What It Takes To Be A Winner – Part 6

In The Winners Manual, written by coach Jim Tressel during his tenure as head coach of The Ohio State Buckeyes, he has identified ten fundamentals essential for winners. Applying these fundamentals can put us on track to becoming a winner no matter what we do in life and no matter what life throws our way.

This week we’ll briefly review the next fundamental and the resources coach Tressel has used to shape his character as well as his coaching staff and most importantly, his players.


I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do great things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life. I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing I asked for—but everything I had hoped for; Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among men, most richly blessed! – Author Unknown (often attributed to an unknown confederate soldier)

With champions, success is never unexpected; it’s a natural result that comes from continuous, unselfish, unrelenting determination to win; never letting down, never letting outside influences into the game. – Harvey Mackay

Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. – James 1:2-4

Great character is the cumulative result when great pain and great disappointment intersect in a man (or woman) with a teachable spirit. – Jim Tressel

Coach Tressel explains, “Adversity comes to us all—it’s only a matter of when. The real question is not whether we’ll face adversity but how we will respond to it when it comes. If our attitude is one that embraces learning and growing, we’ll treat adversity as a stepping-stone to the success we desire, rather than see it as an insurmountable obstacle. But if we have a negative attitude and become defensive at the first hint of criticism or begin to blame others for our mistakes, we’ll miss the opportunity to develop into the types of people we want to be.”

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius

There is no education like adversity. – Benjamin Disraeli

Success is  a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose. – Bill Gates

Coach T. says, “Success does things to you that adversity doesn’t. It adds more things to your plate . . . But for everything that success adds to your schedule, it takes something else away. Whether it’s from your exercise time, your spiritual time, your family time, or your students’ academic time, success takes away time and can distract you from your goals and plans.

It’s interesting that adversity has the opposite effect. When you meet with adversity, you can often find yourself alone . . . No one’s interested in your opinion about success. You don’t have people clamoring for your time, so you have more time to yourself.

My point is that whether you have success or failure, you have a challenge ahead of you . . . You have to adjust, whether the ball bounces your way or not. Everything that happens during the course of your journey is part of life, and you have to adjust.”

There is no strength where there is no struggle. – Jim Tressel

Coach T. goes on to remind us, “Sometimes, even if we believe our steps are ordered, we don’t see a purpose in the pain we’re going through at the moment . . . In every phase of life, you’re going to face opposition.

In every phase of life . . . there will be good pressure and bad pressures on your life. You have to learn how to handle those and respond well. If you’re aware of the pressures, if you’re present and are able to think through what you did wrong (identify), you can also figure out how to do it right (improve), and then practice the right steps to improve (implement). If you follow this three-step process—identify, improve, and implement—you’ll not only ‘cope’ with adversity, but you’ll also move forward stronger and with more passion toward your goals.”

Face adversity promptly and without flinching, and you will reduce its impact. Never run from anything and never quit. – Winston Churchill

In attacking adversity, only a positive attitude, alertness, and regrouping to basics can launch a comeback. – Pat Riley

The toughest thing about being a success is that you’ve got to keep being a success. – Irving Berlin

Coach Tressel ends this chapter by admitting, “I have learned more from losses than I’ve ever learned from wins, but you can learn good life lessons from both. Don’t let adversity or success derail your goals and dreams. Let them propel you forward.”

I’ll continue to mention each week that The Winners Manual is an excellent book to recommend to your children and grandchildren whether they are active in sports or not. This book is filled with a lot of great life lessons and wisdom you can pass on to those you love and care about!

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters from coach Jim Tressel.


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