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Ben Simmons has emerged as one of the brightest young stars in the NBA. In 2018, he was elected Rookie of the Year. In 2019, he averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game, earning his first selection to the NBA All-Star game while helping lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a stellar playoff run. Unfortunately the team fell short of the Eastern Conference finals at the hands of the Toronto Raptor’s Kawhi Leonard and his huge buzzer beater to close the series and send the Sixers packing. Ben Simmons is one of the key players on his team, and at the young age of 22 he’s poised to be a star in the NBA for years to come.

Stardom doesn’t come without critics. The same people who praise you will be the ones to poke holes in your performance, which is fair because no one is perfect. While Ben Simmons is an asset on the court, analysts are quick to point out that his presence is not without flaw. They say his jump shot needs work, and his maturity needs even more work.

But who doesn’t have room for improvement? Chances are you can relate to Ben. No matter your profession, you’re competing with other professionals. You may not need to work on your jump shot, but it’s a safe bet that there are some skills you need to hone in order to increase your value as a professional. Undoubtedly, you’re working alongside and even competing with professionals who have been working in your field since you were in middle school. Naturally, it’ll take you time to catch up and move on from operating off of natural talent and into having more technical skills.

After being booted from the playoffs, Ben Simmons is doing what anyone who truly wants to excel would do. He’s working instead of taking a break. Recently, he announced that he will be competing for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup as a member of the Australian national team. Originally born in Melbourne, Ben Simmons is qualified to play for the country’s team. It’s the perfect opportunity for him to continue playing against world class athletes, and build on his talent during the NBA off-season.

It’s a sign of the maturity critics say he’s missing. Most 22-year-old millionaires with some time off would take the summer to enjoy themselves. As a pro athlete, there would undoubtedly be some working out and training in between, but he could’ve still elected to enjoy his summer until the 2019-2020 season. We can all take a valuable lesson from Ben’s actions. Days off don’t translate into dominance in your field. No one is saying to be a workaholic and to never enjoy the fruits of your labor. The point is, you need the presence of mind to understand when it’s time to lock in and access your next level of performance.

Maybe there are conferences you can attend, workshops you can participate in, or classes you can take to hit the fast forward button on your progression.  Do your due diligence in researching ways to create forward movement in your career. Your future and your value depend on it.

Check Your Ego: Ben Simmons & How to Increase Your Value was originally published on cassiuslife.com

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