Golfer Jack Nicklaus beat polio as a boy to become a champion.
Today, though he holds the record for the number of major tournaments won, he remains humble.
Bob Greene, a commentator for CNN and author of the book “Late Edition: A Love Story,” discussed the Nicklaus way of golf – and life – in an April 4, 2014, column in The Wall Street Journal.
Greene says Nicklaus’ theory for golf and life is to do your best, and everything else will take care of itself. He points out that Nicklaus played in the era of Muhammed Ali and Joe Namath, two athletes known for declaring their own greatness and predicting unpredictable victories.
Nicklaus, though, preferred to let other people declare his greatness, Greene says.
Humility is a scarce character trait in people today. Many who rise to power often tell us of their greatness, even before it is achieved. We need more people who don’t just act before they speak, but prefer not to speak at all. Their actions say all that needs to be said.
They may, or may not, object to having others verbalize their greatness. But they see themselves as a person just doing what he loves, or doing what he believes he was created to do – quietly.
It’s been said that one should put his money where his mouth is. Or, one should walk the walk if he talks the talk. Namath and Ali did that, but Nicklaus did it as he remained quiet.
Humble people don’t talk the talk. They just walk the walk. They put their money where it belongs, not near their mouths.
They give and get, and never take. They do their thing without expectation, though they expect much from themselves quietly.
Have you ever had a bombastic boss? How did he treat you, his employee? Did he take a lot from you, while giving you little? Did he make you feel as if he were doing you a favor by employing you? Did you feel that he was more comfortable being served, than serving?
We all have the ability to gain wealth and/or power. How we get it says as much, or more, about a person as the achievement itself.
Humble people accomplish things quietly, yet openly. They accomplish things honestly and give generously. They favor the accomplishment itself, and what it can do for others, rather than what it can do for them. They don’t talk of greatness. They Just Do It, to quote the Nike slogan – and do for others.
Do you consider yourself humble? Do you have goals that you don’t talk about with others, but hold deep inside? Are you genuinely kind to others, and eager to do for others, even when no one is watching?
If so, and are looking for a way to put that genuine goodness to use, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You may find the best thing you can do to help others, and perhaps achieve what you’d like for yourself.
Successful people do more and talk less. Like Nicklaus, they take life one shot at a time. Then, go to the next shot. They do their best each time, all the time. They always give credit to others. As Greene put it, Nicklaus believed his major tournament record would have been broken by now. But, at age 74, he still leads in the clubhouse.


Confidence is a choice.
Sure, results can encourage confidence and failings can discourage it, but whether or not you are confident in any situation is entirely in your hands.
Gregg Steinberg, author of “Full Throttle” and professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University, used golfer Jason Dufner as his example of choosing to be confident. His choice led Dufner to victory in the PGA Championship in August 2013. Steinberg’s column appeared in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville Sept. 1, 2013.
Not everyone finds the choice to be confident easy. Many go into job interviews, tests, and other stressful situations in which one’s performance is evaluated without confidence. Not all of those situations will turn out the way one wants, but if one is confident, failure won’t matter. Next time, or the time after that etc., you will succeed.
People like to be around confident people. As we discussed last week, Andy Andrews, in his book, “The Noticer,” described success as having people WANT to be around you. Confidence will help you persuade people to want to be around you.
Confidence is a shield against the word, “No.” If you don’t fear “No,” you know you are confident. When you don’t fear “No,” you can collect as many of them as are out there and just toss them aside. You have to collect “No’s” to find the “Yeses.”
Are you choosing to be confident yet? If not, Steinberg suggests that you have a planned statement you can say to yourself, or someone else, to inspire your confidence. “I choose to be confident,” is one that Steinberg suggests. Or, “I will not fear No,” “I will win,” are a couple of others.
Steinberg also suggests that you recall a time when you were very confident before delving into your currents stressful situation. Perhaps you were confident you would win when you played on a first-place athletic team. Steinberg suggests that as you think of a time in which you were very confident, write down why you felt that way and carry it with you. As you feel your confidence sliding, take a look at that.
The idea of writing things down is almost universal advice. After all, it’s not money that we all want, it’s success. You encourage success by writing down the things you would do when you are successful – either for yourself or for someone else. Confidence encourages us to help others that need us, and that attitude will encourage our own success.
It’s best not to confuse confidence with arrogance. The choice to be confident is helpful. The choice to be arrogant is not. Confident people are humble. Arrogant people are egotistical. Confident people give to others. Arrogant people take from others.
Remember that situations can inspire confidence, but cannot create it. We must create it ourselves. When we create it ourselves, we display confidence in any situation, and circumstances will be meaningless.
If you have created your own confidence, and are looking for a vehicle in which to apply it, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Check out how people have overcome circumstances to never fear the word, “No,” for they know something many others do not know.
So be confident, be accountable and create a world that until now, you’ve only dreamed of. Write down today what that world would look like, and carry it with you. It will help keep you on your confident path.



There’s no such thing as status quo.
Glenn Furuya, says that in his book “The Little Book With 50 Big Ideas on Leadership.”
We think of status quo as a comfort zone, presuming we are comfortable.
We think of status quo as “the way things are,” as if there is little we can do about them.
We might even think of status quo as a good thing – if, of course, we have it good.
But Furuya says that if we are not growing, we are wilting. There is no such thing as status quo.
Sure, we are not plants. Plants either grow or wilt. They don’t suddenly stop growing unless they are getting ready to die.
But if you look at it from a mental, spiritual or attitudinal perspective, we all want to grow. And, if we stop, even if we have it good, ultimately we will begin to wilt.
Some of us see executives get fired, only to think that they can just sit back because they got paid handsomely to leave. A few may do that. Most will not. They will find something else that will challenge them. Status quo is their enemy. Growth is their friend.
Pro golfer Phil Mickelson finished second at the 2013 U.S. Open tournament. It is the sixth time he’s finished second. He’s never won the tournament, and one might observe that he got paid handsomely each time he finished second. It’s better than finishing back in the pack, as Tiger Woods did at the 2013 U.S. Open.
But Mickelson will not be satisfied with second. He’ll keep going back to the U.S. Open every year as long as he’s able, and as long as he believes he can be competitive. He was not happy with second place, and it wasn’t for financial reasons. It’s all about the desire to win. Second place isn’t exactly wilting, but Mickelson’s been there and done that. It’s time to win.
Most people accept the status quo, even if they don’t like it. They fear taking on something that will get them out of their comfort zone, unless they are forced to. They may hate the status quo, but it’s the “devil they know.”
Others, meanwhile, will always look to grow. They may live with the status quo for a while, but they will always be thinking of, or working on, making things better. They will look out for those opportunities to challenge the status quo. They will take some risk as needed. They will not settle for something they don’t like for the rest of their lives.
Are you that type of person? Are you looking to grow, and fear the status quo will wilt you? Do you feel you are slowly dying on the vine, but aren’t ready to be pruned off, burned or made into compost?
If so, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You don’t have to drop what you are doing now, but you may see options to challenge the status quo that you may never have thought of. You might find the personal growth hormone – not a steroid, mind you – that you need.
As humans, we should be more like plants, but with the ability to think and reason – and continually grow. We may stop growing physically, or we may grow physically in places in which we do not want to grow. But the mind and spirit need to continually grow. Or, they will wilt.
There are lots of manmade things out there that will encourage us to wilt. Keep your eye out for the manmade mental fertilizer that will encourage us to grow.