Success Is a Choice and There Are No Shortcuts

Rick PitinoI started Sports for the Soul because I saw way too many false promises being promoted throughout the self-improvement industry. Look around and you’ll find no shortage of quick fixes and magic formulas being marketed to anyone who wants to be successful. The truth is, if a “shortcut to success” sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In the world of sports, false promises have a way of being exposed quickly. The scoreboard doesn’t lie and real-world results will show us whether a coach’s self-improvement philosophy works or doesn’t.

It’s also important to note that unlike some self-help gurus, successful coaches tend to be much more direct about what it takes to achieve one’s goals. They don’t make excuses and they don’t sugarcoat the truth about what it’s going to take.

Rick Pitino is a perfect example. His winning philosophy revolves around one simple message. It’s a blunt message that stings those who prefer to make excuses and paint themselves as victims. Coach Pitino’s philosophy can be summed up in one sentence: Success is a choice and there are no shortcuts


If you look closely at all great organizations, all great teams, all great people, the one common denominator that runs through them is a second-to-none work ethic. The intense effort to achieve is always there. This is the one given if you want to be successful.

When it comes to work ethic there can be no compromises. Any other promise of achievement is fool’s gold.

We can see the evidence of fool’s gold around us every day. It’s the people looking for the quick fix. The easy way to lose weight. The no-pain way to have a better body. The instant way to get rich. The easy, no-assembly-required way to feel better about yourself, as if all you have to do is follow some simple directions and your problems will disappear like frost in the noonday sun.

But shortcuts fail.

The bottom line: Nothing meaningful or lasting comes without working hard at it, whether it’s in your own life or with people you’re trying to influence.

What’s true on the basketball court is true in business and in life. You want to succeed? Okay, then succeed. Deserve it. How? Outwork everybody in sight.

Sweat the small stuff. Sweat the big stuff. Go the extra mile. But whatever it takes, put your heart and soul into everything you do. Leave it all out on the court.

But that won’t happen unless you choose to make it happen. Success is not a lucky break. It’s not a divine right. It is not an accident of birth.

 Success is a choice.


— Rick Pitino, from his book Success Is a Choice

There is no substitute for having a proactive, no-excuses, find-a-way attitude when it comes to attacking life. And if you can combine that attitude with a relentless work ethic, success WILL be yours. It’s only a matter of time.

How you choose to live your life is up to you. You can passively let life happen to you or you can take control and create the life you want to live. You can waste time making excuses and looking for shortcuts or you can choose to outwork your competition.

Like anything else, success is a choice. And the choice is yours.