Lasting Lessons: No Excuses

     Life is not perfect, we all know this.  I recently came across an article titled “The Simple Brilliance of Bo Schembechler.”  Bo Schembechler, for those who do not know the history of college football, was the winningest Michigan football coach and one of the most well-respected coaches in all of college football along with  Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, Joe Paterno, Woody Hayes, and Bobby Bowden.  Why I wanted to share this article was not necessarily because it was of Michigan but because of the good lesson it teaches.  In the upcoming future I hope to read Bo’s Lasting Lessons, a book about leadership.

Here was the article written by Bob Marshall…

     “Some years ago I heard an audiotape by Bo Schembechler on Leadership. The story he told concerned the 1980 University of Michigan football team, Bo Schembechler (the coach), and Andy Cannavino (the co-captain/inside linebacker). This is what I remember of that message:

In 1980 the Michigan Wolverines football season started in tough fashion. After 3 games their record was one win and two losses. Not a good opening for one of the strongest football programs in the United States.

One day, one of the assistant coaches came in to Bo Schembechler’s office and mentioned that there was some complaining on the team. It was being said that Michigan practiced too long and hit too hard during those practices. The players also said that that was why the season was starting so poorly. Bo asked the Assistant who was making those comments. The Assistant said that many players were guilty, but that it was also coming from the team captain. Bo said, “Get him in here.”

Bo was not one to wait when problems occurred. Now the Captain, Andy Cannavino, was a big strong kid. He came into the office and Bo recounted what the Assistant had said. Andy admitted that he had indeed said those things.

At that point Bo said, “The University of Michigan has had a long and illustrious history. Since I have been here we have always had tough practices because football is a tough game. I would like you to tell the Captains of teams gone by that you think our practices are too long and that we hit too hard. I would like you to complain to them. Do you know what they would say to you?

They would tell you that you are a bad team captain, Andy Cannavino, and they would be right. On the field, you represent me. You are the coach on the field and you are letting me, your teammates and the whole program down.” At that point, with a tear flowing down his cheek, Andy Cannavino said, “I understand, Coach. There won’t be any more problems.”

And there weren’t. The team straightened themselves up. There was no more grumbling or complaining. The team finished the season by winning all of the rest of their games and playing, and winning, in the Rose Bowl – not something that the University of Michigan did all of the time. Andy Cannavino was acknowledged as the greatest team captain in Michigan’s history.

All of us can find reasons to complain. Life is not perfect.”

We all have times that we may feel lazy, tired, and unenthused, (more often than we’d like) but those are the times that can truly test your character.  Yup, I feel like I have these feelings happen more often than I’d like but I haven been slowly trying to make positive changes.  No excuses.  Nate Green, author of the free e-book The Hero Handbook (about how to pretty much be the man) is one that everyone should start reading (short/easy read), has one section on excuses and how to be heroes..

Where Are All The Heroes?

“It’s like most of us are in a state developmental limbo between school and supposed responsibility. (If you aren’t careful this “limbo” can go on until you die.) We’ve never taken the time to define what our values are, and all the old credibility indicators — graduating college, settling into a career, getting married, raising a family — have disappeared. What’s left is a gap most of us fill with apathy, bad booze, boredom, and shitty jobs. Consider this:

  •  College is leaving us tens of thousands of in debt and won’t guarantee a job.
  • Since 1970, the number of young adults moving back home has increased 50 percent. Nearly one in five twenty-somethings move back in with their parents at some point.

We don’t know what we’re working for. We don’t know what to expect. We don’t know what our lives should be like. So we blame the economy, our parents, our shitty luck, or other people. We should blame ourselves. Don’t have the body you want? Your fault. Working a job you don’t like? Your fault. Shitty grades in school? Your fault. Up to your eyeballs in debt? Your fault.  It’s all your fault. But this is actually great news. Because it’s your fault, you can take responsibility for it. And if you take responsibility for it, you can change it. Even if we have other parts of our lives figured out, most of us are likely neglecting other vital areas. Have a great body? How’s your financial situation? Making a ton of money? How are your relationships with your friends? Life of the party? Are you truly happy or are you just putting off the “real world”? The goal, mind you, isn’t to become complete. That’s impossible. The goal is to seek experience, fulfilment, and fun. The goal is to feel good about ourselves and the lives we lead. So let’s start there. It’s time to take control of your life and do what you want to do. It’s time to make your own luck. It’s time to become your own hero.”

Here is a great motivational video clip on about success by Will Smith

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