Shortly after I first arrived at college, my wrestling coach told my teammates and me that we would all be attending a freshman technique camp. It turned out to be something quite different than what I had expected. He didn’t teach us any advanced or esoteric method, but instead demonstrated the basics.
It was incredibly humbling. The fact that we were there in the first place, competing for a Division 1 program, meant that we had all demonstrated outstanding accomplishment. And now we were supposed to revisit the stuff we learned in peewee programs? It seemed insulting at first, but turned out to be one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned.
The truth is that in any endeavor, you are only as good as your fundamentals. While it’s easy to get enamored with grand strategies and fancy tactics, whether you succeed or fail is far more likely to depend on doing simple, basic things consistently well. In much the same way, I’ve found that simple rules can, if applied sensibly, help make you incredibly effective.
1. Play, “Hey Jude”
Paul McCartney wrote hundreds of songs in his career. Many were hits, but others were more obscure. One that was sure to please crowds was the classic “Hey Jude.” He first wrote the song in 1968, to comfort five-year old Julian Lennon during his parent’s divorce and I’m sure that over the years the former Beatle got tired of singing it. But he continued to perform it because he knew that’s what his fans wanted.
Clients often ask me whether I can create a new keynote or a workshop for them. Michael Port, a top coach in the speaking industry, explains why that is almost always a bad idea. Would you like a doctor to perform the same surgery on you that she has successfully done hundreds of times before, or try something different this time?
One of the things that has amazed me over the years, in myself and in others, is our urge to do something different for difference’s sake. Doing the same old thing time and time again gets boring, which is why as successful high school wrestlers we wanted to learn fancier techniques and didn’t focus on our fundamentals as we should have.