Winston Churchill said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” The game of football has taught me this lesson. Football is a game that I now enjoy watching instead of playing as a kid. Growing up in the middle of three boys we began playing pick up games early on. Then as my older brother played in high school, I wanted to follow in his footsteps. He was quite successful in high school and won some honors for his performance. He played hard with a determined attitude.
A few years later, I got the opportunity to play in junior high. I began lifting weights consistently multiple times a week. My brother set a strong example that I wanted to follow along. Many of the men in my family knew how to work hard, so I followed suit. By diligently preparing, I could show how I had the right attitude for success in football. Men seem to enjoy the competitive nature of sports and for me football was a great place to compete.
Building on Reputation
In high school, I began playing varsity as a sophomore and thought I was on my way to my dreams. I am sure I am not alone as a man who had the dream growing up to play professional football. Over my couple years playing high school, I got some similar honors to my brother along with a few more. I felt great as I was getting recruited to play college football.
Leaving it Behind
As I began my college football career, I wanted to keep the success that I had in high school going. The summer before I followed the workout plan and was ready to go to school in August and start camp. As the season began, I started to feel out of place. I was not the team leader I had been before. To get attention, I would goof around and not take practice seriously. I wanted to stand out in this group of strong men, but I stood out for the wrong reasons. My attitude had shifted, and my results in all areas of my life changed dramatically.
This approach now began to affect my school performance, too. I was a decent student in high school and thought I wouldn’t have to study in college. It wasn’t long before midterms started, and I had to explain to my mother why I had bad grades. Having a bad attitude in one area of my life had spilled over into other areas. My ego began to get shaken by these failures. I wanted to become a man people looked up to but, I had become someone who was laughed at.
After a rocky first few years of college, I attempted to resurrect my grades and my football career. I began to get the right attitude towards school and study more. On the football field, I started to take things seriously. Of course, the coach didn’t want to give me additional chances. He had other players that had the right attitude from the start. I can’t say I blame him. There is a point in life when you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, “I am the problem here, and I have to change.” I fell short of my dream from my actions.
At this moment, I changed from a guy who was a victim to a guy who was in charge of himself. Psychologists call this locus of control. A simple question to consider, are things happening to you or are you happening to things? For whatever reason as I grew up, I knew how to achieve things and be the man I wanted to but, then lost my way. Your attitude shouldn’t change directions like the wind but should be pointed toward your goals.
I learned a lot from not playing much college football. As men, we need to understand how important our attitude is to our success. We can’t act entitled like I did and expect our dreams and goals to come true. Whether we are playing a sport or working in our career, we must have an attitude that is confident but not cocky.
Our attitude does make a big difference in our outcome. Even if we do the right things with a bad attitude, people begin to see through our actions, and it becomes obvious. I have to own my mistakes and realize I am not perfect. Superman only exists in the comics this is the real world and guys make mistakes.
Let me ask you this, do you think your attitude could be holding you back?
Photo: Flickr/ Andrew Becraft