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What You Can Learn from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Improbable Comeback

After 52 long years without a professional sports championship, the basketball gods delivered the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to the city of Cleveland in historic fashion.

Down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, Cleveland faced the impossible task of dethroning the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, who also set the NBA record for most regular season wins with 73 (previously held by the 1996 Michael Jordan-led Bulls who won 72). With two of three games on the road in Oakland, everyone counted Cleveland out.

Breaking Down the Impossible Task

So how did Cleveland overturn a 3-1 deficit with zero margin of error? Here’s how:

  • They didn’t focus on how they would win the series. That’s overwhelming.
  • They didn’t focus on winning three straight games. That’s overwhelming.
  • They didn’t even focus on winning one game at at time. That’s overwhelming.

The Cavaliers focused on winning ONE QUARTER AT A TIME

That’s right. One quarter at a time. If Cleveland could outscore Golden State in every quarter over the course of 12 quarters, they could win the NBA title.

And that’s not overwhelming at all.

What About You?

What tasks are burying you right now? Which projects do you feel like you’re losing traction on? Call a timeout today, sit down, and break them down to their simplest parts. Instead of looking at how many days it will take to move a project, work on creating an hour-by-hour approach. Do 45 minutes of focused work with a 15 minute break in between. Then rinse and repeat with another 45-minute sprint. Over the course of a 6 hour day (assuming time for lunch, breaks, and minor interruptions), you’ve put in 4-1/2 concentrated hours on one project! What’s even better is that it won’t feel like it. It becomes a game, and games are…fun! Use an app like Sloth or Pomodoro Time to keep you on track. You’ll see progress immediately, morale will climb, and the energy that you thought you lost will be replenished.


Let’s be like the Cavaliers, gang. Let’s take our overwhelming goals and break them into bite-sized chunks. In doing so, we may find at the end of the week, we too will be dancing in the streets like the people of Cleveland because the work is done and the goods have been delivered.

Image: Getty Images