Monday, September 2, 2013

How to WinForever

Always Compete. 

It's the easiest way to describe my life philosophy. Everything is a game to me and the best way to get my best is to challenge me in something. Even if it's entirely insignificant, I'll work like hell to beat you at it. Now this doesn't mean I'm a terrible, obsessive person. I love to help others and make everyone around me better. I just love to work at something until I get it right. Until I do at a level it's never been done before.

I was glad to stumble across WinForever by Pete Carroll. In Coach Carroll I found a kindred spirit. A person who lived to compete. Now some people don't like him. That's understandable. Some people don't like me. I don't turn it down a notch. I don't have an off button. It's how people like us survive. Toning down the competition means losing focus on the race we're running. I tried that in college. It didn't work. That actualization is what's fueling me right now. Along with a lot of caffeine. Coach Carroll outlined his philosophy in three rules and three beliefs:

3 Rules to WinForever

1. Always Protect The Team - This one is easy. Protect the ones closest to you. Make your first priority the team. Not yourself. 
2. No Whining, No Complaining, No Excuses - Shut up and do your job. Stick to the assignments. The only thing you're doing while whining is making the task at hand harder. If you put your nose down and finish the job, there simply won't be anything left for you to complain about. 
3. Be Early - I've been following this one my entire life. Show initiative. Set the example. 

3 Beliefs to WinForever

1. It's All About The Ball - To paraphrase Joe Vitt, "When you have the ball, the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of every team member is in your hands." If that's not enough pressure, everyone else that doesn't like is punching like crazy hoping you'll fumble. Don't drop the ball.
2. Everything Counts - There is nothing insignificant about you or your life. Everyone has a God-given talent and the ability to be great. Will you be great?
3. Respect Everyone - I've gotten in trouble with this one. The best thing you can be is humble. You may hate the guy in front of you, but he's there for a reason. Work hard to beat him, but pick up and realize what he's doing to be better than you. That way you gain the respect of your peers and gain a competitive advantage. 

After you figure out the base to your philosophy, it's time to actualize it. Make it happen. Every thing you do outside of your game or job or whatever you do is practice. Practice doesn't make perfect. It makes you realize your strengths and weaknesses and gives you an arena in which to fix them and get better. Nobody's perfect, but that's the joy of competition. You can get as close as humanly possible when you're performing at your best. Also, I don't believe in luck. I believe in practice (talking to you Allen Iverson). Practice is your luck laboratory. If you're getting better, those breaks that always happen to other people will start to happen to you. Don't trick yourself into thinking that clutch manifests itself only in the fourth quarter. Every goal you score leads to that moment. Clutch recognizes clutch. 

When you step into that competition, I want you to think of the final result. Have confidence in yourself and trust in you and your teammates abilities. Get into your own zone. Get the opponent throwed off. I can't guarantee you a victory but I can guarantee you'll play better than you ever have. 


Now play is a key to me as well. In fact, it's my raison d'etre. Take these five things from neuroscientist Beau Lotto, his definition of play:
  • Celebrating uncertainty.
  • Adaptable to change.
  • Open to possibility.
  • Cooperative.
  • Intrinsically motivated.
I love the first bullet. It was hard to come around to but I have learned to embrace uncertainty. If you really believe that God has a plan for your life, why aren't you excited about the unknown? Sure there will be good and there will be bad but God sees you through the bad and to the good. I can't wait for the rest of my life, wherever it takes me.

Play is God's way of celebrating uncertainty, and the best way for us as humans to grow is to step into the unknown. This is where the innovations and imaginations that fuel modern humanity are. And it's as simple as a child's laugh to find. Kids are the most innovative, imaginative humans on the planet. They create something literally out of nothing. That's why I love to work with kids. They teach me more than I teach them. As adults we need to think like children. We are far too wired into our existence to create anything exciting. We love to drone to work, drone to home, drone to the TV. Don't be a drone! We have enough people like that. Be something uncertain. Be something joyous. Be play. And that's my philosophy.

Play + Competition = Paulie. 

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