to bridge that gap they say, “Meh. Whatever. I’m good enough.” Then they settle back into their mediocre ways.
btw: Now’s a good time to recall that, in ancient Latin, mediocrity literally (!) meant “to be stuck in the middle of a rugged mountain.”
Most people are stuck in the middle of that inverted U. “Meh. Whatever. I’m good enough.”
(Note: When I think of how often *I* say that to myself I say, “Gah. Vomit in mouth.” 🤢)
btw2: Recall that mediocrity has a LOT of synonyms: ordinary, average, middling, middle-of-the-road, uninspiring, undistinguished, indifferent, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian, prosaic, lackluster, forgettable, amateur, amateurish.
It has ONE antonym: Excellence.
So… Today’s +1.
How’s your commitment to excellence?
Remember: It’s the first characteristic of a Champion.
Oh! One more btw: You remember the Greek word for excellence? Areté, of course.
So… It turns out that we could call Ben’s book Chasing Areté.
And… What does Aristotle tell us we need to do to experience the ultimate good of eudaimonia? Basically, we need to MAXIMIZE VIRTUE—which is exactly what Ben teaches his athletes, only he calls it character.