Character & Mental Toughness- A Reminder to Press On

Like any job, teaching and coaching can be pretty thankless at times.  Like the stand-up comic who fails to make an audience laugh, sometimes I find my efforts to highlight the importance of character and mental toughness fall on apathetic ears; both young and old.

So too like the comic, I have to put up with my fair share of hostile hecklers and critics.

Sometimes the inexplicable lack of awareness in those I deal with approaches soul sucking levels.

Although this proves only that I have plenty of work to do in helping these people grow, I get frustrated and lose my resolve.

For those days when I feel like my efforts are futile I put up a nondescript piece of paper in my classroom.  Just a few little pieces of wisdom that remind me to press on.

I just thought they might be of value to you.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt “Citizenship in a Republic,” Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
but make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
and yet don’t look to good , nor talk too wise,
yours is the earth and everything thats in it,
and-which is more-you’ll be a man.
-W.B. Yeats

“The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.”-Aristotle

“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.”-Ayn Rand

“All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”-Edmund Burke

(I took the picture above a couple years back on a trip to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.  It is right near the docks.  I love when I am aware enough to see things like this. Keep fighting the good fight!)

Check out my book “On Character and Mental Toughness” by clicking here.

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About coachbillmoore

Bill Moore is a father, teacher, and coach. He was born in Pittsburgh, grew up in New Jersey, and pursued his undergraduate and graduate degrees in New England. He is a long time resident of the Springfield, Massachusetts area where he met his wife and where all four of his children were born. He has coached football at each of the collegiate levels and has coached basketball, lacrosse and football at the high school level. He authored his book, "On Character and Mental Toughness," prior to his final season as the football coach at Westfield High School. During that final season his team reached the district finals for the third time during his tenure and won awards for sportsmanship at the district and state level.
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