#1711 Does the Fight Continue?

Constant, Relentless Industriousness & Enthusiasm

In the last several +1s, we’ve been exploring wisdom from John Wooden’s GREAT book Wooden on Leadership.

Today we’re going to continue that discussion.

We’re going to talk about one of THE most important qualities of success.

Let’s get straight to work.

Wooden tells us: “Good things take time, usually lots of time. Achieving worthwhile goals requires Intentness. There are setbacks, losses, unexpected reversals, hardships, bad luck. Does the fight continue? The team will look to you for the answer. When thwarted, you go over, under, or around. Perhaps you do the same thing again—only better and harder. In the face of severe adversity, this conduct is only possible with Intentness, the willingness to persevere when hardship is forced upon you and those you lead.”

He continues by saying: “I had intentness for 28 years as a coach at the high school and college level—intent on doing my best to help others do their best. In my twenty-ninth year of coaching, something remarkable occurred: UCLA won a national championship. Intentness was required for this to happen.”

And, finally, he tells us: “Industriousness and Enthusiasm are a powerful combination, essential to Success. But the great force they produce must be constant, ongoing, relentless, and unremitting—Intentness.”

That’s from chapter #2 of his book: “The Pyramid’s Second Tier.”

Industriousness (the willingness to WORK HARD!) and Enthusiasm (bringing a profound JOY to our work) are the two cornerstones of our Pyramid of (Eudaimonic!) Success.


I repeat…

HARD WORK and ENTHUSIASM are the engines of greatness.


Our Industriousness and our Enthusiasm must be, to quote Wooden: CONSTANT. ONGOING. RELENTLESS. UNREMITTING.

As Phil Stutz likes to jokingly say in our 1-on-1 sessions, most “normal” people like to work hard for a week and a half and then want to pack their bags for their next vacation.

Of course, oscillating and integrating the multiple facets of our lives is essential for our sustainable success.


We MUST embrace the CONSTANT, ONGOING, RELENTLESS, and UNREMITTING Industriousness and Enthusiasm required to activate (and forge!) our Heroic potential. Period.

btw: When I type the word “Relentless,” I think of Tim Grover’s book Relentless. I also think of David Goggins’s Never Finished. (Check out those Notes.)


When I typed out the first words of that passage about good things “taking time, usually lots of time,” I thought of this gem from Epictetus: “No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”

I also thought of wisdom my mentor William Damon shared with me when I reached out to him for guidance days after I founded Heroic Public Benefit Corporation.

When I asked him what ONE thing he wanted me to have in mind as I set out on my Heroic quest, he told me to expect it to be a LOT harder than I thought it would be.

Laughing as I type this, but let’s just say his wisdom was presciently spot on. I think of him often as I eat challenges as energy bars and commit to playing the long game—doing whatever it takes for however long it takes to have a shot at fulfilling our Mission.

One more thing before we wrap up Today’s +1.

When most people think of Wooden, they think of his 10 championships in 12 years, the 88-game winning streak and all that. They rarely think about the THREE DECADES (!) of HARD WORK that PRECEDED the FIRST championship.

Wooden was 53 when he won his first championship.

Once he figured it out, HE FIGURED IT OUT.

Keep that in mind as YOU move from Theory to Practice to Mastery.


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