How are things working out for you?

March 9, 2015

“Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.” ― John Wooden

John WoodenJohn Wooden was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” as head coach at UCLA he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven in a row. Wooden was a master motivator as well as a masterful coach.

There are those who spend a good part of their life lamenting how things have turned out, as if they are somehow the target of some huge plot or the unfortunate recipient of inordinate amounts of bad luck. Others accept the cards that they are dealt and see if they can still make a winning hand out of them. The former embrace failure by finding a way to blame it all on someone or something else; the latter use failures as teachable moments in their lives from which they can learn and get better.

How do you approach life? Do you let temporary setbacks get you down or do they gloomy guyserve to motivate you to try harder the next time? Do you wallow in self-pity or marvel at how far you got or what you achieved before you were set back? Do you learn from those mistakes or failures or just cry about them? Are you about to give up on your dreams and goals? Wooden had a thought about that, too.  Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.

As one might expect, great athletic coaches often excel because they teach their players great advice for life; and that advice also helps their teams achieve great things. Often facing new daythe best advice is really almost intuitive, but we need someone to pull it out of the clutter of day-to-day living and hold it up in front of us over and over again. That’s what coach Wooden did for his teams. He was a simple, straightforward man who demanded the same things from his athletes. While others called him a wizard; he often took pains to deny that label and instead kept pointing back to the things that he believed in and taught his players. He lived by one of his own quotes – “if you’re true to yourself you’re going to be true to everyone else.” John Wooden was true to himself and to his players. He asked them to just give him their best and they did.

So, as we start a new week; is it time for you to reassess how things are working out for you and whether you are doing the best that you can with how things are working out? Are you giving it your best? Have you given up on your dreams or are they still out woman catching starthere behind that cloud that has temporarily darkened your sky? Are you being true to yourself or are you giving up on yourself?  It’s never too late to step back, reassess the situation and become even more resolute that you will achieve your dream. It’s time to summon up that little extra bit of courage, that spark of hope that keeps you going and fan it back into a flame. A final John Wooden quote might help get you going – Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

Have courage…persevere and make the best of things. It will all work out.

Never start over…

July 25, 2014

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog  (Seen in a Hallmark store) – “If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.”  Jack went on to write – I like to browse in Hallmark stores.  Some good Winning Words can be found there.  Another saying that relates to this one is by J.K. Rowling:  “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” 

I’ve written here before about perseverance – not giving up; but, I like the twist that this little saying that struggleJack found in a Hallmark store brings to the message. I think to many of us get all too used to starting all over again, which means that we gave up on something. Maybe it was a task or challenge that we had been given or put upon ourselves, perhaps something like losing weight or stopping a bad habit. Maybe it was more personal, like the seemingly never-ending search for Mr. (or Ms.) Right. In relationships it may become too easy to just give up on someone before you’ve really gotten to know them. Perhaps you are judging people too quickly or against a very shallow set of criteria.

I suppose that J.K. Rowling’s statement represents the extreme case – having reached rock bottom in life. I don’t think it’s necessary to go that far before making the decision to stop giving up on things so quickly or easily. One can become way too comfortable with failure. Failure is not our friend and readily accepting failure should not become a way of life. Seeing life’s temporary setbacks as just temporary is a start. Roadblocks do not stop the journey; they may require detours along the way, but one can go on and complete the trip. In many cases we have to make our own detours. We stop, learn from our mistakes (hopefully), and try a different path. We don’t have to start over because we never gave up.

greek manThe underlying thought to today’s quote goes back as far as recorded history, as evidenced by this saying from Epictetus, an ancient Greek philosopher –  “It’s so simple really: If you say you’re going to do something, do it.  If you start something, finish it.” 

Really, it’s that simple. Never give up and you’ll never have to start over. The good news for today is that it’s a Friday, so maybe you can hit the pause button for  the weekend – just don’t give up.