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Mark Cuban learned mantra about effort, practice from Dirk Nowitzki


Mark Cuban may have made his billions as an entrepreneur and investor — but he’s received some of his best advice from athletes.

One of his favorite mantras comes from Basketball Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, Cuban told GQ last month: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

It’s powerful, Cuban explained, because it applies to every field, from sports and sales to computer programming and creative writing. “Whatever it may be, you’ve got to keep doing it and doing it,” said Cuban, who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. “And it’s by effort. The more you do it, the better you get at it.”

Cuban carried that lesson into his professional and personal lives, and taught it to his three children — who “are so tired of hearing me say that,” he noted. For him, the mantra is shorthand for a longer message: Shortcuts are rarely worth it, and getting the little details right usually pays off.

“A lot of people, particularly in sports, but in life as well, they take the shortcuts always,” said Cuban. “And they don’t do the little things and pay attention to the small details that allow them to separate themselves or differentiate themselves.”

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Practice may not always make perfect, but it does lead to proficiency, multiple studies show

It’s even beneficial to keep repeating a practice or task after you’ve performed it perfectly, according to 2017 research from Brown University. Coined as “overlearning,” the repetition helps the newly minted skill “sink in,” making you more likely to show signs of mastery the next time you practice.

Cuban has previously spoken about the value of sheer effort, referring to it in June as “the one thing in life you can control.” To an extent, he’s been practicing it his entire life, particularly as an entrepreneur.

At age 12, he went door-to-door in his neighborhood near Pittsburgh, selling boxes of garage bags to save money for new sneakers. As a teenager, he sold stamps, partially to pay his way through college.

In his 20s, he started a software business called Microsolutions, which he sold to now-defunct CompuServe for $6 million in 1990. His next company, audio streaming service Broadcast.com, was acquired nine years later by Yahoo for $5.7 billion.

Cuban’s net worth is $6.15 billion, as of Friday, according to Bloomberg.

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