Saturday, October 18, 2008

Homage to the Trojans (or The Mental Game)

Mostly, I've found you either love 'em or hate 'em. And I guess I can understand that, though I'm fascinated by the polarity. The USC Trojans' Football Team has passion. They also have talent, confidence, style, and tremendous (financial) support. Maybe that's what bugs people so much. From the other side of the coin, it might look like arrogance, pride (not the good kind), excess, and an entitled-spoiled smugness.

The Trojans live in Los Angeles, land of the beautiful people. The gentle omni-present sunshine warms our athletes year round. And except for the smog, traffic and general LA sprawl, there is little to complain about in SC life. All that may help, but that doesn't change the pursuit to be #1 in National College Football. Watching every weekend, I've learned that we still, ultimately, always have ourselves to beat first and foremost. We have seen our #1 ranked team lose this year against unranked Oregon State and last year against Stanford, right after two sound victories against Virginia and Ohio State, BOTH ranked top 20!

When there is no specific reason for losing, it comes down to the mental game. If you've ever won anything, you know that there are good days and bad days. Part of the practice becomes making the good days the norm when it comes to your mental game. Mental self-discipline, big picture vision, focus on the goal, a nimble ability to adjust, perspective; these are all essential pieces of the mental game. The Trojans demonstrate an excellent mental game most of the time. It comes down to self-discipline, the cornerstone of the mental game, and therefore a key tool for success. There's so much more already written about success. Also see Jack Canfield, Napoleon Hill.

Watching the Trojans every week gives me a chance to evaluate my mental game and learn from theirs. I find out where my pitfalls may be and what needs strengthening. It is also a pleasure to watch what works. It's pretty hard to argue with winning. Mark Sanchez & Pete Carroll(photos above) demonstrate in their successes and failures the terrain of the mental game. And how essential it is to keep your eye on the ball.

In homage to my Alma Mater:
Fight On, Gentlemen!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Left Can Be Right

I am buoyed; even cautiously optimistic. There are a couple reasons: 1. Today I pre-qualified for a home loan…possibly no big deal under normal circumstances, but in the current economic context, I’m thrilled. 2. Obama has pulled ahead in most polls that count, at least in the press. And 3. The Great Schlep, and everything it represents.

In addition to the humor of Sarah Silverman, indeed a bizarre ice breaker, the way The Great Schlep (TGS) invites people to come together for something they believe in is an inspiration. Think about this for a moment: TGS empowers Jewish grandchildren to fly to Florida to visit their grandparents and discuss voting for Barak Obama. Ok, forget that I also support Mr. Obama, the idea is still an inspiration bringing multi-generational families together, across states, for meaningful conversation about changing their country and their lives for the better. Despite what you think about either side politically, you have to admit that the more people come together to talk about politics, issues, our country, the more people at the table discussing the future and solutions, the better chance we have to actually find workable solutions for all of us.

Regardless of who wins this election, we will still (thankfully) live in the US together and work together and have to share in the problem solving, together. It is fascinating to me how what looks like a simple plan, have grandkids talk to their grandparents in a critical voting state, really has a thoughtful elegance, depth, value and meaningful level of uplift to it.

So I am buoyed. The Great Schlep is exemplary in its strength, grace & brilliance.

What are your thoughts?

Watch here:

How do you Hero?