Thursday, February 02, 2006

My Rant

I was at dinner last night with my girlfriend at a restaurant that I haven't been to before (they had the best Tuna Sashimi). It was crowded and we were seated at a table next to a big party.

Without trying, I could hear some of their conversations. I didn't mean to but I heard a gentleman talk about golfing. He said that he doesn't
keep score at all, doesn't know or care to know what his handicap is.
When he plays with others he doesn't compete with them, he just has 'fun'.
Then his wife (it seemed like his wife as far as I know) said that she
loves that her children's soccer games, that they don't keep score and
she feels that it is the best thing for them.

I'm not sure where you stand on this subject but it made me loose my appetite. Alright, I didn't loose my appetite but it did bother me.

What are we teaching the youth of today with that attitude? Does that man really not care how he plays?

First, those soccer kids where the referees aren't keeping score, the kids aren’t dumb, they know what the score is. But, why can't there
be a winner and loser? I love sports because they teach life skills.
Dedication, discipline, hard work, effort, team work, camaraderie, passion,
working under pressure, trying to out think your opponent, etc, all great
skills that carry over to life outside of sports.

Is it ok to teach our kids today that it doesn't matter if you win or lose?

Winning and losing happens everyday, at court, the stock market, job search, job advancement/displacement, etc., so why not start teaching
this at a younger age?

We all want our athletes to win and through practice, we prepare them to win. If you win, you take pride in the fact that you (your athletes)
were prepared and their hard work paid off.

But, more important then winning, we need to teach our athletes how to lose. Because no matter how great of a coach you are or how outstanding your athletes are, they will at some point lose.

As a parent, I’m sure there are those who want to shelter their kids from experiencing losing. Losing hurts, a lot, and it is a tough
emotion to deal with. As much as it hurts, you learn the same (I would
argue more) then you do by winning.

How do your athletes/kids take losing? Are they going to complain about it, cry that it wasn’t fair, get upset, congratulate the other
team because they were better on that day, use it as a tool to prepare
harder for next time? You will learn a lot about your athletes on how
they take a loss and then how they recover from it. And as a coach you
need to ‘help’ them learn from each loss.

Now what do kids get out of a game where there is no winner or loser? Exactly, nothing at all.

Would people watch the Super bowl if no one was keeping
score? (Would there be professional athletes if there were never winners
and losers?)

Would workers at a company work harder then the next person if they would get paid the same no matter what they did?

Would you study as hard for a class where the professor didn’t keep grades?

What if there were no valedictorians or solitarians and everyone just graduated and there were no class rank, everyone in the class no matter
what they did or how hard they worked (or didn’t work) graduated
at the same level because we didn’t want to hurt people’s
feelings by ranking them?

You are telling the kids that it doesn’t matter how hard they worked that everyone is on the same level so you don’t really need
to try or put in effort.

I don’t want my athletes to take for granted what they have and I always want them to strive to be better. I don’t care what their
skill level is, I want them to work hard to try and reach their full
potential. I also want them to know that they need to work to be the
best, it won’t be given to them.

If you win, no matter what it is, it proves something
to yourself and is a validation. If you lose, it also proves something
to yourself and it is a great lesson to take with you for next time.

OK, back to the husband who doesn’t keep score, this might not
seem that bad, but I have a problem with this mentality. How can you
do anything at all, and not ‘keep score’. Everything you
do is really a competition, maybe not against another person but with

The people who say that they don’t keep score when they golf, they don’t time their morning run, that don’t care how they
did on a test, aren’t worry about how much effort they put into
their job, etc (I’m sure you can add many more examples here),
they all scare me.

I believe these people are afraid of failure. If they keep score in golf and realize how bad they are, they will think poorly of themselves
and no body wants to do that. People would rather not know or not acknowledge
how bad they are at something. It’s easier to say you only put
enough effort in your job to get by, because if you get fired, you can
say that you didn’t try. But, if you admit that you actually care
and worked hard and got fired, then you failed and what does that make
you now?

Here’s the problem that I see. If they say they don’t care
how bad they are, they are immediately admitting defeat and give up.
If you don’t notice or acknowledge your weakness how can you improve?
I am using golf as an example but people with the mentality of ‘not
keeping score’ relate that thought process to other areas in their
lives. I can imagine that most people with that mentality are not people
who goal set, set deadlines for accomplishments or make contracts with
themselves to succeed.

Success starts form the inside out, so you need to identify certain issues to overcome them and become a stronger person. How can you feel
good about yourself if every time you are not good at something you just
shut it out or give up?

How many successful leaders do you know that aren’t competitive and don’t want to be the best at everything they do? I can’t
name one. Success is a certain attitude that you must have.

I just started playing golf last year and I admit that I am horrible. But I am not going to say that I am out there for the atmosphere and
I don’t care how I play. I love being outside and playing with
a group of friends, but with every shot I take I try hit the perfect
ball. It hasn’t happened often, but I am going to take lessons,
train and work hard so I can improve. I may never make it to the pro
tour but each time I am out there golfing, I am competing against myself
striving to be the best golfer I can be. Again it’s a mentality
that you should have and it should be apart of everything you do. I am
not afraid of failing because I have failed many times in my life and
will fail many more, but my intention is to always find a way to improve
no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.

I think we should all celebrate our accomplishments
and give ourselves credit for every goal we reach or stride we take to
make ourselves better.
We must first identify our problem areas (which can be tough to admit) & goals, and start on our path to success. We have to start somewhere.

I could go on but I will end it here with a quote from
Don Shula: 'Failure is successfully finding out what doesn't work'.

Sorry for the rant.

Get on the path to success:


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