What is the difference between achieving greatness and being thought of as substandard? In honor of the start of baseball’s spring training, let’s make a sports analogy from a recent conversation that Steve and I had.
In 2012, Miguel Cabrera topped the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in the major leagues since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. He led his Detroit Tigers to an American League Championship and his team made it all the way to the World Series. A great accomplishment indeed.
On the other side, The Mendoza Line, named for one-time major league shortstop Mario Mendoza, describes a player whose batting average is at the threshold of inept hitting. The cutoff point is said to be .200 and, when a position player’s batting average falls below that level, the player is said to be “below the Mendoza Line.” Mendoza was a career sub-.200 hitter whose average frequently fell into the .180 to .199 range during any given season. His lack of consistent offense gave rise to the term. (To be fair, Mendoza was widely recognized by his peers for being a talented defensive player.)
The difference between achieving monumental and lasting professional greatness and being remembered as substandard at the major league level is a spread of a mere .130. Said simply, the distance between The Triple Crown and The Mendoza Line is just thirteen percent, or one-and-a-third hits, out of ten.
If I told you before this that being 13% better was the difference between being a super star and an also-ran, would you have believed me? You have evidence that indicates that being committed to personal and professional improvement will do just that.
Ask yourself: what do I need to do to be 13% better than I am today? Take a class? Read a book? Watch a video? Download a podcast? Then, take the wisdom and energy from all effort that and put it in place. Make a plan and stick to it. Ask people around you to support you with it. Monitor your results, and make changes to stay on track.
You may never be able to be perfect, but you can always be 13% better than you are right now.