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Want to be the best? It's not easy.

Ever wake up with the belief that you could be the best at your job, sport or hobby if only you applied yourself a little bit more? Youd be right. Or so reports a new book called Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Elseby Jon Gordon Jr.
Think about this: the difference between a .250 hitter and a .350 hitter in baseball is less than two hits a week on average. That miniscule increase turns an also-ran into an all-star. Or consider the NHL goalie. A .900 save percentage mark is considered the must-reach benchmark, but the real difference between, say, Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas and the disappointing Vessa Toskala works out to just over an extra save per game.
The same principle, says Gordon, applies to managing a company such as giant retailer Walmart. Its not just the low prices. Its the fact that they do 100 things 10% better than everyone else, he says. That 10% may not seem like much, but it puts Walmart miles ahead of the competition.
Theres no secret formula, argues Gordonwho has worked with the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Campbell Soup, among othersjust a willingness to pay the price that greatness requires. Top players know what they want and they want it more than their competitors. As a result, they have more focus, dedication and commitment to the task at hand and that leads to more consistency and better results.
The idea that there is a huge gap between the best and the rest is just one of six myths that Gordon explodes in his book. Another biggie is that top performers were born that way. They somehow came out with an innate ability to succeed. But, says Gordon, people actually achieve greatness through hard work and focusing on the little fundamentals of their particular job until they are mastered.
And the best dont stop there, because theres always a new situation that will require their next great performance. The idea that successful athletes or execs feel no fear just isnt true. They can be afraid, but theyve learned to overcome it. In other words, the cream rises to the top when the heat is on precisely because the heat is on. They dont run from situations where failure could be catastrophic; they run to it. The best define the moment rather than letting the moment define them, says Gordon.
If anything, great players and teams fear success more than failure, because success can lead to complacency. If you want to be the best at what you do, never allow yourself to rest on your laurels, Gordon adds. If you want to be the bestto continue to be the bestforget past glories. Focus on growing, improving and innovating today. It wont be easy, but it will be worth it.