“The Winner Within” Quotes

I recently read “The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players” by Pat Riley. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

Winner Within Cover“When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” -Kikuyu proverb (24)

“Riles’ Rule of Rebirth:
In any dead-end situation, a team’s members are ready for rebirth when:
Survival instinct overrides territorial instinct.
Being a part of success is more important than being personally indispensable.
The team’s energy and enthusiasm take on a life of their own.” (27)

“Every player has a style – a certain collection of choices and tendencies that flows through his entire game. An exceptional player usually demands that the team’s personnel and game plan revolve around his style, so his performance can flourish and he can be recognized as a great star. Whenever a clash erupts within a team, it’s usually over who gets to put his individual stamp on the team’s identity, who will occupy the center ring of the big circus.” (33)

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer everybody else up.” -Mark Twain (36)

“You’re always just one ego, one disagreement, one rough patch away from disintegration.” (60)

“Never demean the time you spend in the trenches. If you pay attention to what you’re doing, you can learn an awful lot about how an organization behaves, and that can be very useful later on.” (63)

“Use any time when you aren’t on center stage to strengthen your power of perception. Even being on the bench or working around the periphery of the Lakers was like attending a master class is professional basketball. It’s strictly attitude that lets you learn.” (63)

“Keep reminding yourself that attitude is the mother of luck.” (63)

“These people are unlikely to be lucky. Not because they’ve not advanced fast enough. But because they radiate fear, anxiety, and defeat. Luck is literally all how you look at it.” (63)

“The essence of the Core Covenant is totally positive peer pressure. It replaces blaming and finger pointing – two vicious enemies of teamwork – with mutual monitoring and mutual reinforcement.” (72)

“A Thunderbolt is something beyond your control, a phenomenon that one day strikes you, your team, your business, your city, even your nation. It rocks you, it blows you into a crater. You have no choice except to take the hit. But you do have a lot of choice about what to do next. That much is in your power. In the coming years, expect the sky to blaze with Thunderbolts. They’re part of the game of constant change.” (80)

“Sympathy is like junk food. It has no real nourishment. The emptiness comes back very quickly. And nothing gets accomplished in the meantime.” (84)

“If you’re going to be a championship team, you have to think championship thoughts. “It’s OK to lose” will never be one of them. If you hear yourself, or your teammates, starting sentences with “If only” or “I could’ve” or “We should’ve,” you’ve heard thoughts that are going in the wrong direction.” (85)

“Giving yourself permission to lose guarantees a loss.” (85)

“It’s critical to realize that failure is as much a part of the picture as success. No matter how hard you compete, you ultimately have to absorb losses. So you do absorb them, with grace and a determination to learn whatever they might teach. But never be tempted to embrace them. Be angry. Be upset. Be determined to come back stronger next time. But do not be accepting. People who are negatively conditioned accept defeat. People who are positive don’t.” (86)

“The truly great ones can take criticism. Not just from the opponent, but also from their coaches, from the press and the fans.” (127)

“It’s a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired – you quit when the gorilla is tired.” -Robert Strauss (132)

“Competition brings out the very best and the very worst in us. Right now it’s bringing out the worst, but if he sticks with it, it’s going to bring out the best.” (132)

“Anytime you stop striving to get better, you’re bound to get worse. There’s no such thing in life as simply holding on to what you’ve got.” (149)

“Peter Drucker describes how a company has to prey itself out of the strategic mud when a business goes stale. “It requires stopping saying ‘we know’ and instead saying ‘let’s ask.’” (151)

“Excellence is the gradual result of always wanting to do better.” (161)

“The marketing campaign that we have launched over the past two years had to change how people felt about us, not how they thought about us.” (192)

“A business mission is likely to succeed if it puts a clear concept above raking in money; if the mission is updated to keep pace with a company’s own success; if the mission sets out what’s needed to be the best, not just an acceptable, performer in the industry.” (196)

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” -John Barrymore (209)

“Security is always imaginary… deceptive… unattainable.” (215)

“I know one thing. It might be exhilaratingly bad or it might be exhilaratingly good. But I know it’s going to be exhilarating.” (233)

“When you’re playing against a stacked deck, compete even harder. Show the world how much you’ll fight for the winner’s circle. If you do, someday the cellophane will crackle off a fresh pack, one that belongs to you, and the cards will be stacked in your favor.” (249)

“Upstarts don’t win championships unless they score an absolute knockout. Upstarts win the right to come back next time and compete for the championship. That right is the key.” (250)

“The Winner Within’s Ladder of Evolution
From nobody to upstart
From upstart to contender
From contender to winner
From winner to champion
From champion to dynasty” (251)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book.

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