Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

Achievement v Winning

January 23, 2009

Is winning the same thing as high achievement?  Ask the girls at The Dallas Academy in Texas.

The Dallas Academy’s girls basketball team lost to The Covenant School 100-0.  According to the APspectators and an assistant coach were cheering wildly as their team edged closer to 100 points.”

How did The Dallas Academy Girl’s handle their trouncing?  “Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing,” said Shelby Hyatt, a freshman on the team. “Keep trying, and it’s going to be OK.”

That’s a statement by a high achiever no matter what the score.

The Covenant School officials have recognized their lack of sportsmanship.  “In the statement on the Covenant Web site, Queal said the game “does not reflect a Christ-like and honorable approach to competition. We humbly apologize for our actions and seek the forgiveness of Dallas Academy, TAPPS and our community.”  They have asked league officials to declare the game a forfeit.  A very classy act.

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment.  I get that.  But to be truly above average it takes more than performance.  It takes character.  Character is to admit you were wrong and to try to fix it.  Character also looks like this:

At a shootaround Thursday, several Dallas Academy players said they were frustrated during the game but felt it was a learning opportunity.”

Great job girls!

Right Side of the Bell Curve

January 14, 2009

I was talking with a friend of mine recently about his son who is currently serving in the US Army in Iraq while his daughter-in-law is living with them in their home until her husband returns.  My friend told me his son was well protected in a backstage area, his spirit was upbeat, and he is coming home soon.

What struck me in particular was the communication my friend had with his son.  He commented, “It’s a strange world we live in,” and said he talked to him all the time.  In fact the son and his wife spoke a couple of hours each night.

Of course all this takes place online.  I thought about a story my grandmother told me.  My grandfather was in the Army when World War II broke out.  He left in 1942 and she saw him again in 1945.  There were of course frequent letters and an occasional phone call, but for the most part they were separated for three years.  During one four month stretch she had no confirmation of a rumor that the Queen Mary had been sunk on the way to Australia.  She knew her husband was on the ship and for months at a time she didn’t know if he was alive or not.

But it isn’t even just the difference between today and 60 years ago.  Even the soldiers of Desert Storm didn’t have the access to home that the soldiers of today do.

The way technology is changing the world is increasing exponentially.  For those under say 30-years-old, it may seem normal and it may not be as dramatic as for those over 30.  But, just wait a few years.

If you’re going to stay on the right side of the bell (at the high end of the bell curve) you better be on top of it.  You better be paying attention.  Technology isn’t for the geeks or engineers; its for the high achiever and the rock star performer, whether your in the field or not.  It’s for the average guy if you want to stay at least average.

Pineapple Express

August 13, 2008

Seth Rogan wrote his stoner, adventure-comedy Pineapple Express years ago.  No one was interested.  Since then he’s had breakout hits with The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad.  So, when he shopped the script again, with very few changes, studios were ready and willing to pay an estimated $25 million.

Very often success breeds success.  The failure to find support for an idea or a project doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad one, and pursuing success in something, even if it isn’t your ultimate goal, is often worth it because of the doors that open.

So far Pineapple Express has grossed just over $40 million.

Passion v Success

July 16, 2008

Two thoughts that I heard others express have been rolling around in my head and heart over the last couple of days.  The first was something I heard Adam Carolla say.  He was talking about The Two Coreys, a reality show about a couple of child stars from the 80’s who are struggling to recapture the work they had when they were young, sometimes turning to drugs to overcome the despair of lost opportunities.

I’ll try to express Carolla’s thoughts as best as I can remember.  The appearance of the clips he played was that the drugs had ended the careers of one or both of these men and that if they could get off drugs they’d have a shot at returning to their earlier success.  Carolla didn’t think that was it.  He talked about the often expressed view of former child stars that they have been type cast based on past performances.  He didn’t think that was it.  Instead, it was a lack of talent that kept them from succeeding.

A child star often wins “the cosmic lottery” and is the right person for the time and place of their success.  But when that time and place is over it’s up to them whether they can maintain it.  Carolla talked about Johnny Depp and George Clooney, both successes early in life but neither stuck in a typecast because they both had great talent.

And, if you have great talent the other key is hard work.  He pointed to Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel who both created something that was uniquely theirs and worked really hard to get it.

But, if you don’t have great talent and you don’t work really hard at it, you may have one time success but it isn’t going to last and you shouldn’t expect it to.

My thought was what about the average guy who doesn’t win the cosmic lottery?  Does that mean he’ll never have success?  Does everyone have great talent at something?

The other comment that I heard was from Erwin MacManus at Mosaic.  He was doing a Q & A with people at the gathering as part of a series on wisdom.  One young lady asked about finding your passion, living a fully engaged life and success.  She asked, “What if you’re working really hard, for years, at what you love but things never go the way you thought they would?  Do you just keep going?”

Erwin explored the difference between passion and an end result we want.  He gave the example of a world class violinist.  Someone may have a passion to be a world class violinist but hates to practice.  They’re never going to reach their goal.  “The way you know you’re living out the right passion is that you love the discipline that brings greatness.  If you don’t love the discipline that brings greatness in that field you are pursuing the wrong passion.”

“What if you love the discipline?” the girl asked.

“If you love the discipline then even if you don’t get the ultimate end you will not have wasted your life because you will have fulfilled your passions.”

And I think that’s the answer for the average guy.  If you are an average guy who has a passion for acting then you will find opportunities to act whether or not you achieve fame, fortune or recognition.  Carolla is right.  It is talent and hard work that bring success (in a place where there is real opportunity anyway).  But MacManus is also right.  If you define success as external, the end dream, then it may be unrealistic and pursuit will bring despair.  But, if success to you means the act of pursuing your dream then trying is succeeding even if you are only average.