Stop Bullshitting Yourself!

Stop Bullshitting Yourself!

Coach John Wooden, was one of American’s most respected and revered basketball players and coaches. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” he led the UCLA men’s basketball team to ten national championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven in a row. Within this period, his teams won a men’s record 88 consecutive games.

When I stop and admire the accomplishments of people before me, from famous athletes, to CEO’s, to coaches, to philanthropists, to poets and / or artists, I’m reminded that success leaves clues.

Coach Wooden’s unprecedented success is something I deeply admire! His TED Talk, “The Difference between Winning and Succeeding,” has been viewed over 3.8 million times. In it, Mr. Wooden shares stories about his childhood, his life as a coach, and the beliefs that shaped his success!

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.02.28 PMWooden’s definition of success truly resonates with me. He states that, “success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

Early in my childhood, my parents would encourage me to “do my best” at everything I embarked on. At the time, I thought it was a nice gentle way of getting me to do the things they believed were important to me, such as securing A grades or keeping my first job.

The actual advice is what helped me get to where I am and what continues to drive me. The truth is, you can’t bullshit yourself … maybe you believe you can BS others but no one can BS themselves.

Try this, the next time you have a presentation or pitch with a prospective client, ask yourself this simple question:

Is this truly the best <insert what you’re doing> I am capable of?

Nine times out of ten, you could do better. This isn’t meant to put you down or to have you always questioning yourself; instead it’s meant to help cut through the BS we feed ourselves and aim to win!

I use this exact question every time I embark on a new project, task, talk or blog. It helps to ensure I provide the world with the best that I can do. The absolute best. Not kind-of-the-best, not sort-of-the-best, but only the very-damn-best I know I’m capable of doing.

Early in my career, someone told me a story about doing my best, which continues to inspire me. There was once a professor and a student. The professor asked the student to submit a report on philosophy by a certain date. The student went home, put his head down, did his research and submitted his work on time to his professor. The professor looked at the student’s paper, wrote a small note and returned it to the student without saying a word. The note said, “Is this the best you can do?” The student, upset with the comment, went home and did additional research, this time putting more effort and attention into his work. The student then handed his paper in again awaiting grading. The professor reviewed the student’s work and again without saying anything wrote another note on the students work, “Is this the best you can do?”

The student received his paper and went home enraged, furious and determined to show his teacher wrong. This time, when the student went home, he was determined to do it differently. He researched more than ever, rewrote entire sections, had it reviewed by ten people and reviewed it once more for perfection. The student walked into the classroom and submitted the paper to his professor as he did in the past. The professor looked at his work and again wrote the same note, “Is this the best you can do?” The student looked up and said in defiance, “Yes, this is the best I can do!” The professor looked at him, smiled and said, “Okay. Now I’ll begin to grade your paper!”

The next time you’re embarking on something big or small, ask yourself, “Is this the best I can do?” If it truly is without BS’ing yourself – congratulations! You’re on your way to winning!

Tony Gareri

Read Next

Learn how to captivate and connect with a crowd in Roma Moulding CEO, Tony Gareri’s latest blog, Avoid Disaster on Stage – 4 Must Do’s!
Avoid Disaster on Stage – 4 Must Do’s!
Read Next Post On


  1. Gordon Thain Says: June 9, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Very interesting – love learning from the best like John Wooden and I appreciate the TEDTalk!

  2. Cat Addision Says: June 9, 2015 at 9:18 am

    WOW – that story was awesome. I’m going to tell that story to a bunch of stories!

  3. Doris Pontieri Says: June 9, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Great blog…fantastic video. Listening to John Wooden speak was inspiring.

  4. Rich Huisman Says: June 9, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Love the blog especially the John Wooden video. He is one of the most inspiring and humble leaders you’ll ever listen to. It’s no surprise that he’s been so successful!

  5. Rusti Gioiosa Says: June 9, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Inspirational Blog Tony and thank you for including the Ted video! John Wooden lived by certain principles which were embedded in who he was.He structured his life and the lives of his player’s on these set of principles. Solid principles are the cornerstone of success.

  6. My mom was always chiming something similar when I was little “Compare yourself with the ones who are better than you, not the ones worse than you.”

  7. Jason Leung Says: June 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Love the student teacher story. Awesome focus on doing things differently and always showing up at your best each and every time!

  8. Anthony Araguz Says: June 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Great read.. thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. Jo Anne Garcia Says: June 9, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Not a fan of UCLA, but a HUGE fan of John Wooden! So inspirational, loved the video!! Great principles to follow and share!! Thanks Tony!!

  10. Jay Georgi Says: June 9, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing

  11. Dan Josephson Says: June 9, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I’ve read J Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success.” Like the man, himself…very inspiring.

  12. Jack Carpenter Says: June 9, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    AWSOME BLOG!!! Wooden was tremendously inspiring and a Brilliant leader.

  13. Tania Santana Says: June 11, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Great video, truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  14. Jayanna Says: June 15, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I appreciate the professor/ student analogy

Have a Question? Ask Me Anything!

Join Tony's Culture Community!

SIGN ME UP! don't show this again [ X ]