Tuesday, July 12, 2011

paradigms of greatness 1

As David Tua*, one of the great orators of our time once memorably said: "There are ways, and then there are ways." Finding the right way is probably one of the trickiest and most rewarding experiences in life. Somehow, whether by evolution or testosterone or other factors heretofore undefined we are driven toward goals. Stagnation while always an option, never seems satisfying. There is always a striving, a call to improvement and ultimately success, whatever it is that that nebulous term alludes to. Self-organizing teleologies pop up, and then prop up our sense of self. What is this will to apotheosis? I do not know.

As in all, or should I say most things, there is a wide spectrum of approaches to success, and so it is with becoming "the baddest man on the planet" (let's keep the boxing parlance going). Let me share just two. At the risk of creating another false dichotomy, something that I have become partial to as of late, let's call 1. The Coach Wooden Way and 2. The Michael Jordan way (OK so it's basketball now).

1. Coach Wooden** led UCLA to 10 NCAA basketball championships in a 12 year period. The secret to this unprecedented achievement, according to him, was teaching his players how to be successful at both life and basketball. He came up with The Pyramid of Success, which distilled visually the values that he thought would be most beneficial to those under his tutelage. He was also renowned for an ample supply of pithy maxims that he would dispense with acuity. My favourite of his was "be quick but don't hurry." To summarize the man's legacy in less than a paragraph, which doesn't come close to doing him justice, he was old school. He believed in being good to people, in doing your best no matter what, and that if you were a person of character and integrity then you'd win no matter what the final score said. And he did.

*Besides gaining notoriety for his left hook and crazy hair in the vaudevillian world of Heavy Weight boxing, he is also world famous in New Zealand for an appearance on the game show Wheel of Fortune, where he once requested to purchase an "O" for awesome.

** Check out his TED talk.


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