Career Advice from the Mavs — Heat Game

Did you see the Dallas – Miami basketball game last night?  If you’re not a basketball fan, Dallas and Miami are playing for the NBA Championship.  It was quite a game and one in which I found some career success advice. 

The game was played in Miami, in front of a loud home town crowd.  Miami was winning  88 – 73 with about seven minutes to play.  Dallas won 95 – 93.  They scored 22 points to Miami’s five in the last seven minutes of the game.  They even survived a monumental defensive lapse that let Miami tie the game at 93 with 24.5 seconds left in the game.

Dallas’ big star Dirk Nowitzki, scored Dallas’ last nine points.  He was playing with an injured finger, but he hung in there and led by example.  After the game he said…

“In this league you have to play till the end. Especially in The Finals. You can be down 20. You have to keep plugging. You never know what’s going to happen in this league. And we kept on fighting. And we got some lucky bounces there. LeBron went down the middle, had a wide-open lay-up, I thought. Short-armed it a little bit. We were able to get that rebound and go.

“So you have to be a little lucky, but we kept on plugging. And look, I said it all playoffs long, we’re a veteran team. We don’t get too high with the highs and too low with the lows. That was definitely a little hole we got ourselves in, but we kept believing, kept playing off each other, and that was big.”

The words, “we kept believing” are key here.  Last night he Dallas players didn’t give up on themselves, or their teammates.  And they won a game that they appeared to be certain to lose.  They were optimistic until the very end.

And this brings me to the career success point in this post.  If you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, you have to be optimistic.

I love The Optimist Creed.  I have it on a shelf just above my desk.  I look at it several times a day.  It is some of the best career advice I know.  Check it out…

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself:

  • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
  • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
  • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
  • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
  • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Last night Dallas played poorly for much of the game.  They threw away the ball several times in the third quarter and in the beginning of the fourth quarter.  I think it was their ability to put point seven of The Optimist Creed, “Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future” to work that allowed them to win the game.

When he was asked what he said to his players when they were down by 15 with the fourth quarter over half over, Dallas Coach Rich Carlisle said…

“Just hang in. Let’s get some stops. Let’s give ourselves a chance. Let’s put some pressure on them. We really hadn’t put any pressure on them at all in two games to speak of.

“It’s hard because they (Miami) put you in a lot of tough situations. They have a lot of breath-taking ability out there on the court. But by being solid and getting a couple of stops and scoring, we got some momentum, and it worked out.”

In other words he urged his team to forget everything that had happened for the first 41 minutes of the game and to play better for the last seven.  They did.  And they won.  They couldn’t have won had they not been optimistic about their chances. 

The current TIME Magazine has a cover story called “The Science of Optimism.”  The author Tali Sharot says,

“A growing body of scientific evidence points to the conclusion that optimism may be hardwired by evolution into the human brain.”

Last night, Dallas should have been extremely pessimistic.  Half way thought the fourth quarter of a game in which they were up against two of the best players in the game, they were losing by 15.  But the optimism hard wired into their brains wouldn’t let them give up.  They believed they could win and they went on to do so.  In many ways, they were a perfect example of point 1 of The Optimist Creed, “Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.” 

Losing by 15 late in the game, playing against two of the best players in basketball and with 18,000 people cheering for the other team can have a negative effect on your peace of mind.  But the Dallas players put all of that out of their minds, played their game and won.

It reminds me of a quote by Babe Ruth that I saw on line the other day.  “It’s hard to beat someone who won’t give up.” 

And it’s optimism that helps you to not give up – even in the most difficult of circumstances.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Optimism can help you accomplish things that are seemingly impossible.  If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, you need to become an optimist.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 44 in Success Tweets.  “Be an optimist.  Believe that things will turn out well.  Don’t sulk when they don’t.  Learn what you can, use it the next time.”  There may have been only about 25 people in the Miami arena who thought Dallas could win midway through the fourth quarter last night – the Dallas players, coaches and trainers.  But they did win.  And optimism played a huge part in that win.  By the way, I’ve created a .pdf of The Optimist Creed that you can print and hang in your workspace.  If you want a copy, go to

That’s the career advice I take from watching Dallas’ amazing victory in the NBA finals last night.  What do you think?  Have you ever found that optimism has helped you overcome some pretty steep odds?  If so, please share your story with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  Have a great weekend.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

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