If you are an international sports fan you may well have read about the retirement, after a twenty-year career, of LA Lakers Basketball star, Kobe Bryant. The significance of this can be captured in a simple infographic published in the LA Times (replicated below). An infographic is a representation of information or data. What I like about infographics is the ability to communicate complex subjects and vast amounts of data really easily, in few words. This particular image plots every single shot he took over his career, over 30,000 of them.
What’s great about it is the message it gives about being great at something. He missed more shots than he scored, making failure a key characteristic of his success. Just as we have areas of strength that increase our chances of doing well, so too does Kobe Bryant, as can be seen in the clusters of successful shots and along the centre line.
As we approach the end of the day, week or term, we will have a mixture of successes and failures; each one will help build and shape our development. How we deal with both will define our long-term success. Playing to our strengths is great, but sticking our neck out and shooting from somewhere new is how we get better. Dare I say, it is better to get some things wrong in order to get better at getting them right. The only way to become great at something is to practice.