Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

– Dan Gable

Weeks 9-10 : The Power of Persistence


apping into your “beyond hours” – I first heard the term “beyond” hours used to describe Mark Wahlberg, and his commitment to the film, The Fighter. "It was tough”, Wahlberg said in the article. “Going out and making another movie and still continuing to train for something that may not happen is not an easy thing to do. We're shooting 12 to 14 hours a day on one movie and I'm getting up 2 hours earlier than normal so I can train." To Wahlberg and others like him, beyond hours are the “hours that ignore what's expected and acknowledge what's necessary.” They are the price Joe Lewis was referring to when he said, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

Kirk Ferentz may be the dean of Big Ten football coaches now, but in his first term, the 1999 University of Iowa Hawkeyes went 0-8 in the conference. It must have been a pretty lonely off-season, with Kirk traveling only by night, and avoiding comedy clubs.

But with the dawn of a new campaign, Kirk came armed with two fresh weapons – a big boulder and an accompanying slogan, “beat the rock.” Kirk told his puzzled athletes that the rock symbolized the struggle necessary to become a championship level program. “Breaking the rock”, Kirk asserted, “is not something that happens easily or overnight. Rather it takes months, perhaps even years, of hard work – chiseling a way bit by bit. While I can’t tell you when it will happen,” he said, “I promise if you do that, it will.”

The rock was finally broken in 2002 when the Hawkeyes swept through the Big Ten Conference schedule with an undefeated record of 8 wins and no losses. The Big Ten Champions had an Iowa best eleven Hawkeyes honored as First-Team All-Big Ten selections. In a symbolic gesture, Kirk had the boulder removed from the football facility and shattered into hundreds of pieces. He not only gave a stone to each of his current players, but all the athletes who had labored on that rock before them.

The world is littered with talented people who didn’t put in the hours, who didn’t persist, who gave up too early, who thought they could ride on talent alone. Meanwhile, people who might have less talent pass them by. Beethoven wrote 60 to 70 drafts of a single phrase of music. Hall of Famer, Ted Williams hit practice pitches until his hands bled.
What rock are you trying to break?


12-Item Grit Scale
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Read after completing exercise: Angela Duckworth developed a test to measure what she describes as “grit.” The Grit Scale is a deceptively simple test that asks users to rate themselves on a series of 12 questions. While it relies entirely on self-report, Dr. Duckworth has found the test remarkably predictive of success. Duckworth has found that people who accomplish great things often combine a passion for a single mission, with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission – whatever the obstacles and however long it might take. Using the scoring chart on page three of the test, how “gritty” are you?


Listen to my interview with David Shenk
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David Shenk tells us in his book, The Genius in All of Us, about Beethoven writing 60 to 70 drafts of a single phrase of music, and Ted Williams hitting practice pitches until his hands bled. Prior to his death in Rome in 1564, Michelangelo burned "a large number of his own drawings, sketches and cartoons so that no one should see the labors he endured and the ways he tested his genius, and lest he should appear less than perfect." (Source: Vasari)


The Success Myth
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A Kid Who Doesn't Kid Around
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Watch my documentary, Freestyle: The Victories of Dan Gable
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Description: Dan Gable has been called the "Babe Ruth" of wrestling. He won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1972 by not surrendering a point to any of his opponents. This, despite the fact the Soviets came to the Olympics with only one goal in mind, to defeat Gable. Following the Olympics, Gable went on to be the most successful coach in the history of the sport. From the brutal murder of his sister that drove him to win 181 consecutive matches, to the terrorist shaken 1972 Olympics that earned him a Gold Medal, Dan Gable defines a true American champion. Early footage of Gable's life is combined with a behind the scenes view of his last season as the coach at the University of Iowa. This documentary presents an inside look into the unique culture of wrestling, and a rare view of this legendary sports figure.

Question #5

After watching the documentary, what questions would you like to ask Dan Gable? Please submit three possibilities, and Dan will respond to the ten best questions from the class. Dan’s answers will be forwarded to everyone.

(Three Questions) Deposit on ICON

Question #6

When does persistence become delusion? Has there been a time when you wish you had worked harder?

(Short Answer) Deposit on ICON


Watch my profile on Tara Fall – Adversity
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WHAT IS PROSOPAGNOSIA? Prosopagnosia is a disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while the ability to recognize other objects may be relatively intact.

The term originally referred to a condition following acute brain damage. About two per cent of the population suffers from some sort of facial blindness.

Few successful therapies have so far been developed for affected people, although individuals often learn to use 'piecemeal' or 'feature by feature' recognition strategies. This may involve secondary clues such as clothing, gait, hair color, body shape, and voice.

Because the face seems to function as an important identifying feature in memory, it can also be difficult for people with this condition to keep track of information about people, and socialize normally with others.

Journal Assignment #6– Do Over!

Kids have the luxury of calling “do-over!” when things go wrong. Why can’t we? What are your biggest regrets, and if you could, how would you re-do them? Moving forward, what can you learn from these experiences?

(Minimum Length: One Page) Deposit on ICON (Inspiration: Robin Hemley’s Book, Do-Over!)


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