Character & Mental Toughness-Fire fighting or smoke detecting?

A large problem usually occurs after a number of very small problems. For example, this time of year many students are concerned with passing their classes for the year, particularly seniors who hope to graduate. It would be considered a large problem if they did not graduate. However, that large problem is really just a result of a series of smaller problems.

There were the days when the student was late to class. There was that day that the student was suspended. There were the days when the student didn’t come to school. There were the days when the student did not do their homework. There were the days when the student put their head down rather than pay attention in class, or complete the assignment. There were the nights when the student stayed up too late on the computer or returning texts.

This series of small problems accumulates over the course of time. When added up, the small problems may become huge ones. The failure to graduate will prevent the student from entering the military. The student will also miss out on over a million dollars. This is the difference in earnings between high school graduates and those who fail to graduate over the course of a lifetime of work.

So this time of year many of our students are franticly trying to put out the raging fires that may prevent them from passing their classes for the year or even graduating.

Rather than fighting these fires, might it be better to utilize a smoke detector? Wouldn’t it be better to put out the fire before it even starts?

A daily character and mental toughness check might serve as such a smoke detector. By seeing the events of the day through the spectrum of character and mental toughness, a person might be able to recognize when they are allowing their character to slip. They might be able to recognize when they are being mentally weak. They might be able to stop an inferno before it starts.

Like the annoying noise of the smoke detector, a student’s teachers, parents, counselors, and administrators often warn the student that they are creating an atmosphere that can lead to trouble. Unfortunately, the student often chooses to ignore the warning sounds, and only gets serious about taking action once the fire engines show up.

Coaches are also pretty adept at smoke detecting. We recognize when our teams are not working hard, or are not playing smart. We try to instill some character and mental toughness because it is a great fire prevention program. As such, we try to teach our players to put the fire out before it starts. Even in the off-season. -bmoore

“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.” ~ Lao Tzu

“The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small.”~Lao Tzu


About coachbillmoore

Educator/Author/Speaker/HS & NCAA Coach Character Coach Read Coach Moore’s book “On Character and Mental Toughness” Paperback available at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. "The measure of your character and mental toughness is the space between what you are doing and what you could be doing." -Coach Bill Moore
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