Nobody Cares, Work Harder: The great conquer the body; The greatest conquer the mind.Dec 15, 2023
Lamar Jackson had just led the Baltimore Ravens to victory over the San Francisco 49ers in a close and hard fought 20 – 17 win. After the game, Lamar stepped to the podium to answer questions from the media wearing a black t-shirt. The black t-shirt had a simple statement, “Nobody Cares, Work Harder.” As a father, coach, police executive, community leader, and now City Manager, I have seen time and time again the impact of mindset on the success of my kids, players, police officers, team members, and fellow leaders. For me, mindset is the #1 factor between those who do and those who want to do or wish they could do. Mindset is the foundation for true success and real impact.
Whether you are trying to lose the extra 5 to 10 pounds you put on over the holidays, make the starting line-up of your football team, earn the special assignment that everyone wants at your company, or achieve the promotion you have been working towards, it is important to remember that excuses never helped anyone accomplish any of these things. In fact, excuses or our “reasons why” only perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure and disappointment. While your family, friends, co-workers and leaders at your job care about you and your struggles, in the end nobody wants to hear your excuses. Everyone catches a bad break. Everyone ends up with the short end of the stick. Excuses breed failure and negativity and no one wants to be part of either of those things.
As human beings, we must understand that people are not defined by their failures, they are defined by how they respond to their failures. And if you are making excuses, that means you have failed and you are going to continue to fail. You will develop a negative mindset and attitude that creates failure. Instead of figuring out the path to success, you are creating roadblocks in your mind that tell you, “you can’t.” And as soon as you tell yourself “you can’t”, you won’t.
This self-fulfilling prophecy is the fault of only one person, you. It’s not the coach, the boss, your bad genes, your friends, bad luck, or anything else. You have to own it. You have to wear it. And, you have to embrace it. You have to lean into it, and you have to work harder. Once you realize that you and only you control your success, you are ready to work hard and lose the weight, make the team, get the special assignment, or receive the promotion. You will be ready to embrace a new mindset that will take you down the road to success in every aspect of your life. You will create success that you never dreamed possible. You will have incredible impact.
The Only Person Who Can Stop You Is You
At a young age, my dad instilled this mindset in me, “The only person who can stop you is you.” You cannot win the war against the world until you can win the war occurring in your own mind. And, once you handle the man or women inside of you, the person across from you doesn’t matter anymore. There are enough obstacles in the world without creating obstacles in our own mind that do not really exist. We must control and limit the obstacles created by our own mind. These obstacles are only reality for us. They are not the reality in the real world. And once you realize this, they disappear.
There are plenty of obstacles in the real world, and most of the time, the obstacle is the way. In many instances, the obstacle before you is nothing more than an inconvenience. When we understand this and you understand that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, the word “can’t” vanishes from your vocabulary and you embrace that the obstacles to your success are the way to your success. Some people see the obstacle and some see the prize. Those who see the obstacle get the obstacle. Those who see the prize get the prize. It really is that simple.
It’s true. If we are focused on the “reasons why” we cannot accomplish something, they become the reason we fail. Focusing on and obsessing on obstacles is like placing them under a microscope. They appear bigger and more difficult than they really are. It shapes our perception and sends negative messages to our mind, which in turn tells us it is too hard, we can’t, it isn’t possible.
If we focus on the prize, we find a way to overcome the obstacles and we get the prize. Great leaders become so hyper-focused on the prize that they don’t even see the obstacles. They have trained their brains to naturally solve, go around, or go right through them. People who see the prize realize there is always a way. The way may not always be easy, but when we keep our eyes on the prize, our brain figures out a way to solve, work around, and go through the obstacles. There is no other choice. Once we decide we are getting the prize and believe we can, the entire game changes. We adapt, we overcome, we figure it out, and we succeed. When we are confronted with problems, our brain automatically begins to formulate solutions. And in the process of achieving the prize, we grow as leaders and are more prepared to face the next challenge.
People with this mindset see challenge as opportunity. They realize that the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity. They see and embrace these moments as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. These moments build character and they build confidence, and confidence is more than 90% of success. A confident mindset is all about how you talk to yourself, a belief in yourself. Confidence allows you to know that “you can” and have the determination and perseverance to push through or go around any obstacle to get there.
Winning the Battle Between Your Ears
In my day to day leadership coaching, I talk a lot about, “Winning the battle between your ears.” This is the toughest battle of all. Researchers believe we have between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day, and 80% of those thoughts are negative. Conservatively, that is 40,000 negative thoughts a day. People are always struggling with the battle between their ears. One of my favorite sayings is, “Thoughts become actions and actions change the world.” What you think about becomes what you believe, what you pursue, and what you become. If you are telling yourself you are not good enough, you are not attractive enough, that nobody likes you, that you are weak, or that you can’t accomplish the task in front of you, your confidence decreases in all of these areas and your chances for success significantly decreases. Your natural tendency will be to make excuses for your failures and shortcomings when in fact the reasons for your failures and shortcomings lies in your mindset and can be overcome with some simple mindset changes.
Winning the battle between your ears begins with your intentional mindset to talk positive to yourself. It begins with really knowing who you are and accepting and loving that person. It is intentionally identifying your good and great qualities, identifying areas for improvement, and mitigating your weaknesses. It is accepting the fact that everyone has room to grow, accepting yourself for who you are today, and deciding who you want to be tomorrow.
This is much easier for some people than it is for others. We are all a product of our experiences, and the external factors in our life matter. Who we surround ourselves with matters. And for a person who is struggling to win the battle between his or her ears, surrounding himself or herself with positive people will help create a solid foundation for this transformation.
Drive Your Own Car
So much of what happens in the world on a day to day basis is beyond our control, but how we respond and what we choose to do with our life is 100% in our control. We are the drivers of our own car. We can go anywhere we choose. We can choose everything from our friends, where we go to school, and where we work, to what we eat, whether or not we workout, and what time we go to sleep at night. While I would agree there are external factors that put pressure on these decisions, in the end we have the freedom to choose. In the end, we decide.
We decide who our friends are, we decide if we are going to go to college, we decide what career we choose, we set our own goals, and we choose who we marry and spend our lives with. We choose all of these things. And at any moment, we can choose differently.
We must understand, that no matter what we choose there will always be obstacles. There will always be bumps in the road, setbacks, and yes…failure. How our mind interprets these things will pave the way for what will come next. We must learn to convert the phrase “why me”, the motto of a victim, to “try me”, the mantra of a winner. We have to understand that failure makes winners and champions stronger. Failure makes winners and champions hungrier. Nobody who has had great success in this world stopped at their 1st, 10th, 100th, or even 1,000th failure. They had a determination and a belief that they would succeed and because of that they did. Ask Thomas Edison. He failed 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb.
The Mindset of a Champion
It is how we respond to failure that separates victims and champions. It is how we respond to failure that determines who we are. Champions realize you cannot develop strength without resistance. Champions realize that fear is a first-class ticket to failure. Champions decide not to be the authors of their own misery and they understand that “you” are the biggest enemy to your dreams. Because you are the only one who can decide to stop pursuing your dreams. Champions understand that the tougher the circumstances, the further you have to lean in, and they know that decisions leading to success or failure are made between “you and you.” Champions understand the power of visualization and visualize themselves being successful. They tell themselves they can, and they tell themselves they will. They say things to themselves like, “you got this”, “you can do this”, “you are good enough”, “you deserve this”, and “try me.” Champions own the responsibility of their success and failure. Champions understand that the toughness of an individual is not determined by how hard they can hit. It is determined by how hard they can get hit and get back up. Champions control what is theirs to control and let go of what they cannot control.
The margin between success and failure can be thin, but there is no way to achieve greatness and maximize impact without the mindset of a champion. The way we talk to ourselves matters. Champions understand the way they intentionally perceive the world and struggles around them determines their success or failure. Through this perception champions develop a positive mindset that fuels confidence and success. This mindset allows them to generate the impact they were put on this world to create.
About the author: Danny Langloss is a keynote speaker on leadership, specializing in creating leadership cultures, mindset, creating ownership, employee engagement, high performing teams, and organizational excellence.
Danny recently released a series of articles titled, "Creating a Culture of Leadership." Links to this series can be found below.
He is currently the City Manager in Dixon, Illinois. Prior to being promoted to this position, Danny served on the police department for 21 years, the last 10 years as police chief.
“Creating a Culture of Leadership”, which can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/creating-culture-leadership-danny-langloss/
“Creating a Culture of Leadership: It’s All About The People” can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/creating-culture-leadership-its-all-people-danny-langloss/?trackingId=hrqfCslBQXKsnGbMwtZaoQ%3D%3D
"Creating a Culture of Leadership: Onboarding" can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6656545704397283328/
"Crisis Leadership: 3 Pillars of Leadership Cultures That Change the Game" can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/crisis-leadership-3-pillars-cultures-change-game-danny-langloss/
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