Monday, July 19, 2010

Doing Anything Great Today?

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770 –1831) was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism and a major proponent of dialectic discourse (meaning: let’s argue). His account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Marxism.

You going to do anything “great’ today? Before you try for ‘great’, start with ‘average’ – master that first and then work your way up to “great”. Knowing how to do the things you do at an ‘average’ level means you understand the basics. From there you can begin to learn the nuances and shortcuts that come with practice and familiarity, and then build your skills and confidence. Don’t make ‘perfect’ your goal because ‘perfect’ is often the enemy of progress; being ‘average’ and then getting ‘great’ at anything is a worthy goal. So doing something ‘great’ today would be pretty special. The way to reach that level is with guts, focus, determination, inspiration, and perspiration, and, of course, passion. Passion is that extra spark that makes your feet move, your fingers tingle, your senses come alive and your heart sing. See if you can ignite a spark like that, and then try to passionately accomplish something ‘great’ today!

The Heart of the Absolute Principle

“Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” Woodrow Wilson

As President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson was responsible for the passage of many social and economic reforms. It was during his second term that the 19th Amendment was passed, guaranteeing all women the right to vote. It was also during his second term that the League of Nations, for which he sacrificed so much, failed to be ratified by Congress.

Do you believe in self-sacrifice? It seems as though this type of behavior and concept are out of vogue these days: read the papers and tabloids, surf the Internet, watch television – it appears that most of the role models found there are more self-serving than self-sacrificing. Is it them, or is it the rest of us that put those people on pedestals and in spotlights? What happened to those heroes who challenged us to give more back to our communities than we took from them? Where are the leaders who challenged us to think more about others than we do about ourselves? Truth be told, these current faces in the tabloids don’t really inspire us to greater lives and purposes; if that’s true then who are we going to follow and be loyal to? We all need someone and something to believe in, to be loyal to, and to sacrifice for. Start today to look for and find that something or someone worthy of your loyalty and self-sacrifice, and dedicate yourself to the principles for which they stand.

Teamwork + Intelligence = Championship

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan played basketball for Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. Ironically, he was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore. Instead of giving up after failing to make the team, Jordan used it to spur himself to greater achievements, practicing hour after hour on the court. The rest is history.

Are you prepared to win today? How often have you heard someone say “hire for attitude and teach for skills”? Companies are taking greater care these days to hire people with the right attitude; and because there are so many people looking for jobs today they can. It’s having people with the right attitude that helps companies and families and communities and clubs be more successful and effective. For sure, talent helps, but we all know that there’s more to it than that – people working together, sharing a common vision and goals, having a great play book, using their skills intelligently and being inspired by great leaders – these are the other elements, when mixed with the right attitude, that lead groups beyond success. This is how you win championships, move from good to great, and become the best at what you do. So remember: if you want to be and be seen as the best today, work with others, work smart, and have a great attitude. Just do it!

Winners Never Quit

“A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up. It's all a matter of pride. “ Nancy Lopez

Nancy Lopez (born January 6, 1957) is an American professional golfer. She became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1977 and won 48 LPGA Tour events during her LPGA career, including three major championships. She knew how to win.

How do you compete in the game of life? Lots of people don’t like competing in organized sports for lots of reasons, the main one being that they don’t want others to see them lose. Of course losing doesn’t mean you made a mistake or quit or didn’t care enough about winning. Losing and winning are both part of living, and how you do both says a lot about who you are.

There’s a line in an Alison Krause song titled The Lucky One: “ to you the next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing”; maybe that’s the way we need to look at things. Because the lessons we learn from everything we do all add up to who we are. When those lessons are learned from losses – whether caused by bad breaks, or the fact that others were more prepared, or luckier, or they were just the better player that time – you should use them to learn how to be smarter and better the next time.

In the end, the real competition is with yourself – use it to find reasons and ways to win. Be proud of everything you do and everything you learn, and let that pride be your guide.

A Champion's Heart

“Heart in champions has to do with the depth of your motivation and how well your mind and body react to pressure.” Bill Russell

William Felton "Bill" Russell (born February 12, 1934) is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A five-time winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and a twelve-time All-Star, Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA Championships during Russell's thirteen-year career. He has the heart of a champion.

The Celtics again played the Lakers for the Championship this year and the winners were the ones with the greater depth of motivation. In the 7th game of a 7 game series there’s a lot of pressure on both mind and body, and the Lakers won because they were more deeply motivated throughout the whole game. You probably aren’t playing for a championship today, but what you’re doing is no less important to you and those around you. At work, home or play, you should always try to be your best: to work harder than expected, to produce more that is needed, to care more than anyone else, to never give up until the game is over. That’s how you set the standards for others to follow and create the experiences that others want. Losing is not nearly as much fun as winning, so we should always try to be winners. Don’t let today go by without showing that you have the heart of a champion.