Getting shots up

The difference between Kobe Bryant level performance and your d-league wanna be level performance is that Kobe got 100000 times more shots up than you. That is it.

Okay, there is more nuance and he was born taller and more athletic than you. But the difference between Kobe and the person who is the starting small forward for Duke next year is that Kobe STILL got 100000 times more shots up than him. That is it. That is the truth (I believe it!).

Said small forward at duke was the best player in his town. By far. Like he literally put up insane stats every night. He worked harder than everyone. He dunked on kids. He knew he was the best in his town, too. Every kid at the high school knew him. Every kid at every high school knew him as the greatest player to ever really play in the district. He had that guy energy. Like people literally filled the stands to come see him. Parents knew his name.

And kobe would make him look like a penny. Like he does not even stand in the same arena as kobe. Like literally someone live-action-role-playing what it would be like to be a basketball player.

And the difference was NOT that Kobe was born with some insane ability to jump higher or shoot better than others. i think you could probably say the most impactful “environmental” aspect of Kobe was that he was molded into someone who cared so much about being the best. A lot of things fed into that—his childhood, the way his brain was wired, his energy, etc.

But all of that, all of that care, once in place—resulted in someone who took more shots. Got more shots up. A lot more shots up. That is it.

He took more high quality shots to be clear. He went game speed. He practiced harder. Longer. Played more. He took 100000x more shots than that Duke Small Forward who will likely be a nobody and will never have a lasting legacy in basketball.

So if we know the above to be true and an artifact of history. If we know that the greatest. The best. The most dominant. The Djokovic/Nadals. The guys who win. Who truly dominate. Drake. Etc.

If we know their “secret” is honestly so unbelievably simple. If we know that their “secret sauce” is LITERALLY just getting more ~shots up.

Then why do we look for other answers?

Why are we trying to like invent a new way to work out? Kobe was not shooting in zero gravity. He was not using this like whole bizarre new way of shooting. He was not wearing particularly special shoes or a particularly special sleeve. He used the ball. The same ball you used. Except he used it way more. Way way more.

Probably hard to imagine how much more. Think of the best person at your high school in basketball. The person described above. Who could beat you 11-0 100 times in a row. Kobe could beat that person 100-0, 1000 times in a row. Do you see how insane that is? And it is because he simply got 1000 times+ more shots up than that person.

The people who are stronger than you at the gym—the truly strong people—they are just worked out more than you and ate cleaner more than you. That is all. They got more shots up. It is a simple answer.

Why is this so hard for us to accept? Why are we looking for some other answers? Why do we resist?

I think it stems perhaps from middle school. You had friends who did not need to study much and would get better grades than you. Everyone had them. I was one of the kids who did not need to study the most but there were definitely people who could study even less than me. I felt stupid. I probably was not as quick as them.

But all of that is honestly a distraction. That is such a short term game. That is not winning.

Getting more shots up without enough time trumps any natural ability. I wish you could prove that with an equation of sorts but it is one of those trust the process types of things that you have to see to believe and once you see even then you may not believe you have to really feel. That is at least my belief. I mean you need time and space and distance to travel to prove that out.

If you could just see the future. If you could just see if you went to the gym daily for a year and SAW AND FELT THE RESULTS, then of course you would work out a ton today.

This is hard to picture in a lot of places. Like if you studied physics every day for the next year, how “good at physics” would you be? You have no idea. Like what would that arc be? I have no idea. What could I then do? How would it feel? How would my brain feel? What if I was studying at the level of Kobe? Like insanely intensely. Every day it was my focus. Every meal I ate was optimized for the outcome that I wanted.

Kobe wanted to be the greatest player ever. Every decision he made for years was geared towards that. I mean, every decision is probably wrong. He certainly went off track. But his intensity level is an example of CLOSE to the highest we have seen across any industry in recent years. Certainly one of the highest we have seen at intersection of cool/visible and admirable (admirable to me).

I think for a lot of spaces there is a lot of work going on that we cannot see with our eyes because we have very few examples.

In basketball, you can at least imagine what the arc would look like. Like you could see how the best middle school player who did not need to work out very much and did not need to get many shots up and still could drop a lot of points in the game would inevitably be surpassed not barely but hugely by the kid—the kobe—who got more shots up. You have heard this story before. You probably saw this story play out and as you get older you will see the story play out more and more. The people who get shots up will increase their averages over the long term until its eventually an unfair compounding game. The people who are betting on one-off events will never find them. Because luck isn’t real. Luck is created.

We get confused because we think back to the short term middle school games. We think about that one test. We draw a conclusion that if we were just “smarter” we would pass that test, too. We get angry at the unfairness of the world and we paint a picture that we are the victims. UGH I WISH I WAS BORN SMARTER. That is a myth.

You should wish you were born dumber so you were taught that hard work is the only thing you need. You should wish you were born shorter so you had to work more on your self confidence. The person who skipped doing the homework and passed the test—perhaps the thoughts come naturally to them but they are missing the process. The inputs. The process scales. Trusting the process scales. You just need a process.

If I were to look back on the past few years of my own life, I know that I stopped getting shots up. I stopped writing as much. I stopped thinking as much as a result. I stopped reading and running, too. I stopped getting shots up.

I used to think a lot more and write a lot more and then I thought I was doing the “right” thing by quitting everything to focus. I thought I was being focused. But I wasn’t. I gave up on the process. I gave up on the inputs. That set me back.

Kobe didn’t stop shooting once he made the league. In fact the opposite happened. He kept the blade sharp. He kept shooting. He unlocked a compound accumulating advantage. He got more shots up. He got WAY MORE shots up.

Drake has a thousand unreleased absolute banger songs. He is getting shots up.

Picasso too. Charlie Brown creator. Prolific. Prolific to a degree the casual lazy folks will not understand. Like intensity that you cannot really appreciate until you witness it. It is commitment beyond the modern definition of commitment. People say marriage is commitment but they spend their time looking at other women. They say school is commitment but they do not read any books. Like wtf are they doing. Why are they larping? Are we taking this seriously? Who are we lying to?

There are people who are far less transparent about sharing their work in progress art. They may have good reasons for this. The best reason is that external validation can be a distraction (think back to the border wall analogy). This confuses you. You think they are able just to produce genius like that kid sitting next to you in middle school who shows up for the test without studying and aces it.

You see the outputs and try to mimic it. Apple has beautiful design so let me just try to sprinkle some parmesan cheese CRAFT onto my life. Wrong. Will not work. Like will not sustainably work. Not an equation. Not a process. Will come out cheap.

You think that is learning. You think that the kid who passed the test was learning. Wrong. All they learned was how to NOT WORK HARD.

But again that is the wrong learning. It is not even a learning. It is false. Everyone has a process. Everyone has scratch work. It often gets thrown away. It often is not made explicit. But everyone has a cycle they go through to problem solve. Everyone relies on that motion and muscle.

Because the root thing here is that all that matters is your ability to work hard. That is the great equalizer. If you get enough shots up, you will win. Period.

It is cool when we get a peek at the process, especially of the people who really really get it. When we get to see the throw-aways. When we get to see the misses. The mistakes. The getting of the shots up before they all start going in.

One hit wonders is not a thing. It is really marketing. Pretty good marketing. But should not be inspiring because it is myth. No one is a one hit wonder. I do not attribute any skill to winning the lottery. I mean I am not like jealous of the process people took to winning the lottery. I would never ask them for advice.

So then why do I look at lottery winners and expect them to be able to win the lottery over and over. Maybe it is worth telling myself yes people do win micro lotteries. Like the world looks random if you look at it on a short enough time horizon. Could be a year. A A week. A day. One event.

But let’s look over longer time periods. Once you do that. You see Kobe. You see that genius only gets you so far. I mean if you could combine Genius with GETTING SHOTS up. Holy that is magical.

I would bet on the person getting shots up. The 10,000 hours type of stuff. Over the standalone genius any day. They are playing different sports in ways but also the person getting shots up—that person has a far more deterministic process to reaching success.


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