Recently, I was watching the press conference for Yankee catcher, Jorge Posada’s retirement from baseball. As Jorge spoke, reflected on his career and answered questions from the media, I couldn’t help but think about a story I once heard about the young Posada in Puerto Rico.

When Jorge was just starting out in baseball, Jorge Sr. insisted that Jorge become a switch-hitter, but Jorge hated batting left-handed.

“He cried and he cried, and he cried, because in the game he would strike out, and strike out, and strike out,” his father said.

In fact, in his first 17 left-handed at-bats, the young Jorge struck out each time.

Then, in his 18th at-bat Jorge hit a home run. After he rounded the bases, the proud young Jorge said, “Oh father, thank you. Thank you, father.”

The greatest athletes in the world know that persistence pays off.

Are you willing to put off what you want now for what you want most?


Everyone knows Tony Robbins, the self-help guru who built a peak performance empire.

Did you know when Tony Robbins was younger, he washed his dishes in his bathtub because he didn’t have a working kitchen sink?

See, you don’t need to be great at the start, but you need to start to be great. You may not be washing dishes in your bathtub, but if you’re reading this, I know you want to get better. In sports, we often have a little negative voice inside our heads: “I can’t do this” or “I can’t do that.” When we hear this little negative voice, we should accept it, let it go and continue on our path of hard work and constant improvement.

I don’t care where you are…I care where you want to be.


A big part of sports (and life) is persistence. Hanging on.

When I gave my recent talk at TEDxPrincetonLibrary, I talked about the word “hope” being an acronym—Hold On Possibilities Exist.

What do most people do when adversity strikes?

They give up.

Do you know what the great ones do?

They hang on until they catch on.

They get fascinated instead of frustrated.

They get intrigued instead of irritated.

If you stick with it when times are tough, you will most likely come out on top.

Why? Because not many people will be left.

If you do what everyone else does, you’ll get what everyone else gets.

Be great today.


Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.

Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times when trying to invent the lightbulb.

Derek Jeter started his professional baseball career so poorly that he called home nearly every night crying.

Did Michael Jordan give up?


Did Thomas Edison give up?


Did Derek Jeter give up?


Did Elmer McAllister give up?

You don’t know who Elmer McAllister is?!?

That’s because he gave up.


My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.

Think this message is only about baseball?

Think again.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to Nate Kunnen and Dan Beedle in Michigan.

How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.
-MARTIN LUTHER, German priest

By request, I was asked to blog about how to sustain motivation and how to persist and have inner strength. Two separate requests which are actually related.

It’s that time of year where people are looking to become more fit, get better grades, be a better romantic partner or save more money. I don’t know if I am a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, but I do know that most people don’t stick with them.

Do you want to be like most people?

Today, one of my students told me that in school they were making New Year’s Resolutions. The teacher said that most people don’t stick with their resolutions, so this year they were going to make resolutions they definitely couldn’t break, like:

1. Ice skate with the Queen of England.
2. Eat a live frog.
3. Date a Sports Illustrated model.

When I heard this assignment, I said to myself, “NO! This teacher doesn’t get it.”

It’s not about just keeping your resolution, is it?

To me, resolutions are made to better yourself, to kick-start a new you. And to lead by example so that everyone around you wants to become better as well.

It’s January 3rd…Everyone is motivated right now. But by the last week of January, most resolutions will be broken.

So how do you sustain motivation?

How do you persist and gain inner strength?

1. Understand that motivation is not a feeling, it is an ACTION. Do what you need to do, when you need to do it, whether you feel like it or not.

2. Understand that you already have inner strength, but you have to make your goals important enough. Think of it this way, if someone knew that if they smoked a cigarette today, they would get lung cancer tomorrow, would they still do it? Of course not. So we have the will-power, we just have to exercise it.

3. Use my 15-minute rule when you don’t “feel” like persisting. Whatever it is you have to do (work out, study, make calls, clean the house), just do it for 15 minutes and then you can stop. But you won’t. Once you start you get into it and you will keep going. But most people don’t even begin.

I planned on going to the gym tonight after work at 9pm, but I didn’t feel like it.

I did it anyway.


Because anyone can do something when they feel like it. I like doing things when I DON’T feel like it.

So tonight, I not only worked out my body, I worked out my mind.

You can too.

Final words:
Don’t quit, can’t fail.


With Billie Jean King at my US Open book signing

Champions keep playing until they get it right.

I once had a student who began playing tournaments. In her first tournament, she lost first round. In the next tournament, she had the same result. And the next, and the next. For practically the first year, she didn’t get past the first round.

I told her, “This is a great way to improve, learn and develop as a player.”

She agreed with me, although she wanted better results. Well, she stuck with it and then started getting results.

She started winning some matches. She got to the 2nd round, then the 3rd and now it is rare if she doesn’t make it to at least the semifinals. She is also on her high school varsity team.

Most people give up too soon. They want immediate results. The great ones persist.

You need to hang on until you catch on.

Winning may feel good temporarily, but you learn more from losses.

The two most important questions you can ask yourself after a game/match/practice session are:

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how did I play?

2. What can I do differently next time to get to a 10?

Focus on constant improvement and as a by-product, you will win more.


“Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.” -TED WILLIAMS

If people knew how close to success they were when they quit, they would have kept going. Persistence is one of the keys to success.

On Friday, I was having lunch with Tom Jolly, sports editor of the New York Times and we were talking about how most people give up too early. They quit after initial failure.

The ones that succeed stick with it just a little longer.

When you feel frustrated, keep going because that is when most people quit. If you continue while everyone else is dropping like flies, guess who will be left?



Here’s a secret…

It’s easier to do something every day than it is to do once in a while.

This is important, so let me repeat it…

It’s easier to do something every day than it is to do once in a while.

It’s easier to workout every day.

It’s easier to eat healthy every day.

It’s easier to give all-out effort every day.

It’s easier to practice the violin every day.

Why does this work?

Because when you do something every day, it becomes a habit.

You can’t NOT do it.

When you do something once in a while, you have to motivate yourself to do it.

What are you going to start to do every day?

Leave your comments below.