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Beating the Odds

The Best New Year’s Resolution

This time of year brings gifts, and a real gift showed up today in the form of a quote.

It comes from the book “The Only Thing That Matters” by Neale Donald Walsch, and it goes like this: “98% of the world’s people are spending 98% of their time on things that don’t matter.”

Test that quote against your own life, and see if it isn’t true. We regret the past and worry about the future. We think about things like status and comfort. Things that are important crowd out the things that are vital. No matter how we may try, we can’t keep our focus on what really matters.

If you want a 2014 to remember, you must change this way of living. You must do only two things: First, identify what you must do. Second, make sure you do it.

Pick out the one thing that would make the biggest difference in your life. Maybe it’s practice, or health, or study, or sobriety, or career, or nutrition. Maybe it’s perseverance, or humility, or focus. If you don’t know, ask a trusted friend.

I got this idea of two essential things from my father-in-law, who built the navigation system on the first lunar lander. At the height of the space race, he had a heart attack. The doctor told him to eat an orange every day. That’s what my father-in-law did. He ate an orange every day. He returned to health and built the navigation system, enabling man to land on the room — the technological miracle of the 20th century.

It all happened because the doctor identified what was important, and my father-in-law made sure it got done. You can read more about him in my book “The Improvement Factor.”

Greatness comes from this ability to focus on what’s essential. When asked if he kept a notebook to write down his ideas, Albert Einstein answered, “Ideas? I’ve only had one idea.”

But that one idea was the Theory of Relativity. Not too bad.

Football coach Vince Lombardi became a legend with his many championships, including two Super Bowls. He insisted football came down to just two things: blocking and tackling.

You get the idea.

As for me, I hope to spend my 2014 doing service. Service to my family, service to my athletes, service to my profession as a coach.

Happy New Year!


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