Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is my cup empty?

I am currently testing students. Some are concluding their formal education, but will they continue to learn?

I first read “A Cup of Tea” as I was working on my master’s degree back in the 80s. Unfortunately it took me years to really understand it. I would like to share it with you:

A Cup of Tea http://www.101zenstories.com/index.php?story=1

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"


When I finished my master’s I figured that I pretty much knew all about training. Often I would see athletes or coaches doing things that I did not understand, and would assume that what they were doing was wrong.

Yes, there are people out there doing things wrong. But I can look back and see times when I missed an opportunity to learn. I hadn’t emptied my cup.

I am critical when I hear, read or see new information.

I filter it.

I test it.

But I give it a chance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Big loss - what now?

The gauntlet has been laid down! The Canucks lost the Stanley Cup. They were the best team during the regular season and now they can seize the moment, and rise to the challenge.

What? Didn’t they just lose? Aren’t cars burning in downtown Vancouver? Yes to both questions. But a true champion rises from a disappointing loss and gets better.

I suppose that I have used enough clich├ęs but it is hard not to. What is there to be said? I have sat in locker rooms after crushing defeats both as a coach and as an athlete. And a couple of times I told those who were stilling smarting from a good butt kicking to smell the air, analyze those feelings in your gut, and then bottle them. Seal them; put them away for safe keeping.

And when you are lying in bed, thinking about rolling over or getting up for that early morning workout,

when you are considering dropping that last set because you are tired,

when you are debating hanging with your buddies for a couple more rounds or heading home to get a good night’s sleep,

Pull out that bottle, open it up and take a good whiff. It is the smelling salts of a winner.

Everyone body wants to be a champion. But do you have that desire on the practice field or weight room as well? Remember those bad times, and do your best to STOP them from happening again.

I met a venture capitalist once, and he told me that most of the big guys in the business suffer many losses. And the rule of thumb is that the next success is governed by the magnitude of the last failure.

So get up, dust yourself off, and get ready to prove all the doubters wrong.