Friday, October 3, 2008

How obsession reveals itself

Last month, I had a post about Walter Payton and his never-die-easy attitude.  

Payton's teammate on the other side of the ball was Mike Singletary, a 10-time Pro Bowl LB, two-time defensive player of the year, and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For those who don't remember "Samurai Mike," he was an undersized (5-11, 220) linebacker out of Baylor who captained the 1985 Bears defense that helped Chicago to a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl victory.

Today, he's the assistant head coach for the 49ers.  [Here's a great video feature of Mike with Ray Lewis when Mike was an assistant with the Ravens.]

Last night, I typed up the following excerpt from his book "Singletary on Singletary" as it provides good insight into his philosophy on life:

"What I've done, anybody who sets his mind to it can do.  Does that sound too easy?  I'm not saying it's been easy.  I'm saying that I bring to my job less natural ability and fewer physical attributes than just about anybody I know.  So if I can do it in my profession, you can do it in yours.

Clearly, my success has to do with the mind and the heart.  I take full advantage of whatever physical gifts I have.  But if there's one thing that sets me apart, it's attitude.

I'm talking about obsession.  How does obsession reveal itself?  Through no short cuts.  None.  I take no shortcuts in life.  There, I've said it.  But that's the secret to my success.

Somewhere along the line, a long time ago, I came to realize what would be required of me to excel.  I wished and hoped and prayed I would be bigger, but in the meantime, I was going to make the most of what I had.  I would not be denied.  There would be no shortcuts.

Take no shortcuts in your profession and imagine what you could do.

One of the ways I try to keep improving is to surround myself with people who will challenge me and make me better today than I was yesterday.  Tough people.  Not people who agree with everything I say.

I try to keep in my life people who are smarter than I am, who have more wisdom, who have my best interests at heart, and especially people who love the Lord.  

[I once had a] visit with flamboyant Texas millionaire Ross Perot.  In his office he had a sculpted eagle, and he explained to me that eagles never flock.  I loved that thought.

When I got back to Chicago, I looked for a sculpted eagle for myself.  I put an inscription on it:  'Eagles Don't Flock.'  

They live high on mountaintops.  They have perfect vision.  They do their own thing.  If you're going to tangle with them, you'd better be ready.  They know what they're doing, and they have tools most birds don't have.  With their speed vision, strength, and ability to fly, they are unconquerable.  That's how I want to see myself."