From What It Takes To Be Number One by Vince Lombardi
Habits are those actions that get us through our day without a whole lot of conscious thought on our part. It’s our habits, those actions that flow from our thoughts, beliefs, and words, that distinguish winners from everyone else. Dostoyevsky wrote, “It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man’s life is usually made up of the habits he has accumulated in the first half.”
Where do our habits come from? The principal building blocks of habits are beliefs. A belief is your conviction that something is true and that you are in the “Belief Business.” It is the quality of your beliefs—“This is the kind of person I am”—that determines your habits, which in turn, determine your character.
Beliefs are formed by self-talk. With this self-talk, you are constantly evaluating in a positive or negative manner what is going on around you. Your focus is not on whatis actually happening around you (the truth) buton what you think is happening, as you believeit to be. Over time, this self-talk accumulatesinto a positive or a negative opinion of yourselfand your situation. This belief and opinionwill subsequently be reflected in your words,actions, habits, and ultimately, character.
Of course, beliefs are only as good as the self-talk that created them (garbage in, garbage out). But good or bad, beliefs are the springboard for your words, actions, habits, and success. Coach Lombardi was acutely aware of this self-talk connection—belief, action, habit—and he was constantly trying to influence his players’ self-talk. Herb Adderley, Packers All-Pro cornerback, recalls Lombardi talking to him after a game against the Chicago Bears. “You just played the best game I’ve ever seen a cornerback play. This game was on national television. I’m sure the people who saw the game feel the same way. Keep this in mind—each time you go out on the field, say to yourself, ‘I want these people, when they leave here, to say to themselves that they saw the best cornerback they have ever seen.’” Coach Lombardi was at work building the habit of winning.
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