On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 9, 2013 #453 Up next…”Accentuate the Positive”
After further review…”Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive!” Johnny Mercer’s beloved 1945 standard ruled the optimistic roost until “What A Wonderful World” (written by Bob Thiele, recorded by Louis Armstrong) came along in 1967. And though both classics have the whiff of antiquity now, we still see examples of positive attitude every day. This writer may have recently chastised movie and sports stars for their egregious behavior, but there are many others who are “Wonderful World” role models. As an example, take Ashton Kutcher, star of the popular sitcom “Two and a Half Men”.
Kutcher recently spoke to a teen-age audience at the “Teen Choice Awards”. I watched that speech and later saw him interviewed on a talk show where he reiterated his approach to life. Kutcher said, “I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a steppingstone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. The sexiest thing in the entire world is being smart and being thoughtful and being generous”.
I can hear former coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, saying the same thing. I can hear NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald, Robert Griffin III and the Manning brothers (Peyton and Eli) echoing this message to teenagers. Many sport stars are sincere with their positive messages and generous with their time and energy helping others.
The teenagers cheered loudly for Kutcher, their attention captured by the “sexy” energy of his message. But will they heed those words by following that advice into action? In the sales world we say “Nothing happens until somebody sells something”. Kutcher laid down a challenge before those kids: You’ll be lucky to have a job; don’t take anything for granted!
The millennium generation often seems stuck on the concept of entitlement. That may be coloring them with too broad a brush, but an important lesson that Kutcher and the sports stars are providing for them is that nothing comes for free. There is no guarantee of the result. It’s one’s effort, perseverance, and desire that are needed to reach success. It helps, along that path, to “E-lim-i-nate the Negative” and “Don’t’ mess with Mr. In Between” (thanks, Mr. Mercer).
Will you design your path with smartness, thoughtfulness and generosity?