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  • Writer's pictureNeal Hagberg

What Do You Do In The New Year When The Three Crowns Don’t Work?

You’re going to fail this year. Oh, Happy New Year from TLC!

Guess what? Everyone else you know is also going to fail.

You are going to practice the Three Crowns of attitude, effort, and sportsmanship. And sometimes you are going to fall on your face. Sometimes literally. So why even bother getting back up? That’s a question I have asked myself often.


One of the best answers I ever got was from Sam, a student in a college class I was facilitating called “Changing The World.” I asked the question, “If you knew you couldn’t change the world, would you still try?”

Sam’s answer has stuck with me ever since:


Why? I asked.

Because I’m stubborn, he said.

And that may just be the crux of the Three Crowns. Because they don’t come easily and they don’t come naturally. To anyone. We seem to think that simply knowing the philosophy is enough to succeed at them on a consistent basis. But the Three Crowns are habits, just like brushing your teeth is a habit, or buckling your seat belt, or practicing your topspin forehand until you have it grooved for a match.


So what do you do when the Three Crowns don’t work? You get back up. And you start again. And again. And again. That is how habits are formed. And one day the natural reaction to getting knocked down will be not to even think about it. You just do. You get back up. You smile. You brush yourself off. You say “Good job” to your opponent. Why? Because you have a lot of Sam in you. Even if you don’t know it yet. And stubbornness can be one of the greatest forces for good in this world.

So fail away. I’ll be failing beside you. And I will get back up with you. Because I’m stubborn, too.

Happy New Year.


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