work

Career advice: Two sports quotes about work and talent

I realy like this quote from baseball pitcher Jason Marquis, talking about Tony LaRussa, Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals:

“One thing Tony (La Russa) always preached over there was execution and minimizing mental mistakes. You don’t have to have the most talented team to do that, and it doesn’t take the most talented team to win.”

In baseball and in work I think this is true. It’s similar to this quote from Mike Ditka:

“Effort without talent is a depressing situation....but talent without effort is a tragedy.”

Bruce Springsteen’s book, Born To Run

SI.com has a great quote from Bruce Springsteen’s book, Born To Run:

The band was part of a four-band showcase; one band would get the chance to move on and perhaps get a recording contract. The Jersey guys went third and thought they killed it. The fourth band, though not as energetic, was very good. Via “Born To Run:”

“They got the gig. We lost out. After the word came down, all the other guys were complaining we’d gotten ripped off. The guy running the joint didn’t know what he was doing, blah, blah, blah.”

That night, Springsteen reflected, sleeping on a couch in his transplanted parents’ home in the Bay Area. “My confidence was mildly shaken, and I had to make room for a rather unpleasant thought. We were not going to be the big dogs we were back in our little hometown. We were going to be one of the many very competent, very creative musical groups fighting over a very small bone. Reality check. I was good, very good, but maybe not quite as good or exceptional as I’d gotten used to people telling me, or as I thought … I was fast, but like the old gunslingers knew, there’s always somebody faster, and if you can do it better than me, you earn my respect and admiration, and you inspire me to work harder. I was not a natural genius. I would have to use every ounce of what was in me—my cunning, my musical skills, my showmanship, my intellect, my heart, my willingness—night after night, to push myself harder, to work with more intensity than the next guy just to survive untended in the world I lived in.”

“Shut your mouth, work hard”

“Shut your mouth, work extremely hard and be the first one in there, last one to leave, and to lead by example.”

Denver Broncos QB Chad Kelly, talking about the advice he got from his uncle, Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly.

I've seen a lot of my friends lose their passion and end up in a rut alvin June 5, 2017 - 8:36am

“I’ve seen a lot of my friends lose their passion and end up in a rut, afraid to take a chance. ‘Night Moves’ is about romantic passion, but ‘Ship of Fools’ is about passion for life. Maybe a guy’s working a job he doesn’t like, and he sees an ad about the Alaska pipeline or something that excites him. But there are problems. His family says it’s too cold in Alaska or whatever. So he passes it up and just keeps on with something he hates.”

~ From Bob Seger, about his song, Ship of Fools

Trying to understand where the universe comes from

My method for trying to understand this fundamental essence – the presence of “something bigger” than me – was to examine intellectually all the reasons I could think of for the universe to exist and to try to envision what had “existed” before the universe came into being.

On the one hand, if there was nothing before creation, how could the “something” of the universe come from “nothing”? On the other hand, if there was something before the creation of the world, it must have always existed, without beginning. But how could “something” have no starting point, no first moment?

I was frustrated by these questions, and by not being able to envision the timelessness that went with “no beginning.” As a boy, I was continually preoccupied by such attempts to explain the world rationally. I was unable to recognize or accept the limitation of my logical mind, its inability to understand the nature of life beyond concepts of solid objects and linear time.

(I had these same thoughts back in high school, but these words are from the book, “Zen at Work.”)

You are free to choose your own vision

In daily life, each of us is a vehicle for something. Our choices of values determine the kinds of vehicles we are, the way we move in the world and relate to each other. All individuals (and organizations) are free to choose values that they feel are important, that express their vision.

(A quote from the book, Zen at Work.)

My oldest sister is five years older than I am, and when she was in high school she was involved in activities outside of school, like the foreign student exchange program. I was an extreme introvert and could never imagine myself doing those things, but she was very involved in making our community a better place, and I was proud of her.

Back then I didn’t know that I was free to choose my own vision ... the mental weight of being an extreme introvert kept me from seeing that. I may always struggle with being an introvert, but these days I understand that I can choose my own vision, and I do so consciously.

Don’t let your situation get you down

Joey Votto is a terrific hitter on a horrible baseball team, and in this article he says, “I think if I let the team’s performance dictate how I behave,” says Votto, “or how I perceive my performance, or whether or not there’s value, or whether or not anyone even cares, it’s a dangerous and slippery slope.”

That reminds me of my brother-in-law, who is a tremendous chef currently working in a bad situation, and how you can’t let your current situation get you down.