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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

LADDER OF SUCCESS (PART III): WORK ETHIC

The following comes from a book that I started a few years back and have yet to finish. This is an excerpt from the chapter titled "Prepare and Compete."

CLIMBING THE LADDER OF SUCCESS

The second rung in the ladder is WORK ETHIC. It takes no talent to work – just a great deal of determination. Still, there have been a lot of talented players that have fallen short of reaching their potential because they lacked the commitment necessary to improve their game. Each year we give our players the following passout.

THE MOST VALUABLE THING IN THE WORLD

I am the most desirable thing in life. Without me no one can be healthy, happy or useful...without me, the hidden wealth and vast resources of this earth would have no value.

Men and women who try to get along without me are characterless, selfish, undeveloped, useless, and unprofitable members of society.

I am behind every fortune, every art and science, every achievement, every triumph of man.

Rich men and poor men alike often try to find substitutes for me, hoping thereby to secure a larger measure of happiness, peace and satisfaction, but they are always bitterly disappointed. Instead of gain, every substitute for me brings them loss.

As the creator is greater than the creature, so I am greater than wealth, power, fame, learning, or any other acquired possession or quality of man, because I am the source from which he acquired them.

I am WORK!

-Anonymous

Without question, if you are unwilling to work, it matters not how much talent you have or how great the coaching you receive. If you are unwilling to work, opportunities will pass you by. The absolute greatest are always linked to their work ethic – and we aren’t just talking about basketball players. In any field of endeavor, you must work on a continual basis if you want to stay moving in a positive direction. While Michael Jordan was immensely talented, it was his work ethic that separated him from the rest of the NBA. It was obvious that he fully understood the importance of work when he said:

“I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things halfheartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect halfhearted results. That’s why I approached practices the same way I approached games.”

Jerry Rice is to football what Michael Jordan is to basketball. He is simply considered to be the greatest to ever play the position of wide-receiver. Unlike Michael Jordan, he came from a small college into the NFL. To many, Rice is an ultra-talented receiver. But those close to him know better – they know all that he had to do to become the greatest. In his book, “Think Like A Champion,” Denver Bronco head coach Mike Shanahan wrote the following on Rice:

“Most people, for whatever reason, think natural ability is the most important power a person possesses. It’s not. People who achieve the highest level of success have an unbelievable work ethic, the desire to sacrifice. Everybody thinks Jerry Rice is the best receiver out there. He certainly is talented, but I guarantee you he’s not even close to being the most talented. He’s not the strongest or the fastest. Be he is the most determined. Jerry’s mind set was that nobody was going to work harder, prepare better, or sacrifice more. He convinced himself that he was going to outwork every receiver who came into the league relative to conditioning, lifting, studying — everything. He knew that people might not enjoy the practice, but you can’t get to be the best without. Everyday during the off-season, Jerry would be up at 6:00 AM going through his strenuous stretching drills. He would run seven 5-yard shuttles, which he called “stop and go’s,” and fourteen more 40-yard dashes up and down the field. Then he would line up fluorescent orange cones across the field and weave in and out of each one six times at full speed, working on his acceleration and cutting ability. When he finished with the cones, he would run six more 40-yard dashes, and then 20-yard patterns until he was flat-out exhausted. Then he would lift weights in as quick a rotation as possible, no resting. Bench presses, seated bench presses, incline bench press, power lifts, dumbbell curls with increasing weights. I get tired just writing about it. It didn’t take me long to understand why every time we got to the fourth quarter of a game, while most of the players were slowing down, Jerry could run as fast as he did on the first play of the game. On the days he trained, Jerry would cap off his physical work with mental work. He would immerse himself in a game film of the league’s top wide receivers, studying how they ran their routes and what moves they used to get open. It was amazing to me how he had so many of the all-time records, and he was still working harder than anybody. It would have been so easy for him to be spending that time relaxing at the mall or on the golf course. But Jerry was sacrificing his leisure time to be considered the greatest wide receiver of all time. The only way was the hard way, he believed. And eventually, even though you may think nobody notices your extra effort, somebody usually does. Your work will pay off tomorrow, a year from now, five years from now, you don’t know when. But it will!”