My dad used Larry Bird as an example to teach me about habits when I was a kid. "Larry Legend" is known as one of the greatest professional basketball players, but he wasn't known for being the most athletically talented player. Nobody would have described Larry as "graceful" on the basketball court. Yet, despite his limited natural athletic ability, he led the Boston Celtics to three world championships and remains one of the best players of all time. How did he do it?
It was Larry's habits—his relentless dedication to practice and to improve his game. Bird was one of the most consistent free-throw shooters in the history of the NBA. Growing up, his habit was to practice five hundred free-throw shots every morning before school. With that kind of discipline, Larry made the most of his God-given talents and kicked the butts of some of the most "gifted" players on the court.
Like Larry Bird, you can condition your automatic and unconscious response to be those of a developed champion. This chapter is about choosing to make up for what you lack in innate ability with discipline, hard work and good habits. It's about becoming a creature of champion habits.
With enough practice and repetition, any behavior, good or bad, becomes automatic over time. That means that even though we developed most of our habits unconsciously (by modeling our parents, responding to environmental or cultural associations, or creating coping mechanisms), we can consciously decide to change them. It stands to reason that since you learned every habit you have, you can also unlearn the ones that aren't serving you well.