Shark Week! If you’re not familiar with those two words, then you need to go online immediately and watch every single episode ever created. However, you should know going into this television adventure that you probably won’t shower or, for that matter, move off the couch for a week straight, because you’re going to want to watch episode after episode. Call in sick.
So if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a huge fan of Shark Week. When I watch shark week, I am not just endlessly mesmerized by the footage, but simultaneously, I’m thinking to myself- “How much preparation goes into making this glorious week happen? When does Discovery Channel start planning out shark week? How do they know the formula to making television so captivating that all I want to do is sit on the couch for a week straight, grow a really gross beard, eat 16 bags of Fritos, and feel my eyes because I haven’t blinked in 127 hours?”
You might be thinking- “Sean, that’s what you’re thinking about as you watch shark week?” Well… let me explain.
As a 2nd year Lasallian Volunteer, I now have a year of teaching experience under my belt. And now that I have that experience, I feel like I constantly see things in a different light. After a year of waking up around 4 or 5 every morning to create lesson plans, retreat agendas, and practice plans, I have a greater appreciation for the work that goes into making things happen. So as I watch this quality entertainment called “shark week”, I contemplate whether something this great could be made possible without months and months of preparation and hard work.
Similarly, I believe just about all good things in life come from preparation and hard work. Yes, I believe in good luck, but I also believe in creating your own good luck. As a teacher and coach, I am constantly reminding students and players that greatness is not something you are born with, rather, it is the result of outstanding work ethic and the will to consistently prepare.
In a world that is constantly getting faster and more technologically advanced, it is only natural that people want results quicker. Now you may call me old fashioned, and that’d be fair, because there are tons of people who tell me that I have the personality of an old man. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly believe there is beauty in working your tail off and properly preparing to succeed on a daily basis, with the understanding that you may fail or never actually see any tangible results from your hard work.
If you don’t know who John Wooden is, he was the longtime coach of the UCLA Bruins Men’s Basketball Team and is the winningest coach in the history of any sport. After reading many books by and about John Wooden, I would argue that his character was much more impressive than the number of victories or the number of trophies he earned. John Wooden once said- “success is 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.” I’m not a math guy, but here are two formulas to express my thoughts more clearly.
Success ≠ Great grades, Lots of money, Fame and fortune, etc…
Success= Doing the best with what God gave you
That is the same thing I told a student in my class last year who was consistently earning C and D grades in all of her classes. She was by far the hardest worker that I taught, but she just always seemed to be struggling with tests, quizzes, essays, and other assessment’s that usually have a huge impact on one’s grade.
On the last day of class, I stood up in front of a large group of sophomore students-a group that consisted of students with brilliant minds, with 4.0’s, with amazing athletic ability, with more friends than anyone else in the school- and told this particular student that she was the most successful student in my class this year. She had a C-. But you know what…she worked harder than any individual in any of my classes. She did more with her gifts and talents than any other student that I taught. That is success. That is greatness.
Shark week may have millions of viewers each year and worldwide loyalty, but we shouldn’t be looking at their financial profits or their worldwide fame as a measure of their success. Yes, fame and notoriety are often a byproduct of hard work and consistent preparation, but that is not always the case. I certainly don’t measure my success based on my income or my level of notoriety. If I did, then, well….I would be a miserable failure in life.
I measure my success by sitting down every night before I go to bed and asking myself- “did I do the best that I could to become the best that I am capable of becoming?” Every once in a while the answer is yes, other times I’m not quite sure, and more often than not, the answer is no. However, the days that are full of failure and despair don’t stop me from consistently preparing to do the best that I can with the gifts that God has blessed me with. Those days fuel me. It is through those failures that I learn to work even harder and to prepare even better, so that I can be my best when it comes to educating and inspiring the hearts and minds of the young men and women at La Salle High School in Yakima, Washington.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts Forever.
Sean Ruane, 13-14, La Salle High School, Yakima, WA