“It’s been 40 years since I was sitting out there, like you, wondering what was next in my life. … Last weekend, we held the NFL Draft. Next weekend, we’ll bring in our new draftees for orientation. Every year, countless hours and millions of dollars are spent on the process. With the technology we have today, there’s a vast amount of information on every prospect. Yet, every year, 50 percent of the prospects in the first round of the draft fail. So, every year, as you go through this and observe this, you realize the biggest and strongest and fastest players are not always the most productive players in the NFL. You begin to realize the intangibles of the player are just as important as the talent.
What I’d like to share with you today is … what I think are critical to success in any profession. Number one, and maybe the most important: Find something you love. Passion creates fuel. It creates the burning desire to do what we love ’til we go to bed at night. A passionate person with a little bit of talent will almost always outperform a passive person with great talent. The second thing is the law of compensation. The more you give, the more you get in return. It’s a simple principle, but it’s amazing how many people never figure it out …
The next thing is what influences success more than anything else.
The biggest difference between those who succeed and those who fail lies in the difference of their habits. In the NFL, adversity is as common as the air you breathe. Have the courage when things get tough to stick with your plan.
I’d like to discuss surviving success. In my mind, this is the toughest thing anyone has to deal with. We all know we have to pay a high price, no matter what the process is, to be successful. One of my favorite quotes is this: ‘For every 10 people who can handle adversity, there is only one who can handle success.’ The downside of success is like a virus. It is insidious. It’s the master of the sneak attack. No matter where you are in your career, the worst thing is to feel like you have arrived. There’s someone out there willing to do the little things, ready to take your job.
In a few moments, you will officially become the University of Mount Union graduating class of 2012. You certainly have the smarts. You certainly have the heart. Now, it’s up to you to decide how you want to use your talent. You’re the captain of your own ship.”