Excellence

The next word in the 100 day challenge is EXCELLENCE.

In baseball, a ‘perfect game’ is when your pitcher and team face only the minimum number of batters — 27. You allow no runs and no hits. No one on the opposing team reaches base. It is called a perfect game, but it should be called an excellent game. There is no perfect. If the pitcher threw a perfect game, every pitch would be a strike. He would not even throw one pitch out of the strike zone. I won’t say never, but that will probably never happen.

Just because you cannot always be excellent does not mean you should not try. Striving for excellence is always a worthy goal.

Today’s Winning Thought: “Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

Effort

Today’s word in the 100 Day Challenge is EFFORT.

Several years ago, long before Wichita State came into national prominence in college basketball, the team had a phrase. They wore it on their uniforms: MTXE. It stood for Mental Toughness, Extra Effort.

If you are going to excel year after year after year, you have to be mentally tough and ALWAYS give extra effort. Average simply isn’t good enough. You have to do more, and you have do it on a regular basis. If you don’t, you will always be average at best. Sometimes you won’t be that good.

For too long, I had an attitude of doing just enough to get by. How did that work out? I was not living an abundant life. I was nowhere near real success. Not even close.

I am ashamed to write this for the world to read, but too often I still fail to put forth the extra effort that I am writing about. But my goal is to learn every day, have a positive attitude, and give more effort than is expected. Effort means “A vigorous or determined attempt.” Your best effort, consistently, is all anyone can ask of or expect from you. You are going to have off days. When that happens, just get back up.

Today’s Winning Thought: “It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that is where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” — Unknown

Efficient / Effective

Today’s words in the 100 Day Challenge are EFFICIENT / EFFECTIVE.

One word means to get results without waste. The other means getting the results you desire.

Football and basketball teams cannot score points every time they have the ball. Nor can they prevent their opponent from ever scoring. But they can strive to. They can, and must, strive to take care of the ball on each offensive possession. Strive to play mistake free and not waste possessions. The also have to offer a strong defense to hold the opposition to as little as possible. And they must also manage the clock.

Teams, because they are made up of people, cannot play a perfect game. But they can try.

Today’s Winning Thought: Where and how can you be more efficient and effective?

Execute

Today’s word in the 100 Day Challenge is EXECUTE.

Sometimes failure is due to a lack of effort. Sometimes there is a bad plan or no plan at all. Other times people fail because there did not execute their plan.

German novelist Johann Goethe said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply.”

There has never been a more important time in our lives to get back to the basics, and do the simple things that will lead to success, and do them better than we ever have. Here is a challenge for today, for this week, for the rest of the year, for 2018, and for the rest of your life:

Start settling for more, not less.
Raise your expectations.
Play to the possibilities.
Think big, then think bigger.
Ask yourself, “What can this become?”
Do simple better.
Be where your feet are.
Get a plan.
Adjust the plan when necessary.
Trust and respect the process.
Do NOT quit.
NEVER lose hope.

Perhaps we need to text, call or e-mail each other every day this week to hold ourselves accountable. You have my permission to check on me. In fact, I invite you to do so.

Today’s Winning Thought: “You were born to win. But to be the winner you were born to be, you have to plan to win and prepare to win. Only then can you expect to win.” — Zig Ziglar

Encouragement

The next word in the 100 Day Challenge is ENCOURAGEMENT.

Note: You do not need encouragement unless you are breathing.

The words you speak or write can have a powerful influence on others. They can inspire someone, change the course of their day, or perhaps even their life. A word of encouragement can be the difference between finishing well and collapsing along the way.

Every team, organization, church and family needs an encourager. Be that person. There will always be someone around you who needs encouragement. Warn the idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak.

Today’s Winning Thought: Who are you going to encourage today?

Doubters

Today’s word in the 100 Day Challenge in DOUBTERS.

This Sunday, will mark the eighth anniversary of the start of this blog. I had no idea really where it would go, and for how long. Or who would read it. I meant for it to a short daily post, every day. I have plenty of thoughts to share, and I plan to keep writing.

During that time, I have also been able to write two short books. I must admit that more than once I did have doubts about the books. Some days that doubt was pretty strong. Others may have had doubts about me too, but no one shared it with me. I kept writing and dreaming. I was able to finish the first book. It gave me a little more confidence to write the next one. Now, I am foolish enough to believe that I can publish a few more. I have the ideas. The question is, do I have the self-discipline.

You will always face obstacles on your path to success. You will likely encounter doubters while pursuing your dreams. Just don’t doubt yourself.

Today’s Winning Thought: What are your hopes and dreams? Be realistic. Seek advice. Be confident. Do not doubt yourself. Stay the course. Don’t quit.

Dictionary

DICTIONARY is the next word in the 100 Day Challenge.

Every year, my fellow Rotarians and I visit every elementary school in our community. We are on a mission to find every third-grade student. We have a gift for them — their very own dictionary. It is theirs. They write their name inside and they own it. Literacy is important to us. We want to make it important to them also.

I am never far from my dictionary. There is one in my desk drawer, another on my bookshelf and an app on my smartphone. I carry it with me and I am not afraid to refer to it.

I do not remember everything about third grade. I should, because it was the longest four years of my life. But I remember the third grade classrooms we visit, and the pride those students show when they receive their gift.

Here is a challenge for you. Today, look for one word that you read or hear someone use during the course of your day. Find a dictionary and look it up.

Today’s Winning Thought: Discover a new word today. Use it in correspondence or conversation. Challenge a young person to do the same.

Do-Over

It is said that you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Many times in life you will get a second chance, a chance to start over, to make things right. We are a pretty forgiving society, and we all get it wrong sometimes.

In fact, when it comes to failure we should encourage our kids to fail, and to do so early in life. Let them fail at small stuff so they might not fail later in life with bigger stuff. Like drugs, for instance. Yesterday I wrote about drug abuse in our society. You might not get a second chance with drugs. The first time will likely put them on a path to addiction, which would all but guarantee them a miserable life. Or worse, it might kill them. Someone is going to talk to your kids, and they won’t mention the possibility of failing and getting a do-over. Make sure you speak to them first and often. There might not be a do-over, a second chance when it comes to drugs or guns. Teach and guide — always.

Today’s Winning Thought: Failure is where success begins. Do not waste your second chance, your do-over.

Drugs

DRUGS is a word I did not want to include in SIGHT WORDS. And it is not one I want to write about now. It is depressing and not the way to start a new week. But it is real, so here it is.

I had to include this word in the book and the 100 Day Challenge because drugs is one of the four or five things on which we can place the blame for ripping apart the fabric of our society.

Consider this.

The amount of money spent annually in the United States on the war on drugs is more than $51 BILLION dollars.

A 2015 survey showed that 1 in 12 Americans needed some form of substance use treatment. Only 11 percent of them received the treatment.

We have the highest incarceration rate in the world for drug offenses — 2,224,400 (1 in every 111 adults) in federal, state and locals prisons and jails.

More than 1,000 people die each week from a drug overdose. Drugs are the leading cause of accidental death in this country.

It took 50 years for the rate of heart disease to double. It took drug deaths a fraction of that. Heroin-related deaths increased 439 percent from 1999 to 2014. It tripled in five years and quintupled in 10 years.

Prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

Opioids, prescription and illicit, are the rage now. It is a crisis.

The rise seems to coincide with Americans’ increasing use of stuff like illicit fentanyl, a drug that is often given to cancer patients. It is 100 times as strong as morphine.

You can manipulate statistics in a lot of ways, but there is no getting around this — drug abuse is destroying lives and families.

Today’s Winning Thought: Now, I am going to get real personal, and I am not going to apologize for it. If you are battling an addiction, PLEASE get help TODAY. If you know someone who is fighting it, get them help. Talk to your kids. This is a war, a battle that must be won, and I am not sure we are winning it.

Discipline

Next word in the 100 Day Challenge is DISCIPLINE.

I wrote a little more than a month ago about retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who is currently serving as chancellor of the University of Texas System. McRaven, a former Navy Seal, has written a book titled MAKE YOUR BED. The book is about doing the little things that can change your life, or even change the world. McRaven writes that making you bed is one of the little things. It also allows you to start your day with a task completed.

Making your bed, a simple thing, requires discipline. I am ashamed to admit it, but discipline is sometimes a problem for me. Take this blog, for example. My plan is to post something every day during the work week, at a minimum. I have not delivered that consistently. Maybe I need to sign a contract that includes a clause stating that I will be fined for each day I fail to write. I miss the mark occasionally because I lack the discipline.

I am reading Mark Sanborn’s new book THE POTENTIAL PRINCIPLE. Sanborn writes about closing the gap between how good you are and how good you could be. It is about how to be better. Sanborn writes, “Better is an improvement. Better increases value and defeats complacency. Better moves us forward.”

Better — being the best we can be — takes discipline. I am still working on it.

Today’s Winning Thought: “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn