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Bobby Knight

College Basketball Coach, Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame
Commencement Speech at the Trine University, 2010

"I don't believe in luck, I believe in preparation. "

Part 2 of the Speech

Part 3 of the Speech


You can't please everyone. Knight told the story of a grandfather, grandson and their mule. As the trio proceeded on a long journey, they were continually stopped by observers. The grandfather was scolded that he should let the boy ride on the mule, not walk, because the boy is young. A while later, the boy was scolded that the grandfather should ride because the grandfather is old. Eventually, they were told that they should both ride. Then they were told that they should carry the mule, because the mule has always worked hard for them. Each time, they obliged the requests, but as they tried to carry the mule, they accidentally dropped it off a bridge and the mule drowned. "The moral -- when you try to please everybody, you're going to lose your ass," Knight said.


So, what are you willing to do. Work is hard. Change is hard. Taking a long look in the mirror is hard. Sacrificing family time is hard. Sacrificing at work to be with family is hard. Continuing to learn when everything is going well is hard. Demanding that your employee continue to evolve away from their comfort zone is hard. Tearing it down to build it back up is hard. Foregoing the pleasantness of personal relationships in order to accomplish professional goals is hard.

Everything worthwhile is hard. Some sacrifices arenít worthwhile. Ask a professionally successful parent with a kid in rehab if he or she would do anything differently.

Deciding who you are and what you want is the key. If you want to be the CEO of some big-ass corporation and build a retirement home in West Palm Beach, your personal and family relationships will suffer. If you decide itís more important for you to see all your kidsí baseball and basketball games than make every meeting and work until 7p every night, the professional life will languish.

Thatís life. Decisions Ė every decision everyday Ė takes each of us down the path to where we wind up. No one gets everything. For each commitment, a sacrifice is required. That is life.

It would be great if life were as simple as making the decision to outwork everyone, but what kind of challenge would that be.

Sent in by: Cristina
Posted on: 02.24.2011

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