In his book WINNING EVERY DAY, the former Notre Dame football coach, Lou Holtz, tells the story of the Trappist monk who was allowed to say only two words every three years.
After the first three years, he met with the his order’s Brother Superior and said, “Bad bed!”
3 years later, he came back to say, “Bad food!”
After 3 more years of silence, the monk said, “No TV!”
Another 3 years passed. This time, when the monk met with Brother Superior, he handed him his robes and sandals and announced, “I quit!”
Brother Superior said, “Well don’t expect me to try to dissuade you. You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here!”
Complaints, excuses, envy, ambition…we’ve all been there. Unless you are in a perfect place (which would make you an Angel), the grass may appear to be greener on the other side of the fence. The truth is that every job, every person, every situation has some flaws. Until you own your circumstances, you will never truly maximize the potential of your situation.
Coach Holtz repeatedly has commented, “Make the big-time where you are at.” Your job isn’t as good as another? Your department doesn’t have what another has? Your budget is too low? Maybe you should start watering the grass on your side of the fence a little bit more.
Success and happiness are not always about resources but rather being resourceful. Andy Carter, my athletic director when I was at Newberry College, used to say “If it was easy we wouldn’t need you.” If you complain too much or make too many excuses, then you are indirectly saying that you are not the man for the job.
The late, great UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, used to say, “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do”. Yes, he had all-time greats Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor. However, one year he also had the shortest team to ever win a NCAA basketball title. He was forced to find a way to win without height, thus bringing the game of basketball the 2-2-1 full-court trapping defense.
As Albert Einstein used to say, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” You are in your position for a reason. Own your situation. Make it perfect for you. How will you take advantage of your opportunities? How will you make your grass greener? Each of us has a water hose…the question is “will we use it”?