Consider the difference between a professional baseball player with a 260 batting average and one with a 360 batting average. The 260 player will probably make the league minimum wage, possibly wander around the minors, likely be traded around from team to team. The 360 player has fame, a fan base, people looking for his rookie card; and also commands a salary ten times more than our 260-er.
But what is the difference between these two hitters really? The difference is one extra hit every ten times at bat.
That extra hit doesn’t even necessarily contribute to the scoreboard. A lead off hit followed by three strikeouts results in a net gain of no points for that inning. Yet that extra hit every ten times at bat is worth millions of dollars to the team.
The thing that you need to understand, is that just a small increase in performance compounds greatly over the course of time. If a baseball season were only ten games, the contribution of the 360 hitter wouldn’t be that significant. But since a baseball season is roughly 3000 games, that extra hit every ten times at bat, potentially leads to an extra hit every nine to twelve innings, which could lead to an extra victory every ten to fifteen games.
Full disclosure: I have no actual statistics to base these numbers on, but the theory is sound. In fact I’m not even sure how many games are in a baseball season. I could have probably looked it up in half the time it took me to explain my lack of research, but I’m not really a numbers guy anyway. I don’t even like baseball.
So in conclusion, if you wish to be a man or woman of excellence, you don’t have to be a superman or wonder woman. You just have to be slightly better than your competition over the long term. This is true in business, in sports, in entertainment. And if you are trying to improve yourself, concentrate on slight improvements, every day, over the course of time. You may not see the results immediately, but eventually, through persistent effort, you will push over that razor thin edge from middling to excellent.
Is there an area of your life where you would like to make the shift from average to excellent?