Blog 21.5

Our next blog, A Tribe of Mentors, by Timothy Ferriss, details a period in Ferriss’s life when he was questioning himself and the direction he was headed. He discusses how a “fork in the path” led him to ask himself the most important question of “What would this look like if it were easy?”  This one question sparked the idea of creating a group of mentors to guide him.  He sent 11 duplicate questions to a wide variety of successful people with different backgrounds.  Many people didn’t respond to his request, but many did, and Ferriss compiled the answers into a 569 page book!

The fourth question Ferriss asked everyone was: 

“If you could have a giant billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say?

Whitney Cummings is a comedian, actor, writer, and producer.  Her billboard saying is “fly high” as a reminder to “not deplete herself with low-brow responses to problems.”  She further states, “as long as I can handle a situation with grace, I usually come out having won and don’t waste valuable time and energy feeling guilty or replaying it in my head.”  We love this simple statement as a tribute to acting in a way that makes you feel proud of yourself regardless of the situation.  People will remember how you responded to challenging situations.   

Former Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink, has authored books and hosts a podcast on leadership lessons.  Even though his lessons were learned in a setting most of us will never experience, his billboard message applies to all of us… “discipline equals freedom.”  Jocko emphasizes that the answer to obtain more of any type of freedom (physical, mental, financial, etc.) is to consistently practice the opposite of freedom – discipline.  The choice to practice discipline as a student-athlete will allow you to have more freedom when you need it most. 

Media mogul, Tim O’Reilly’s, billboard message is “create more value than you capture.”  O’Reilly states, “you have to think about your company as a part of a web of life, just like an organism in an ecosystem.  If you become too dominant, you suck all the life out of the ecosystem.  It gets out of balance, and everyone suffers, eventually even the creatures that think of themselves safe at the top of the pile.”  Imagine yourself as your own company and the message couldn’t reinforce the message of teamwork more!  While the awards and recognition are nice, student-athletes should always consider how they are contributing to the greater whole.


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