At the time of writing LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers lead the Indiana Pacers 1-0 in the NBA Finals with the man himself contributing 24 points to his teams tally in that game.
In the 38 year old, the Lakers have one of the greatest players in the history of the sport in their ranks and as a result of that, will feel more than capable of winning a first NBA Championship since 2020.
Leaving the result of the NBA Championship to one side though, what is it that makes LeBron James such an elite level performer? How has he remained consistent throughout a two decade career?
What makes him different from other supremely talented athletes? Read on to find out everything you need to know about LeBron James’ unique mindset.
The Dichotomy of Control
LeBron James is the man that basketball fans pick in their NBA player props every week because of his consistency across on the court, a consistency he maintains by embodying an 2000 year old theory from philosophy.
The Dichotomy of Control (DOC) is a theory that was first explored by the ancient Stoics with Epictetus explaining:
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are external not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.”
The guiding principle behind the DOC is that happiness in life will be found by discarding our worries about the things outside of our control and improving those things within our control. LeBron James is an expert practitioner of this theory.
He does not care what pundits, fellow players, newspapers, critics or anyone says about him and his performances, whether that be good or bad. All he cares about is his own game and improving in every area that he can.
This is why, unlike other top stars, LeBron’s career has not followed a trajectory of repeated peaks and troughs.
An interesting thing that is touched upon at the beginning of that clip is how LeBron James handles pressure. Does he feel the magnitude of every shot? Does he doubt himself and buckle under the weight of pressure? No.
No, because he has an almost indestructible sense of confidence in his own ability. There might be plenty of you reading this who think that the level of confidence that LeBron has is something he must have been born with, but that isn’t the case.
Confidence is something that anyone can build, but it needs to be done deliberately and methodically. A great way in which to build confidence is by having a mental cookie jar of your achievements and moments where you have overcome adversity.
LeBron alludes to this as you can tell that his confidence comes from him knowing that he is one of the greatest to have ever played the game. From knowing that 9 times out of 10 he chooses the best option on the court.
Whilst it might seem natural for someone so talented to have that level of confidence, we would point you in the direction of a number of other supremely talented athletes that crumble under pressure and struggle with self-doubt.
LeBron doesn’t and that’s not just because he is an elite athlete, but it’s because he has an elite mindset geared towards building unshakeable confidence.
LeBron James does not concern himself with winning just one more NBA Championship or getting just two more MVP awards. LeBron James concerns himself with being the best that he can be hour after hour, day after day, season after season.
In doing that he knows that NBA Championships and MVP awards will follow. If he were to take the other attitude and gear himself toward goals, there would be huge downturns in his form every time he achieved something great.
The fact that his career has been absent of moments like this highlights that James’ whole mental outlook is geared more toward the process and the journey rather than the destination. Does that mean that he won’t be thinking about beating the Pacers and winning another Championship? No.
What it does mean is that he’ll be focusing on doing the right things consistently, in training and on the court with the quiet confidence that doing so will ultimately reap its own reward.