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Monday, September 30, 2019

Fast Five Plus - Basketball: Winning in the Corridors

Our actions mirror our soul. Imperfection mars us. But we can change. Winning basketball games but treating people poorly is a losing strategy

Cliques form in schools - the nerds and the jocks, minorities, the 'rich kids', the "cool kids." In team sports, we need unity in the moment. Does a teammate need transportation, an assignment, help at school? Be their difference. 

Madeleine Blais sculpted In These Girls Hope Is a Muscle. This quote encapsulates a toxic team atmosphere, “She used to love it. She joined the team in the eighth grade, a year after Jamila. But now; now, she had to wonder. Jen admitted to herself she’d been angry a lot of the preceding season. Coach acted as if only the only person on the team was Jamila. So did the media, for that matter. It was the as if in the eyes of the world they were Jamila’s team, not the Amherst Hurricanes.” Jamila Wideman and Jen Pariseau waged a private war for attention and status. At that point, the game was about them not the team. And we've all seen that hubris and ugliness. 

Rivalries and envy are common, quintessential humanity. The rare player has the humility and character to share the ball and the credit. Humility isn't a part-time habit. Work to change ourselves and players.

Are you in the top 10 percent? Urban Meyer insisted OSU leaders drag players from the middle (80 percent) into the top by bringing a teammate to workouts. 

Humility says to think about yourself less not to think less of yourself. 

In the Washington corridors of power of World War II, master of logistics General George C. Marshall never pursued Command over the European theater because he understood the vitality of his strategic planning. Winning behind the scenes meant winning at the front lines. 

Win at home by appreciating and helping family. Win in the corridors by respecting teachers and treating schoolmates well. Win on the court as a giver. 

Lagniappe: via @BBallImmersion (traffic jam) 
Lagniappe 2: Learn from other sports. Don't be a distraction (From Mike Hebert, Thinking Volleyball)

Lagniappe 3: Resolve. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Basketball: What Would Dean Smith Do?

Exceptional Sapiens lead by example. Lincoln, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Churchill, and others led and served. How did Dean Smith decide? What would Dean Smith do? 

Dean Smith was a math major at Kansas. Understandably, he focused on stats like points per possession (advocating at least 0.85) and shooting percentage. But Smith was more than Stat Masterson. 

Great Scott. Smith didn't have to sign Charlie Scott as Carolina's first African-American scholarship player. But Smith helped launch Scott's career as an NBA champion, an NBA Hall of Famer, and an entrepreneur. 

Hanging in effigy. Smith wasn't an overnight success. He returned from an ACC road trip to find his likeness hanging in effigy on campus. He could have quit or lost the support of his players. But instead, they redoubled their efforts and Smith eventually won a pair of National Championships. 

Michael Jordan. Smith is famously the answer to the trivia, "who is the only man to hold Michael Jordan under twenty points per game?" But when Jordan sought advice about leaving college early, Smith supported him. Obviously, Jordan remaining at Carolina was in Smith's interests. Jordan said of Smith“If you talk to a guy who never got off the bench, he says the same thing I say. That’s what a father figure is really like – he never put one kid above the other." When players I've coached don't go to the local high school, I'm still their biggest fan after their family. 

Credit the reserves. Smith knew that stars get plenty of ink. He went out of his way in the media to acknowledge the winning contributions of reserves. Keeping everyone engaged, not just big contributors, marks strong leaders.

Shot selection. Smith sometimes conducted Carolina scoring with "shot selection scoring" awarding points based on shot selection. Layups were worth more than contested jumpers and turnovers counted against you. Carolina usually led the ACC in field goal percentage. No wonder...'do more of what works.'

Final tribute. Coach Smith believed in justice. Smith left a stipend to each former letterman so they had a night out on him. Smith believed in people, in sportsmanship, in winning 'the right way.' So ask ourselves, "what would Dean Smith do?" 

Lagniappe: "Plan your trade; trade your plan." via @Coach_DeMarco

I believe "dinner out" was no accident. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Basketball - Fast Four: What We Must Improve

In Upton Sinclair's classic The Jungle, the hero, Jurgis, faces unyielding obstacles to building a life for his family and himself. Over and over he returns to his theme, "I will work harder." That won't always work. Work smarter.

Establish an identity of togetherness, tempo, and toughness. Opponents can't enjoy seeing us on the schedule. Make it, "welcome to your nightmare." 

Restructure, refine, restate. How will we become our best? Avoid platitudes. Specify realistic paths. Be good at what we do a lot. Clarify and simplify. We're playing man defense in a developmental program. Pressure on, help away

1. Contain the ball. Nose on the ball. Move your feet. Hand discipline. Without containment, penetration forces help, rotation, and recovery. It creates speed or size mismatches, closeouts, and fouling. Win the one-on-one battles through aggression without fouling. It begins with mindset. 

2. Connect and communicate. A new season means rebuilding culture. We have to care more about each other and for each other. "Silent teams lose." Even great NBA team defenses make mistakes costing buckets of points EVERY game. Consistent talk begins in tryouts. 

3. Move the ball better. Reverse the ball, get paint touches, attack and force defensive errors. "Movement kills defenses." 

4. Get higher quality shots. The Carrilian principle applies, "the quality of the shot relates to the quality of passing." Take care of the ball and get our shots from our spots. Open 3s will be okay for those who can. We can't have box score heroes, shot hunters, or "my turn" shots. Turn the shot clock in your head off with Newell and Bilas rules. "Get more and better shots than our opponents" and "it's not your shot, it's our shot.

Lagniappe: "Statistics are for losers." Okay, bad teams have bad statistics. 

NCAA men's team assist to turnover ratios: Virginia won a title. Belmont was 27-6. Remember the musical Camelot, "if charity means giving, I give it to you." Don't give the ball away. 

Lagniappe 2: Become more. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Basketball: Leave Your Comfort Zone

"My name is on plenty of wrong papers." - Albert Einstein 

In Tribe of Mentors, Tim Ferriss asks Janna Levin about failure. "We discourage failure and by doing so we subtly discourage success."

Life overcomes a failure narrative. A child walks after falling on many tries. An Olympic gold medalist figure skater endures 20,000 falls. J.K. Rowling had her first Harry Potter manuscript rejected over a dozen times. Obstacles are the way. 

In medical training, we expressed it as "See one, do one, teach one." 

Challenge players to leave their comfort zone. Higher tempo, combination moves, advantage-disadvantage, and constraints in space and time all grow players. Becoming comfortable with discomfort means playing harder, faster, in dicier situations. It can mean scheduling better competition, especially on the road, and taking your lumps. 

For some players, it means "playing up" above their AAU age. For others, it means playing against your older brothers or your father. For many, it means playing the guys at the park, not with buddies. For the UCONN women, it's their nemesis, the men's team assembled to battle them daily. 

Drills like "Celtics 32" give players opportunity to establish their personal best and to compete against teammates (team best). Adding time constraint ups the difficulty. 

"Gauntlet" exposes players to four levels of pressure. Defenders stay in their area and offense must advance the ball. I usually limit ballhandlers to one or two dribbles per catch. Defenders rotate up and the offense becomes defense. 

We tell our story every day. Capture and expand on ideas. Elevate players. Stay humble. Beating on inferior competition reflects vanity. To raise others up, grow ourselves. 

Lagniappe: via @BBallImmersion (Diamond sets)...this might also be a fine drill. 
Lagniappe 2: Dean Smith run-and-jump via Coach Collins. Our young players were not ready to implement this last season. 

Lagniappe 3: We choose one or the other every day. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Basketball and Biology: Our House

According to Yuval Harari in Sapiens, the dawn of the Agricultural Age (circa 12,000 B.C.), the transformation from foraging to farming, changed humans' view of housing. 

Mud and stone replaced caves or sleeping under the stars and attachment to 'home' changed forever

Sports reflects society with campaigns of Protect the House, The House of Pain, and even throwbacks to The Jungle. Talk of escaping science and biology is cheap compared with actually succeeding at it. 

According to Harari, by the first century A.D. farmers (in dwellings) outnumbered foragers (clustered in remote areas like Australia), 250 million to one million. Protecting the house meant protection from the elements, neighbors, wild animals, and inconvenient guests like ants, roaches, spiders, and beetles. 

Good teams traverse a four-stage process - beating bad teams at home, bad teams on the road, good teams at home, and finally winning against good teams on the road. 

The top NBA clubs separate themselves by their ability to win on the road and the best win over three quarters of their home games. Unique advantages like altitude help explain Denver's home record...again reflecting biology. It's not psychological. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) decreases at higher altitudes. 

Not surprising, training at altitude improves exercise performance experimentally. 

How much advantage exists in NBA houses? Bettors care.

We can debate the effect of crowds, travel, officiating, familiarity (lighting, court conditions), and more, but most prefer playing at home. But cherish the special feeling to silencing the opponent's house with a dominating performance. In the Showtime documentary (2013), Alabama Hall of Fame guard John Hannah (1970-1972) said USC's dominance was so great that you could hear the vendors, "Coke, here." 

Lagniappe: Advantage-disadvantage is a core practice principle.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Basketball: Joy and Suffering

"Never be a child's last coach.

The best teams play basketball; unhappy teams work basketball. If basketball preparation, training, practice, and games mean suffering and distraction, then "something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

Design practice to build knowledge, improve decision-making, and grow skilled integration (vision, decision, execution). That doesn't mean drudgery. Pat Summitt's version of "Four Corners" (punitive running with trashcans in each corner to collect vomitus) has historical meaning but contemporary anathema. 

Director Ron Howard says, "the director is the keeper of the story." Everything we do and say (nobody's perfect) should advance the team's story. David Mamet says Hollywood comedy writers spend a career shaving syllables. And many authors, like James Patterson advise us to kill your darlings (favorite anecdotes, scenes, or drills) that don't push the story ahead. 

John Wooden preached, "never confuse activity with achievement." Brian McCormick calls some activities Fake Fundamentals. We can debate three-man-weave but there's no direct corollary within game play. Hours of defensive slides do less for defenders than a quicker hip turn and run. Neither NFL defensive backs nor cheetahs slide after their prey

Shared sacrifice toward worthy goals can be joyful. Sacrifice can mean more passing, fewer minutes, taking charges, exchanging mediocre shots for better ones, and going to the floor. Sprinting back in transition shows up on the scoreboard not the scorebook. 

There's no joy as a verbal punching bag. There's no joy riding the pine alone during blowouts. There's no joy in caring about the team while not being cared for on the team. 

No child deserves cursing, racism, sexism, taunting, or sometimes harshest, neglect. If we can't separate coaching from child abuse, then it's time to look elsewhere.

Lagniappe: via @gchiesaohmy

Each quarter end brings a potential six point swing. #SituationalBasketball 

Lagniappe 2: @Coach_DeMarco
Actually made one of these from the top of the the key in high school (1973)... fortunately, my coach didn't suffer a stroke at seeing it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Fast Five - Motivation from the Moment Your Foot Hits the Floor

Which foot hits the floor first when you get out of bed? Knowing yourself begins there. High achievers have superior self-awareness and self-discipline

Dan Pink wrote Drive, emphasizing the triad of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. How badly do you want success? What price will you pay? Success demands sacrifice.  

When Kevin Durant wakes he asks himself, "how do I get better today?" 

Know what you want; execution narrows the gap between dreams and reality.

Create high performance expectations. Urban Meyer demands players full engagement once they "cross the red line" surrounding the OSU football field. From Above the Line

"There is a red line at the edge of our practice field. Every day before practice, I stand at that red line and watch guys take the field. The rule is that once they cross that red line, they are not only running – they are prepared to give all they’ve got. If I don’t like somebody’s demeanor – it could be body language, a look on a guy’s face, anything – I turn him around and point to the locker room. You better be ready to go; otherwise, don’t come on the practice field."

Inspiration and aspirational goals only translate through preparation and perspiration. What does our team need now? How is an activity improving you or your team? Can you measure it? 


Narrow the gap 
High performance expectations 
Respect the NOW 

Lagniappe: "Moneyball" shooting from @John_Leonzo
Lagniappe 2: FLAT BACK BOB from Pink's "Go away, come back" lyrics 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Basketball: Fast Five - Tips to Become the Player You Want to Be

"Everything you do is at the service of the brand." - Diane von Furstenberg

The brand is not the product. If you have no game, then you have no product. A better player gives better, shares more, is more. Your brand flows from your product. 

Charles Barkley asks players, "What is your NBA talent?" But at every level, ask yourself, "what makes me special as a player? What value do I add?" 

Maybe at that moment, you don't have special size, athleticism, or skill. Get better. 

Differentiate yourself by improving your speed, strength, quickness, jumping ability, and skill. You own your mindset. 

Find mentors. Reach out. That could be parents, an older sibling, or a coach. Find teachers on the from Kevin Eastman, Drew Hanlen, Don Kelbick, Ganon Baker, Kirby Schepp, Mike MacKay, Collin Castellaw, Koran Godwin, Alan Stein, Dre Baldwin, and many others. 

Adopt a unified theme of training excellence, grow your 'product', establish a base for your basketball brand. 

Know whom you want to be. Become that player through intent and action. 

Lagniappe: Example of YouTube mentoring, Dre Baldwin

Lagniappe 2: Drew Hanlen - Form, Sink, Forward

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Double: Lessons Learned from a Hall of Fame Induction

I recently attended the Melrose High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction and dinner. Inductees shared a number of lessons, tinged with humor and pathos. Here are some highlights. 

(photo by Steve Karampalas)

The remarkable rise of young women standouts was on display, as Annalisa DeBari (second from left) and Olivia Downey (third from left) earned induction as high school stars and NCAA All-American track standouts. 

(photo by Steve Karampalas)

The third time's a charm. The 2012 girls volleyball team won a state title in their third appearance in the finals. 

Every inductee thanked parents, coaches, and teammates, without whose support their success would be impossible. 

87 year-old former Air Force and American Airlines pilot and hockey star John Titus led off remarking that he got to go first, probably because the Committee was concerned he might fall asleep if asked to speak later. He advised young people to "reach for the stars." 

Hoopster Jim Slattery recounted playing with a heavily-wrapped broken hand and scoring no points in the first half. On the way to the locker room at halftime, he was accosted by his father who grabbed him by the shirt. "Take off the freaking cast." He scored 23 points in the second half to spark victory. Listen to your parents

Multi-sport star Joe Mussleman recalled the wisdom of coaches who taught him the delicate balance between "composure and intensity." He also lamented the "lack of gratitude" that he had for his family as a youth and adolescent. 

Annalisa DeBari earned state championships in three sports during high school, team in volleyball and individual titles in gymnastics and track. She remembered suffering a laceration before a meet in college and being told she couldn't compete. Her mother came up and said, "It's only a superficial injury." She competed anyway. Toughness makes champions. Moms will not us off the hook. 

Swimmer and track star Henry Turner explained how his friend Joe and he built a fort all summer. His friend decided that burning it down was a good idea. Henry bolted and by the time he arrived home, his mother was waiting for him after a phone call. You're not fast enough to fool your parents

(2012 archive photo by Don Norris)

The 2012 volleyball team became the first girls' team locally to win a state championship after losing in the finals the prior season. Coach Scott Celli recounted how the team approached the season with only one goal, earning that title. Focus and work for what you truly want

All the inductees reminded the crowd to cherish the relationships with coaches and teammates. When the crowd noise fades, those memories endure. 

Basketball: Building a Brand Portfolio Isn't Easy

"Understand everything about the brand..." 

Diane von Furstenberg is known not only for her clothing but for her depth of brand equity and brand knowledge. Her MasterClass shares potent wisdom about branding. 

She acknowledges that wrap dresses launched her brand, but says many elements enter branding. She encourages young designer awareness of the following: 

Market research 
Business plan

Sport cycles through brand strength - loyalty generated through performance, personalities, and psychology. The New England Patriots promote The Patriot Way and "Do Your Job." Scandal tarnishes their six Super Bowl titles, the minimal competitive impact of SpyGate and DeflateGate and the malaise associated with Aaron Hernandez, Kraft celebrity peccadilloes, and the courtship and collapse of Antonio Brown. 

The Clippers look to eclipse the Lakers in LA. Billionaire Donald Sterling's racism and boorishness forced its sale to the effervescent billionaire Steve Ballmer. 

The NCAA wants its brand to reflect March Madness, coaching superstars, and the excitement surrounding college atmospherics. But corruption charges concerning bribery, money laundering, and wire fraud are rampant and ongoing. While the NCAA fills its coffers, players like UCONN's Shabazz Napier reported going to bed starving

Even the bluest of bluebloods are on the hot seat, including Kansas. It looks as though there's monkey business in the heartland. Bad branding...

And it's not just men's college basketball afflicted with problems. Abuse charges are widespread in the women's game. "Only 39 percent of women's basketball players "strongly agreed" that "my head coach can be trusted." Homophobia and sexual preference discrimination are the elephant in the room in women's college basketball. Among college players surveyed, "55 percent answered "true" when asked if sexual orientation is an underlying topic of conversation with college recruiters."

As we're perched on the precipice of the 2019-2020 basketball season, ask ourselves about our brand equity and how we can add value to our players and communities. 

Lagniappe: Ball movement, filling the corners, and opening the middle create opportunity for CSKA Moscow (via @HalfCourtHoops)

Championship trophies on display at the Melrose High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction yesterday (photo by Steve Karampalas) 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Basketball: Pyramids Under Construction

"Like the ancient Egyptians, most people dedicate their lives to building pyramids. It's just that the names, shapes, and sizes of the pyramids change from one culture to another." - James Clear Book Summary of Sapiens by Yuval Harari

Coaches change the natural order. Selection, organization, training, planning, and practice distort chaos into collaboration. 

Coaches constrain freedom and produce inequality. Society does, too. Will and Ariel Durant wrote in The Lessons of History, Inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilization.” Conquerors most often reward the conquered with extermination not equality. Many leaders work to consolidate power not cultivate excellence. 

We have a lifetime contract with ourselves to become more. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a good example. 

Successful coaches reinvent the upper half of pyramids, cultivating integration and excellence. Paths to potential cross the obstacle of esteem (ego) needs. We need core values of organizational excellence that are apparent, measurable, and desired by our community. 

Steve Kerr emphasizes mentors, mindset, and culture. Team cultures often struggle to bridge that gap. To understand culture, ask the twelfth person on the team not the star. And yet, superstar Kevin Durant described not feeling accepted. 

The past two seasons of the Boston Celtics exhibit the tension between youth and experience. During the playoffs of 2018, injuries to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward fostered opportunities for young players Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier. Their growth propelled the team to the conference finals. But the past season saw regression with the return of established stars, as unmet ego needs - minutes, shots, and prestige - created a "toxic environment." 

Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich asks players to "get over yourselves." It's not that easy with ego as the enemy. 

Several years ago, the hospital where I work had a young Environmental Services leader, Troy. Troy dressed impeccably, modeled excellence, and led by example. He'd throw on sweats and show his employees how to complete tasks. He seamlessly transitioned between the top to the mop. In a brief conversation, I remarked that I appreciated his work and knew that he wouldn't be in his current position long. Within a year, the rising star took a new position at another larger hospital. Cultivating excellence while willing to lose stars is a constant challenge.  

Don't forget to edit your "mood board" continually. High performance is no accident. 

Lagniappe: How does our action translate to team and personal success? This corresponds to the recent lesson of the EPITAPH TEST

Friday, September 20, 2019

Basketball: Heartbreak

Matt Haig wrote that every story "is about someone searching for something." Sports gives us the highest highs and the lowest lows. 

When we care about someone or something, loss creates disappointment, sadness, and sometimes depression. "Heartbreak is part of the game." Distinguish the heartbreak of disappointment from personal tragedy. 

Red Auerbach shared that his worst loss came as a private school coach, when, leading by one late in the game, a player threw a behind-the-back inbounds pass that was stolen and converted in the winning hoop. 

Everyone has a hierarchy of play:

1. Team wins, played well (contributed to success).
2. Team wins, played poorly (bad win).
3. Team loses, played well (good loss).
4. Team loses, played poorly (I own this).

Sherri Coale shared a story about a player who wasn't happy unless she was scoring. Sometimes there's a heartbreaking reality behind the scenes. 

One person's heartbreak is another's joy. And heartbreak isn't always losing games. 

Billy Rohr would only win two more games in his career. 

Exhilaration for Celtics fans was tragedy for Philadelphia. 

Dennis Eckersley says that some fans still taunt him about Kirk Gibson's walk-off homer. 

Detroit got heartbreak on a Bird steal and DJ layup. 

But the greatest heartbreak comes from human tragedy, like the deaths of Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, and Len Bias. Or the death of a parent or a child. Or serious illness or injury in a teammate. I had a teammate commit suicide in early adulthood. 

Do the right thing, support players and families. Blaming an individual player for a loss never makes the situation better. We're better than that. 

One of the books I've given most often to people is Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. Frankl shares the terrible truth of human cruelty during his captivity in Nazi death camps and how people cope under extreme adversity. I think it should be mandatory reading for high school students. 

Lagniappe: 2 on 2 shell. I'm not into "penalty running." We can condition within drills. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Basketball: Seven Deadly Sins, Revolutionary Offense, and More

Reality television brought The Deadliest Catch. What are the seven deadliest basketball sins

Pride. Pride, excessive belief in self, spawns the other sins. Pride is the parent of other sins. Pride appears in lack of preparation, lack of focus, and in stories like the Tortoise and the Hare. Pride is overconfidence becoming arrogance. Pride speaks to our good enough selves. Pride tells us that we don't have to trust the process, that we can "turn it on when we have to." 

Sloth. Sloth is laziness. High performance doesn't come without high effort. Doing your job means doing the work. Not knowing the playbook, not fighting for loose balls, not sprinting back in transition, not caring about teammates all manifest sloth. The player who professes, "I don't get paid to play defense" sins with sloth. 

Gluttony. "Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires." Chuck Daly addressed gluttony when he said, "every NBA player wants 48 - 48 minutes, 48 shots, 48 million (dollars). Gluttonous self sins against teamwork. It's a former Red Sox player off the record saying, "I got paid. That's all that matters." 

Lust. Lust is distraction by pleasure. Lust prioritizes pleasure and dismisses the pain needed through sacrifice. Lust appears with inadequate rest, dietary self-abuse, alcohol and drugs, in putting pleasure before performance. How many players could have been somebody but placed good times before good work. 

Avarice. Avarice puts the material above the ethereal. When we value an altar of stuff - houses, cars, watches, sycophants - over higher relationships, we sin against avarice. Avarice manifests when there is never enough, never enough publicity, never enough praise, never enough things. When we place resources above relationships and resourcefulness, we commit the sin of avarice. 

Envy. "The grass is always greener." Why can't we have what the other guy has? Envy tells us we need a better situation; we need more playing time, more respect, more love, more everything. Envy tells some parents their child must be the focus, the center of the team's universe. It's Don Meyer's "every parent would rather have his child win All-State over a State Championship." Envy sins against gratitude. "Want what you have." 

Wrath. Wrath strips away self-control. Wrath causes us to lose touch with reality, to seek vengeance over reason. Wrath deposes character. Wrath imposes emotion over quality decisions. "I don't get mad, I get even." Wrath builds a destructive platform impervious to others' feelings. 

Lagniappe: What are deadly basketball sins? They show up under the framework of not playing hard, playing smart, and playing together. 

1. Losing your defensive assignment. 
2. Being "lost in space" on either end of the floor. 
3. Lack of effort. It's a sprinting game, not a running game.
4. Taking bad shots, "my turn" shots, "shot turnovers." Turn the personal shot clock off.
5. Selfishness in any form, being an unwilling passer. 
6. Disrespecting the game, the officials, coaches, opponents, and teammates.
7. Dumb fouls. Good teams kill you at the foul line. 
8. Lack of toughness. Softness beats you every day. 

Lagniappe 2: Coach Daniel shares a basketball offense that scored twenty percent more points per possession with the same personnel. A hidden gem...

Lagniappe 3: The EPITAPH TEST. Can we find one profound idea today? In Tribe of Mentors, Tim Urban shares the Epitaph Test. Will we work on anything important enough, life-changing today that it belongs in our epitaph?