Goals Create Motivation – Action Creates Progress

The small things we focus on can deliver the big things we dream about. This is the very point University of Dayton Head Basketball Coach Archie Miller made during an interview with Mike Hartsock of WHIO TV.

Hartsock: Do you still take your guys back to last year? “O.K. guys, remember what we had last year, what we went through last year?”

Coach Miller:  I think more so the path that we took, how we handled the path, not so much where the end result got, but… how much better did we get from February 22nd to March 15th… It’s finding a way to get your team to stay in the moment, of talking about, “Hey look! This was the path we were on. This is where we were a year ago men…think about how far we went; we can do it, too!”… Not so much about, “Do you want to do this again, do you want to do that again? Remember the little things that got us there.

– Archie Miller, Head Coach of Dayton Flyers Men’s Basketball Program; Broadcast, 3/1/2015

People are motivated by big dreams and goals if they believe the goals are possible for them. That’s a good start. But having inspiring goals is not enough. Goals are the measurable parts of a dream. Dreams become real from the execution of the right, moment-by-moment actions. Too much attention on the dream can distract us from doing the actions that produce the outcomes we expect.

Successful people know how to leverage the motivation of a dream to create the actions that get results. People who feel the high of an inspiring dream and consistently fail to take the necessary actions are adrenalin junkies.  From this interview, I conclude that Coach Miller understands this principle and leads his team accordingly.

 “The small things we focus on
can deliver the big things we dream about.”
— Clancy Cross

Good luck to the Dayton Flyers, Men and Women, in their upcoming tournaments!

Easy Vs. Hard

The expression “work smart, not hard” is advice about efficiency by leveraging resources. It presumes that working smart leads to easier work. Efficiency and a lighter burden are always good goals as long as the easy way and hard way both lead to the same destination. The critical question when faced with an easy vs. hard choice is, “Do they really go to the same place?”

As human beings, the natural tendency is to pick the path of least resistance even when this is not expected to produce the best results. Always choosing easy over hard is based on near-term mindset. Instant gratification is an example that comes to mind. In the long run, we end up settling for far less in life if we make a habit of taking the easy path. Being one who is willing to consider and choose the more challenging path, whenever it makes long-term sense, requires a deep-seated commitment to the future.

“Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy. He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.” — Benjamin Franklin


“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.”
— Anonymous

Easy and Hard Can Be Matters of Perspective and Attitude

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.” — Terence (185 BC – 159 BC)

“Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.” — Baltasar Gracian

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill

Difficulties Help Sharpen Our Axes

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” — Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” — Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 – 1734)

“If at first you DO succeed, try something harder.” — John C. Maxwell

Facing Difficulty Requires Courage

“It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.” — Louis Pasteur, microbiologist

“Courage and perseverance have a magic talisman, before which difficulties and obstacles vanish into air.” — John Adams

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” — Sam Ewing

Dealing With Difficulty

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” — Dale Carnegie

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.” — Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893)

Finally, always remember the words of Edward R. Murrow:

“Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.”

God Bless,

— CC

© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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