I’m pretty much done with Shoe Dog (which if you recall, I was very excited about reading). I’ve got less than 50 pages, which I want to save for tonight before bed.
(I will be wide awake right before bed. Then I’ll read 5 pages of a book and instantly, I’m beyond drowsy. Like clockwork.)
I really loved it. It’s exactly what I needed in this moment, lots of good vibes and inspiration for DONUTS.
One thing that struck me while reading was how little has changed since the 60s and 70s when it comes to building a business. Sure, we’ve got the Internet now, we’ve got iPhones, we’ve got Trump, we’ve got globalization and automation.
But honestly, not much has changed. The fundamentals have barely budged.
What made a great company then is still what makes a great company today.
And it started at the top. Phil Knight comes off as a genuine guy extolling the kinds of values we’re all into. But more importantly, it was the commitment to and the expression of those values that over the long term got Nike through some of its toughest battles.
All of which is supremely encouraging. That you can do stuff the right way and in doing so, it will pay off for you in the long run.
It’s also a story about outsiders who didn’t fit anywhere else. And so they built their own thing. That thing became Nike.
These were guys who went against the grain, who refused to conform, to assimilate. That energy was contagious. It’s ultimately what made Nike as a brand so compelling.
There’s a recurring quote by General Douglas MacArthur throughout the book:
You are remembered for the rules you break.
(Being an outsider is something we talked about recently.)
These are the dude’s memoirs so it’s going to be a little fantastical and a little sugarcoated, I’m sure. But the general vibe is of honesty and authenticity. It all rings true.
It rings true because Phil Knight always believed.
And as such, you do, too.
That’s one topic he brings up at one point. In Hawaii, he was selling encyclopedias door to door and later mutual funds, both of which he was horrible at. He’s not a natural salesman.
But he was great at selling shoes for some reason.
The reason was belief. He believed in what he was selling and that belief was infectious.
(Belief is also something we talked about recently.)
There aren’t too many days left in the week so I’m going to pick a quickie book this time around.
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I don’t hold self-help books in high regard.
But there is one that I swear by, one book that, to me, rises above the rest.
And I think that’s why this was the self-help book that finally got through to me. Because it’s not really about self-help. It’s about tennis and how to improve your tennis game, how to put yourself in a position to get better at tennis, to take it to the next level.
Because tennis is an extremely mental proposition. It’s just you out there, totally alone. You and that other guy. So it’s a total mind fuck, tennis. It’s all about confidence.
The thing is, tennis, in a sense, is a microcosm for life. And so this book ends up being a great universal template for walking through life with the right kind of mindset. The kind of mindset that allows you to take chances, that allows you to learn from failure, that allows you to effortlessly improve constantly as a human being.
Anyway, the dude who wrote the book, W. Timothy Gallwey, wrote a follow up at some point called The Inner Game of Work, which I bought on a whim but never got to reading.
I am getting into a solid rhythm with all my stuff lately in terms of work and health and relationships and what have you—so I figured now would be the perfect time to breeze through this little book and maybe up my daily work game a little bit.
If this book helps me with work at all like the first helped me with tennis, well, DONUTS is going to be popping off very soon, just you wait.
Speaking of tennis and stuff.
This past Sunday, Roger Federer won a record breaking, history making 8th Wimbledon (without losing a set, mind you), his 19th Grand Slam victory in all.
Truly the Greatest of All Time, huh?
He’s always been one of my favorite players, to my personal detriment.
Because I’ve always tried to emulate my favorite players.
The problem is that I’m not Roger Federer. If emulating the greatest player to ever live seems like some fool’s errand, it’s because it is!
To make a long story short, I’ve recently been trying to switch over to a more traditional forehand with a semi-western grip. That’s what Federer uses.
I’ve always been a little insecure about my forehand because it’s very extreme, it’s an extreme Western grip that I developed as a kid since I didn’t have proper training early on.
Still, instinctively, I developed into quite the weapon. My forehand, at least back in the day, had some serious heat.
And yet, I was insecure because it was different. It wasn’t perfect like Roger’s.
Even this summer, I was thinking about changing it. Essentially changing up my life’s work.
But recently, I’ve been sort of realizing that I just need to be me. That I just need to fully be myself.
And that comes to my forehand, too.
That’s sort of the crazy thing about all this.
My forehand had been fine. It was solid.
But after this little switch flicked on in my head, that it was OK for me to be me, to have this crazy ass forehand—the thing just exploded.
It’s like we suddenly unleashed the beast.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, really, I’m hitting the biggest forehand I’ve ever hit!
Just wailing the ball.
Twenty minutes later, I hit the ball so hard, with so much whip, so much wrist, I popped my strings.
All because I finally allowed myself to just… be.