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Issue 188 - A Great Deal of Talent May be Lost for the Want of a Little Courage

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 4 Issue 188
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This favorite quote of Coach Wooden was originated by English Clergyman Sydney Smith (1771-1845).
This idea goes along perfectly with the Pyramid of Success, in which Coach Wooden identified 15 character traits or personal qualities a person would need to have to reach their potential.
The blocks are placed in a sequence which builds as each character trait is added. The first seven blocks on the Pyramid have to do with developing talent.
  1. You must work hard, plan carefully and pay attention to detail (Industriousness).
  2. You must enjoy what you are doing and be a positive influence on others (Enthusiasm).
  3. You must be able to get along well with others (Friendship, Loyalty and Cooperation).
  4. You must have your emotions under control in order to perform at your peak capability (Self-Control).
  5. You must be observing, open-minded and eager to constantly improve (Alertness).
A person who has all these qualities in a particular area would certainly be considered talented.
The next two blocks on the Pyramid say that you must have courage to act on that talent for it to be developed.
The two blocks are initiative and intentness. You must not be afraid to act when action is needed, and if it doesn't work out you must not give up. Initiative + Intentness = Courage.
Once you have the courage to test your talent, if you are properly conditioned, you will develop a skill. But without the courage to test your talent it will be lost.
In his book Talent is Never Enough, John Maxwell wrote a commentary about Winston Churchill that demonstrated this idea:
Before he joined the Army, Winston Churchill had a desire to create a reputation for bravery, but he didn't know whether he had the talent for it. To make that discovery, he went to Cuba. His goal was to test his courage in a relatively controlled and somewhat safer environment than he thought he would face in India, it was what he called a "private rehearsal". He understood that a person doesn't know what he's really made of until tested. If we fear the test then we will never get a chance to develop the talent.
Churchill’s  talent in leading Great Britain in WWII was developed because he had the courage to test it first.
Don't waste your talent. Use your courage to test it.

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


The Snow Storm


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
Come see the north wind’s masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 






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