Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lou Holtz and Harvey Mackay

Got this in my email a couple of days ago:

Always follow the Doctor's advice

I recently returned from New York where I was able to see my very close friend Lou Holtz get inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He certainly has had a distinguished career.

As many of you know, Lou left coaching and joined ESPN four years ago as an in-studio analyst of college football. This past fall, Lou and his boss, Gerry Matalon, created a wildly successful weekly segment called "Dr. Lou." Each three and a half-minute segment aired at halftime of ESPN's primetime college football game on Thursday nights and then was replayed several times during the weekend.

The segments start off with a comment from Dr. Lou, followed by a couple of questions from some well-known sports and entertainment people, and ending with a closing comment.

Lou's motivational lessons are priceless, so I thought I would share some of my favorites. After all, Lou has been my personal therapist for more than 25 years and he hasn't charged me a co-pay yet. I have a healthy case of Dr. Lou fever.

In the first segment Dr. Lou asked himself what qualifications he has to be called a "doctor." The classic Holtz answer: "Well, I did graduate in the lower half of my class .... I have written three New York Times bestsellers and am the only person who has written more books than I've read. I have four honorary doctor degrees. And my mother loves me."

Here are some gems from Dr. Lou:

Tim Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner as a sophomore quarterback at the University of Florida, asked how he can lead the Florida Gators to the SEC championship. Dr. Lou answered: "The good Lord put eyes in the front of your head rather than the back so you can see where you are going rather than where you've been. If you want to lead, you have to be significant. Significant is when you help other people be successful. And by other people I mean your teammates. You do that by encouraging them and being positive. You have to continually ask them how you can help them."

Dr. Lou told Lloyd Carr, the retired football coach at the University of Michigan: "Make sure you always have four things in your life: Something to do, someone to love, something to hope for and something to believe in."

Actor Mark Wahlberg asked Dr. Lou for advice on how his beloved Boston College Eagles could defeat Lou's Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Lou admitted that when he hears Boston College he goes "crazy." In 1993, Notre Dame was 10-0 and ranked #1 in the country when they played 9th ranked Boston College and lost 41-39 on the last play of the game. "I was devastated. I was bitter. I was upset at everybody. I learned that you can't tell people about your problems. 90 percent don't care and the other 10 percent are glad you have them. You can't go through life being bitter."

Dr. Lou always ends up with some closing thought for the week. Here's a sampling:

  • "If you want some great advice, don't ask Dr. Lou. Ask your spouse. There's no one who loves you any more, wants you to succeed any more or will be any more honest with you."
  • "Progress requires this: You cannot steal second base and keep one foot on first. For every person who tells you you can do something, you'll find 99 people who say you can't. Don't be discouraged by the 99, but be encouraged by the one person who believes in you."
  • "Believe in yourself. You can't satisfy everyone. Just make sure that you please yourself."
  • "There are two different types of people: Those who lift you up and those who pull you down. Lift people up; don't pull them down."
  • "As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, 'What lies ahead of you and what lies behind you is of very little importance when compared to what lies within you.' If determination lies within you, you'll be able to find a solution to all your problems."

Mackay's Moral: My favorite from Dr. Lou: "10 percent of you won't remember 10 percent of what is said 10 minutes after it's said. But I hope it will cause you to think. I hope all of you have the desire to dream, the courage to win, the faith to believe and the will to succeed."

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