One of the toughest things to deal with as an adult is the concept that nothing in life is guaranteed.

This concept of “nothing being guaranteed” is evident in sports. Jim Valvano, the iconic former coach of NC State and one of my all-time favorite motivational speakers, once said something to the effect of:

“Just because you work hard doesn’t guarantee you will be successful. But not working hard guarantees you won’t be.” jimmy-v

UNC coach Roy Williams said something similar:

“Working hard doesn’t guarantee success, but without it, you have no chance.”

Players, have you ever spent hours upon hours studying for a test… and you still received a poor grade?

Of course you have.

Coaches, has your team ever spent hours upon hours preparing a game plan and practicing really hard all week… and you still lost?

Absolutely. It happens to all of us.

Working hard and not achieving the result you want is a tough pill to swallow. It is hard in basketball and it is hard in life. But it is fact. And it is something every player and coach needs to come to terms with… because no one is immune. When a minor setback occurs, great players and great coaches simply get back up, dust themselves off and get right back to work.

Coach Valvano also pointed out that working hard is a conscious choice because you have complete control over your attitude and your effort:

“Every morning when you get out of bed, you have a choice to make. You can choose to work hard or you can choose not to work hard. Not working hard is actually a choice.”

As always, working hard is only the foundation… don’t neglect to work smart and work consistently as well. If not, you will just be spinning your wheels!

I hope you make the conscious choice to work as hard as you can, for as long as you can, as often as you can. If you do, you will greatly increase your chance to be successful… on and off the court.


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