Who are your role models? What did they teach you? Can you list 10?
— Jon Dao (@CommDao) January 21, 2014
I got a few mixed responses: the Matrix, NFL greats, Madonna for her cone boobs. In turn, here’s my top 10 and how they’ve shaped me. Ranking wasn’t easy! [Note: WordPress puts the “next page” jump underneath the sharing options]
10. Coach Carter
No, not that Coach Carter pictured above, I’m talking about my coach from high school. The funny thing is, he only started during my senior year. And I was actually pretty upset the old one was leaving. I had my share of gold gained from him (i.e. “don’t be a titty baby” and “even the sun shines on a dog’s rear”), but Coach Carter really knew how to instill character.
I was by no means a jock, still being pretty insecure around this time. I joined the football team again because I wanted my senior year to go out with a bang, but every day I would dread going in to practice.
And every day Coach Carter changed that mood. He looked forward to that time– it was the highlight of his day. He wanted it to be the highlight of our day too.
So the first thing he’d say at the beginning of every practice was, “Today is a great day. Today is going to be a great day!”
And he’d repeat again and again. Sometimes for 10 minutes while we were warming up. Then he’d ask us what day it was, and we were supposed to answer the same. It probably wasn’t until I was teaching in Japan that I really understood the strength of this conditioning.
The power to change a mood is incredibly underrated. Once the morning’s off to a bad start, some people write off the entire rest of day. But Coach Carter taught me with the right conviction, you can reset the day at any moment.
To be honest, when I was in high school I thought it was just a silly chant we had to repeat. But for him it wasn’t. A “great day” was a truth just waiting to be realized.
Slowly, I started incorporating that concept into my classes because I was tired of the slump a bad morning class would bring. Eventually, I too would have the same conviction. I’d adjust, and I’d take that that lesson that bombed only hours earlier and turn it into a highlight of the day.
Some things take time… and some things need an attitude to change in the moment.
Bonus Coach Carter Lesson: “You have to be physically and mentally tough. Physically and mentally tough. Because when your mind gives out, you need the body to push through. And when your body feels like failing, you got to have the mind that can hang on.”
Bonus Bonus Coach Carter Lesson: “I’d rather lose badly trying my best to win than come out with a tie. A draw’s like kissing your sister.