Wayne Gretzky on the brain . . .

03.14.11 // My Mondays

So, I randomly spewed out one of my favorite quotations yesterday on a friend’s naked dry erase board as it hung from his fridgidaire – obviously thirsty for some inspirtaion.  I chose to scrawl out some words from el senor Gretzky, and they went a little something like this:

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Thanks to my pops, this is a line that I’ve grown up on; it has been a constant reference point as I continue to move forward and encounter endless crossroads, obstacles, big decisions.  It’s brief, succint, and awesomely potent.  Kazah!

Sport as metaphor for life can be super effective, as can hearing words from an underdog who found grand success, or even just being offered some unsolicited words of motivation.  Now having Gretzky on the brain (and an awesome headache ta boot), I figured I’d let him do most of the talking for me today.

wayne gretzky quote

Below is a short article regarding the awesomeness that can be imparted by Gretzky, followed by some of his quotations.  I am a huge proponent of quotations, so I hope you will be able to glean at least a spark of inspiration or motivation (if not both!) from the words below.

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As a result of a lifetime of hard work and practice, Wayne Gretzky was able to lead his team to 4 Stanley Cup winsAs a result of a lifetime of hard work and practice, Wayne Gretzky was able to lead his team to 4 Stanley Cup wins.

Wayne Gretzky is legendary on the ice.  He did not become a legend overnight and had no physical advantages.  When he began in the NHL, he stood 6ft tall and weighed in at 160 pounds.  Many critics claimed that Wayne Gretzky was “too small, too wiry, and too slow to be a force in the NHL.”  The critics were absolutely correct about The Great One’s size.  The critics did not account for hard work, intelligence, knowledge of the game, and vision.  Let’s hear directly from Wayne Gretzky’s quotes, and look into their wisdom.

“The only way a kid is going to practice is if it’s total fun for him… and it was for me.” – Wayne Gretzky

The popularity of the “10,000 hours of practice to become an expert” idea is on the rise.  This is not an hour of practice repeated 10,000 times.  It is 10,000 hours of increasingly difficult tasks.  To practice this much it not only needs to be “total fun” for a child, but it also needs to be “total fun” for adults.  To become an expert, practice every day without fail:

  • One hour per day requires 27 years 139 days to become an expert
  • Two hours per day requires 13 years 252 days to become an expert
  • Three hours per day requires 9 years 46 days to become an expert
  • Four hours per day requires 6 years 308 days to become an expert

Are you willing to commit that consistent effort into becoming an expert?  Only if you love it.  If you are not willing to commit the effort, do not expect children to commit such effort.

“The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.” – Wayne Gretzky

The harder you work every day, the better you will become.  In Wayne Gretzky’s auto-biography he said:

“All I wanted to do in the winters was be on the ice. I’d get up in the morning, skate from 7:00 to 8:30, go to school, come home at 3:30, stay on the ice until my mom insisted I come in for dinner, eat in my skates, and then go back out until 9:00. On Saturdays and Sundays we’d have huge games, but nighttime became my time. It was a sort of unwritten rule around the neighborhood that I was to be out there myself or with my dad.”

With that desire to skate, play hockey, and practice, it is not a surprise that Wayne Gretzky is now recognized as the best hockey player ever.  That is 6 hours a day of practice in the winter.  If the winter lasts 4 months in Canada it would have taken him almost 14 years to become a true expert.  Since he practiced starting at 3 years old, he was able to begin his NHL career at 18.

“I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for, and that’s the way I’ll be as a coach.” – Wayne Gretzky

You need to expect results from hard work and proper practice.  If you are frustrated with your skill level, start working hard and improvements will come.  I started this blog to improve my writing skills.  I loved to write when I was younger, read and wrote a lot as a Philosophy major in college, but I still feel that my skills are insufficient.  Ask yourself, what do I want to improve upon in my life?  Write down five things you want to be better at, choose one you love and get started.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

This is absolutely true.  Listen to your gut! Whatever your intuition is telling you to go after, stop debating, and go after it!

  • Ask out that special person you have a crush on
  • Start the business you have been dreaming about.  I did, and Tasty Minstrel Games exists as a result
  • Find the most cost effective way to bring your invention to market
  • Market yourself directly to the company you want to work for.  It worked out very well for Jamie Varon, who started www.twittershouldhireme.com

If you are going to start a business, just make sure that you are investing as little as possible without being ‘stupid cheap’.  In today’s marketplace, you can start an online business with less than $350.  The most important thing is to get started.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzky

Out of all of the Wayne Gretzky quotes mentioned, this has the most wisdom.  Do not look at other experts, markets, and trends to see where you should be.  Look to where those experts, markets, and trends need to be in the future.  As you continue to look to “where the puck is going to be”, you will start driving the puck to yourself.

As Wayne Gretzky became increasingly recognized as the best hockey player, do you think he saw where the puck would be, or did his team get the puck to him, because they wanted to win?  Bring the puck to you by helping others win.  Another purpose of this blog, other than improving upon my writing, is to help other people win.  As I help other people win, the puck will come to me, and with the puck come the spoils.

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Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.

A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

I don’t like my hockey sticks touching other sticks, and I don’t like them crossing one another, and I kind of have them hidden in the corner. I put baby powder on the ends. I think it’s essentially a matter of taking care of what takes care of you.

It’s kind of ironic when I broke in at 17, I was told I was too small, too slow and I wouldn’t make the NHL.

I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; everything I did in hockey I worked for, and that’s the way I’ll be as a coach.

He just has to get off to the kind of start that he’s capable of and it’s as simple as that.

The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.

I heard people say, ‘Why would he want to do this?’ My answer is ‘Why not?’ It is what I love. It’s what I know.

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with passion & gratitude — jbish

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