Genius & Hard Work

Most of you know of the upcoming PDR training session in Montreal this week. As I've been training, thinking, planning and writing in preparation for this session, I had the good fortune of running across some pretty amazing thoughts by some pretty amazing people. I'm posting them here for you to ponder...

I'm also posting them here in tribute to Tony who is one of the hardest-working, most disciplined humans I've ever met...


Rubin `Hurricane' Carter:
Now, you say, that's big, that's difficult! Ain't nothing easy on this Earth. You've got to work for it. People want everything to come easy to them, but you've got to work for it. And money is not the only currency. You've got to pay for it with some of yourself. You've got to leave some of yourself there.

Simone de Beauvoir:
One is not born a genius; one becomes a genius.

David Ben-Gurion:
The true right to a country --- as to anything else --- springs not from political or court authority, but from work.

Louis Brandeis:
Whatever liberates our spirit without giving us self-control is disastrous.

George Louis Leclerc de Buffon:
Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience.

Eddie Cantor:
It took me twenty years to become an overnight success.

Calvin Coolidge:
Work is not a curse, it is the prerogative of intelligence, the only means to manhood, and the measure of civilization.

Benjamin Disraeli:
Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius.

Thomas Alva Edison:
There is no substitute for hard work.

I never did anything by accident; nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.

George Eliot:
Genius is at first little more than a great capacity for receiving discipline.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Every soul is potentially Genius, if not arrested.

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected ideas.

Henry George:
Nature gives wealth to labor, and only to labor.

Andre Gide:
Art begins with resistance --- at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor.

William (Bull) Halsey:
There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet.

Jane Ellice Hopkins:
Gift, like genius, I often think means only an infinite capacity for taking pains.

Elbert Hubbard:
Constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping stones of genius.

Aldous Huxley:
If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion.

William James:
Genius ... means little more than the faculty for perceiving in an unhabitual way.

Geniuses ... excel other men in their powers of sustained attention.

To be fertile in hypotheses is the first requisite [for creativity], and to be willing to throw them away ... is the next.

Samuel Johnson:
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverence.

Abraham Lincoln:
You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish, if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.

Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate; still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.

Dripping water hollows a stone.

William Morris:
Art is man's expression of his joy in labor.

Anna Pavlova:
No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius.

The greatest strength and wealth is self-control.

Labor conquers everything.

Jan Walaeus:
Genius is an intuitive talent for labor.

If I may add to Erics profound and timely post. You will all be attending an event this upcoming weekend of which you will have no relative reference. You will be asked to "empty your cup" and stand as a naked warrior. There will be no judging, no assumptions on previous experience. Little of your previous martial experience will matter. What will matter is your ability to "see".

If you allow yourself to "see" this upcoming weekend, you will leave the session ....a profoundly better teacher, a more dangerous fighter, a better manager of your skills and part of a team that is unmatched in the martial world. The team you are about to become part of is a team of winners.

I have this quote, one of my favorites hanging in my office and in my wallet. It speaks volumes..

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that's first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don't ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.

Every time a football player goes to play his trade he's got to play from the ground up-from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That's O.K. You've got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you've got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you're lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he's never going to come off the field second.

Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization-an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win-to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don't think it is.

It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That's why they are there-to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules-but to win.

And in truth, I've never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn't appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

I don't say these things because I believe in the "brute" nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."

...Vince Lombardi

Best Wishes

Joe Mullings

someone was quoted "The greatest discoveries are accidents witnessed by prepared minds"

at least thats how I remember it

Gary S


I recently read the Physiology of Survival, a masterpiece I understand you recently reworked. When I first read the piece I just sat there shaking my head. I didn't really realize how deep Tony's research had penetrated into the core of the body-mind connection and the psychophysics of the flinch/startle response. As kept re-reading the piece I gained such a respect for the hard work and acute detail you both put into this 'real world' research. (I am assuming that you wrote the essay around Tony's research and combined his findings with the medical/scientific research to support his findings).
Thank you, the information has started a wonderful realization process within me.

Joe, thanks for the reminder about 'empting the cup'. I have been going over tapes, reading my PDR manual and staying updated on the forum and website articles. There is so much to absorb and reflect upon. I thought about the parable of the Zen Master and the overflowing teacup and then realized that I am in the process of filling the cup with all this information 'about' the tea. The tea has not yet been served...that's still to come later this week...ahh! Light bulb moment! Then the questioning mind came in and said, but you want to be prepared, right? Of course, but there is a sweet realization to be had here; it is better to get the tea directly from the host than to read about the host serving the tea. Simple, yet very profound for me in this moment. When 'realizations' through research and experience are continually evolving, one must always stay open and empty. If we stay fixated on yesterday's truths we will miss the realizations available to us right NOW.
The research is to be studied and absorbed, hence I will continue to do my homework, but I will also remember to throw everything away when I get to the PDR session and truly be that empty cup. Thanks!



Glad you are having a few realizations regarding some of the information as you prepare for the camp. A slight re-frame if I may, you write

"but I will also remember to throw everything away when I get to the PDR session and truly be that empty cup"

A suggestion rather than "throwing away", consider putting your default thoughts aside for the weekend. A PDR maxim is "Good information does not displace good information". So this upcoming weekend, weigh and consider what you hear, see and feel. Dont throw anything away, it can all have a place in the appropriate situation and setting.

Looking forward to seeing you.

Joe Mullings

Great point Joe,

There's ne need to throw away the good stuff, I'll bring a flask to store the 'good' tea that's presently in my cup :)