Recently, the entire basketball community was saddened to hear that a revered NBA player by the name of Moses Malone passed away. Malone was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players.
Charles Barkley who played with him in the beginning of his career in Philadelphia was asked to speak at the funeral. During his eulogy he spoke of the role Malone took in his career and called him a father to him. He made quite a few humorous remarks from their days together but there was one piece of advice that Charles received that stood out the most to me. Malone was chastising Barkley for his laziness. When Charles protested this assumption, Malone told him the following:
The advice is simple and each of us at some point in our life may have received some sort of similar advice but I wonder if we have really heard this for what it is meant to be. It is mean to be a call to action.
Suddenly it seems we have a culture of laziness in our country. People have higher expectations and are more optimistic than any other time in history. Apparently as a country we have raised confident and optimistic children. The country has also produced a very lazy work force. These two wouldn't seem like they go together but the truth is that the confidence that has been created has developed completely independent of the idea of work.
With the advent of microwaves, computers and cell phones, our society waits for nothing. The answer to virtually every single question is at our fingertips in ways it has never been before. Nobody has to actually be patient anymore. Because of this, people expect success and money to come quick. The focus is now on labels and dollars.
Today people are anxious to move ahead, to make more money, have a fancy title, receive perks etc. Generally in my experience there are three types of people in the workplace
money is the priority
titles and forward movement are the priority
head down, work hard and hope someones gives me an opportunity
the first two groups tend to be the squeakiest wheels of the group. They were taught to speak up and ask for what they wanted, they were told they were the best, they were told that anything is possible
they had money and all that goes with that. This is not to imply that everyone is rich but parents of the last couple of generations worked hard to provide their children with things they never had so 5 year olds have i-phones and i-pads. High school kids wear designer labels as the rule instead of the exception now.
Very few have heard the word no.
I originally wrote this post weeks ago and put it on hold because I know it may be controversial so let me clarify something...not all "millenials" are like this...not all parents coddle their children...no all who never hear the word no end up being lazy. But as a general society/culture I think we can all agree that there is a marked difference between the world we live in today and that of the past when we talk about work ethic and effort. I don't blame parents, teachers or anyone else. I blame the computer, the cell phone, social media...yup I said it. The reason that people don't know the difference between hard work and a sense of entitlement is simple, they don't have to. When everything is so easily accessible things like that get swept away.
How do we then convince people that laziness isn't in their best interest and that they do in fact have to "work for" whatever it is they want? I'm going to share a little secret with you, as with most of the the things I write about, I have no idea the answer to this question. I can only share my experience. My experience, just like yours is the most amazing tool for education, here are a few of the things it has taught me.
Mentors change everything - Just like Charles, I too have had people call me out on my crap and when someone you respect and admire does that, it does something to you. I mean, Harry would have been nothing without Dumbledore and I think we all know that.
Who is your Dumbledore?
Never underestimate the power of a good failure - yeah yeah yeah...Jordan failed a million times and didn't make his high school team...blah blah blah. It's easy to spout out quotes like that but the most driven people take failure as a personal affront...they get mad and instead of taking out on someone else they use it to challenge themselves for the next big thing...
what wonder has occurred because of you failing?
People are always worried about Bob. "What about Bob?" What Bob is doing is none of your business. Do you want to be average or do you want to be amazing? If it is the latter then why would you compare what Bob "gets" away with or does to you? Who cares what he does? It matters what you do and if you spend a chunk of your time worry about Bob, you get less done.
more like "who cares about bob", am I right?
Some people just have bad taste. It's true...I mean did you know there are people out there who DO NOT like ice-cream? I mean how is that even possible? If people can turn down the creamy deliciousness that is mint chocolate chip then obviously those people might not think you are so great either. But like I said, not everyone has good taste so just on't get them something the next time you are in the Baskin Robbins drive-thru line. (YES they do have those.)
do you care if they like your flavor?
so I guess the real question is...
do you want to be Charles Barkley or do you want to be aCarl Herrera?