student of the game

The very best performers in any endeavor are always students of the game, be it sales, business, personal health and wellness, personal wealth, or something else altogether.

Study the Fundamentals

The best performers in any endeavor spend a great deal of time studying the fundamentals. They read, study, and practice the basics. The best performers are willing to spend time on the plateaus, plugging away at the basics, even when it feels like they aren’t making any real progress.

All this work eventually results in a breakthrough, and the student of the game performs at a higher level, knowing that they are going to live on that plateau while they work towards their next breakthrough. How comfortable are you living on the plateau?

Poor performers often fall prey to the allure of shortcuts and get-results-fast pitches as a way to avoid mastering the fundamentals. They hate the plateau, and they hate having to read, study, and practice the basics. This isn’t about sales, but most salespeople don’t study sales, and so they never improve. They reach a plateau, and then they have the same year over and over again. Have you had the same year more than once when it comes to some area of your life?

Make Distinctions

The reading, the studying, and the practicing are what allow high performers to make distinctions. They start to notice things. They notice things about themselves, and they notice things about others. They start to see how tiny changes produce outsized results.

If you aren’t on the plateau practicing, you never make the distinctions. They’re invisible to you unless you spend time looking. But they are the key to performing at the highest level.

You can’t help the poor performer see the distinctions. Because they aren’t reading, studying, and practicing, the distinction is useless to them. They don’t understand it because they lack the context and because they can’t feel it themselves.

Teach and Learning

No one can teach you anything. You can only learn. But someone can facilitate your learning, and let’s agree to call this teaching.

The highest performers seek out teachers. They know that someone who has already had the experiences and made the distinctions can help them understand their own experiences and make their own distinctions. They’re excited about the prospect of someone facilitating their learning.

These high performers also learn by teaching others. The very act of sharing what you have learned takes your mastery to new levels. It means you have to think deeply about the how, what, and why something works. It means you have to help people discover how to see and feel the distinctions for themselves.

Are you reading and studying in the areas you most want to improve? Are you practicing, living on the plateaus long enough to make the necessary distinctions? Are you both learning and teaching?

Make this week the week that you commit to being a student of whatever game it is that you play!

Anthony Iannarino

P.S. If you’re going to be at Dreamforce this year, I will be speaking on October 15th at 11:30 AM with Mark Hunter. Send me a note if you’re going to be there. If you want a preview, sign up for this webinar on the Price – Value Equation on September 18th at 3:00 PM Eastern:


Contributor Anthony Lannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at and you can subscribe to his newsletter at