Mooloolaba Tri Athletes, Daren Mercer, Andy Roddick and the X-Factor (and me)

Mooloolaba Tri Athletes, Daren Mercer, Andy Roddick and the X-Factor (and me)

– By Paul Barrs –

A little while back I had the pleasure of being able to watch two of the worlds great tennis players, Andy Roddick and James Blake, obliterate their respective opponents. This was a real treat for me because while I’ve always loved the game, I’d never yet seen it live, upfront and so close.

However, a thought struck me sidelong in the face while watching those titans before me struggle for supremacy…

What was it that made them so different?

OK, yes, one was “better” than the other, sure. That’s the obvious. But I asked myself, did one practice ‘less’ than the other? Probably not. And while I don’t know it for certain, I’d be dead sure that they both put in the same amount of hours, the same number of drills and the same number of repetitions as the other. They’d be foolish not to.

So what was it that made them different? Why was it that these two players and others like them were so elevated in their abilities when others who had done the same amount of work had far less capability?

Could it be pure genetics? It’s a good question, but I think not.
As I was growing up I had the good fortune to know both of the Mercer brothers, Daren and Dean. I played soccer with them as kids, I talked with them in the street, but when we hit the pool together – they left me for dead. Both were Ironman champions. Both were world class athletes. Both ruled their respective classes for many years running; Daren I think it was for 7 years World Ironman Champion and Dean, now 40 years old is still in the top 10.

Both come from the same gene pool, both have had the same training program, yet both are clearly different in their abilities and though shame to say it, one is “better” than the other.

What is it that makes the difference?

Some time in the near future I’m going to have a shot at the Mooloolaba Triathalon. I’m doing my training now. I’m working my plan. BUt no matter how much I “give it my best” I know I’m not going to place top 100 – in fact, that’s not even my goal.

Why also is it that if either of these two men or if Mr. Blake or Mr. Roddick above were placed in the shoes of a homeless man that they would all unquestionably rise up and out of seemingly hopeless situations?

It’s because of the X-Factor. Have you heard of it before?

I first came across the mysterious element of this unknown X-factor about 15 years ago while doing some training with the Tom Hopkins Sales Masters program. About that time I was a good, but still suitably average sales person trying to make a living in the corporate world. But I’d hardly say I was exceptional.

[Sidebar: I want to stop you here for just a moment and bring you to pause – if you’re aware that Tom Hopkins is regarded as one of the world’s best ever sales trainers and that it was Him or His training that made the difference, don’t. Read on.]

Anyway, I did his training program and immersed myself in it for a number of years. Did my sales increase? Yes. But still they weren’t anything to ‘write home about’. However, it was during this time that Tom explained to me his understanding of what he called ‘the X-Factor’, that mysterious quality that all men and women at the top of the field have.

Sales trainers, motivational speakers and marketing managers since the late 70’s have been aware of it, but few have been able to quantify it and explain it in such away that it may be grasped.

However they all agree on a few things: (1) it’s not genetically inherent, (2) you can’t learn it, and (3) but it can be developed over time.

OK, how? How can you develop something that you’re not born with and cannot learn?

[Sidebar: Remember I said that it’s not genetic, meaning this X-Factor does not come to you through your parents.]

It comes to you through… YOU.

When you’re born you’re pretty much born with a blank slate as your mind is concerned. With exception only to a rare few, you have an incredible ability to think, reason and imagine. It is these qualities that set you apart from lower mammals and can bring the X-Factor into your life.

But you must use them.

You must learn “how” to think. You must learn “how” to reason, and you must learn “how” to imagine. Then, when these three qualities are developed and put into action… together… you add in the final mix to the masterpiece.


Thus the X-factor is nurtured in your life.

You’ve heard this before, “If nothing changes nothing changes”? Then believe also that if everything changes, everything does.

Is the X-factor already developing in your life? How can you tell? Firstly you would have noticed that (most likely) many years ago you had a deep inner desire burning for ‘more’. Not more things, but more… more you. You were more, more than you were doing, thinking, feeling etc. This is the calling of your ‘Greater Self’, desiring to be more.

The X-factor is what will help you to be that ‘more’.

How can you also grow and develop it more? You take time out to sit quietly and ‘be still’ (notice that as the X-Factor grows and develops more so do you). The X-Factor cannot be grown by will or desire; it is developed by letting go of the ties that bind us and by allowing the mind to ‘think, reason, and imagine’ and to do so without restraint.

And while in this article I can only give you a slight glimpse of what may possibly lie in store for you, I hope that it is enough to compel you to consider it further.

Ask yourself… what is it that is holding you back from the success that you so fully desire? Why is it that some guy or some girl over their can do the very same things that you are doing but while they explode into success, you are still left struggling?

Why? Because of the X-Factor, the power of their creative mind. What you do about that and whether you take steps to make change in that is entirely up to you.