One of the greatest ice-hockey players of all time was Wayne Gretzky. He was not a much-sought-after player because he was smaller than most other team members. Considering that fact, it is ironic to me that he turned out to be perhaps the greatest player to ever take the ice.
When asked what the key to his success was, he simply stated, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” You see, he was always one step ahead of everyone else, not so much because of his size or his speed, but because of his habit of anticipation. When everyone else skated to where the puck had just been, he always skated to where he anticipated it was going next. That is such a simple concept, yet it seems that many other good ice-hockey players overlooked it.
When I first read the story about Wayne Gretzky, I wondered how he knew where the puck was going next. It turns out that his anticipation was oftentimes just a guess. Yet, because he was willing to take a chance, he would skate in the direction of the anticipated position of the puck and, more times than not, he was correct.
I have come to believe that life is a lot like that situation. We have to anticipate what will happen before it ever occurs. If we are wrong, then we usually are not hurt much by it. But, if we are right, we position ourselves to be better leaders in whatever we are seeking to accomplish. I have a friend who made over 4 million dollars in five days in online sales. He saw something others overlooked. I have another friend who noticed something in the personal growth and development industry that others had overlooked for years. Last year he made 31 million dollars! I realize money isn’t everything, but it is pretty close to oxygen!
Let me show you how to practice this Tip. Last night I noticed my gas tank was about half full. I was passing a gas station where the price was$1.99 a gallon. I didn’t need any gas, but that was a good price. I stopped and filled it up! This morning I passed a different gas station right down the street and noticed the price was $2.39 a gallon. I know that is not a big deal. But if I am not willing to see little opportunities do you really think I will be able to see big opportunities when they come along? You see, if you are faithful in little things you will be faithful in big things as well! That is just one example of what I am talking about.
If all of us could anticipate exactly what was going to happen in the future, that would be wonderful. We would be wealthy because we would invest in the right stocks. We would make money in real estate because we would buy low and sell high. We would become experts in business because we would know a customer’s need and fulfill it without the customer saying a word. We would become excellent spouses and parents because we would always be encouraging people to follow their dreams and try harder and work smarter in daily living. However, since it is impossible for us to do that, anticipation becomes the key. We can make “educated guesses” when we begin to look into situations and try to read them in a way that is helpful and appropriate for ourselves and others.
When Wayne Gretzky retired from professional hockey, many people were sad. He brought some magic to the game that might not be duplicated for years to come. I am not a specialist in understanding professional hockey, but I do know that Wayne Gretzky seemed to skate to the beat of a different drum. Now you know his secret. He was constantly thinking, “Where is the puck going next because that is the direction I am going to skate.” His anticipation ability made him one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
I want to encourage you to start anticipating and making some educated guesses in the areas in which you are involved this week. Even if you do not get things exactly right, you will be better off because you are developing the skill of anticipation. That will give you the added boost you need to be a leader who is learning and growing in every aspect of your life.
Put on your skates and take the ice. Anticipation is the key!
Tip: Anticipation is the key!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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