MELVIN’ S MONTHLY MOMENTS
LESSONS IN GREATNESS
Studying the Success of March Madness Teams
Every year when March Madness comes along, I think about what it is that makes teams achieve greatness. The players and their coaches have to work so hard to get to the level of play the championship games require, and I wonder, what creates that greatness? UCLA coach John Wooden has led his team to NCAA championship victory 10 times, which is more than any other coach. There have to be at least a hundred quotes from him on the internet, and I’ve read all of them. Wooden once said, “There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind , and one of the most important is faith , which cannot be acquired without prayer .” I love that quote. Ultimately, I think peace of mind is what everybody seeks. Incorporating faith and prayer into your life is the surest pathway to peace of mind, and without peace of mind, you’ve lost the battle before it has begun. Dean Smith, who coached North Carolina to 11 Final Fours and two national championships, once said, “If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.” I think those are some real words of wisdom. The only things that are matters of life and death are your family and your health. Beyond that, taking things too seriously will only make things worse. If the lights in a house selling for $500,000 are left on by a showing agent, it’s not that big a deal, and it’s not worth getting worked up about. If we close on a house one day later than we’d planned to close, again, it’s not the end of the world. You have to save your intensity for those times in life when you really need it. Stressing about the little things will only leave you less effective when push really comes to shove. Another hugely successful basketball coach was Adolph Rupp, who coached Kentucky to four NCAA championship victories. Rupp once said, “I wouldn’t give one iota to make a trip from the cradle to the grave unless I could live in a competitive world .” I couldn’t agree more with Rupp. If you really want to embrace life, be competitive. Don’t focus on beating somebody else; focus on beating yourself. Don’t just drift. If you’re going to live in this world, live as somebody who is steadily improving. At LIST Birmingham, we take improvement seriously.
Finally, Mike Krzyzewski has coached Duke’s team to five NCAA championship victories. Krzyzewski said, “The person who has inspired me my whole life is my mom because she taught me commitment . She sacrificed .” I think that’s an interesting choice considering Coach K is a West Point graduate and was an Army officer for five years. He also played and coached for Bobby Knight. But, in his entire life, the person who inspired him the most was his mom. Commitment and sacrifice ! These two simple words embody the secret to the most successful active college basketball coach in the country. These four teams were not chosen by accident. They are the four teams with the most Final Four Appearances and the most National Championships. But what I really like about them is they all have BLUE logos. Reaching the top of any game, whether we’re talking basketball or real estate, takes a lot of commitment to success and discipline. This year, as you watch the games during March Madness, don’t forget that every single example of greatness you see on the court or coaching from the sidelines built their success with hard work and discipline.
Best wishes to everyone, and I hope your bracket wins!
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