March Madness, Self Confidence and Success

Self confidence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident you need to do three things.  1) Become an optimist.  2) Face your fears and act.  3) Surround yourself with positive people.

It’s March Madness time in the US.  The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are great to watch.  It’s really fun to see the enthusiasm and effort of the young men and women who are competing.

As in most years, there were some surprises in the first round of the tournament.  I enjoyed the Siena College victory over Ohio State the most.  Siena is a small liberal arts college near Albany New York.  It has a total enrollment of about 3,000.  Ohio State is one of the largest universities in the US.  It has a total enrolment of over 60,000.  I bet there are some dorms at Ohio State that have more residents than the total number of students enrolled at Siena.

None of that mattered last Friday night.  Siena beat Ohio State 74 – 72.  It took them two overtime periods to do it, but they did it.  The Saints, as Siena is called were losing by 11 points at one point in the second half.  They demonstrated the power of optimism.  They refused to quit.  They believed in themselves.  And they won a hard fought victory.

This is a great story in and of itself.  However, Ronald Moore’s story is even better.  Ronald is the Siena point guard.  As the first overtime period was winding down, he found himself with the ball and Siena trailing by 3 points.  At that point he was 0 for 4 in three point shooting in the game.  He shot and made a three point basket that sent the game into a second overtime.  Then he did it again!  With 3.9 seconds remaining in the second overtime, and Siena losing by 1, Ronald made another three point shot to win the game.

Ronald Moore made his last two three point shots attempts after missing his first four.  That takes some guts.  He hadn’t made a three point shot in over 44 minutes of play, yet with the game on the line, he made not one, but two, three pointers to win the game.  Talk about facing your fears and acting…

Ronald demonstrated the power of optimism by his willingness to take the shots he needed to win the game.  Good for him  — and for Siena.  Their win on Friday night gave them the opportunity to play Louisville, the number 1 seed in the entire tournament on Sunday.  They played a gutty game yesterday too, and lost in the end.  They played with optimism in their heart.  They walked off the court yesterday with their heads held high.

The common sense point here is clear.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people are optimistic and willing to face their fears and act.  The entire Siena College basketball team, demonstrated a strong sense of optimism Friday night.  They never quit – even when they were down by 11 points in the second half.  Ronald Moore shook off the failure of four straight missed three point shots to make two three point shots to tie the game and send it to a second overtime and then win it.  Take a lesson from Coach Fran McCaffery and the Siena players, the next time things get a little tough for you.  Keep your head up.  Keep playing.  Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to win.

That’s my take on self confidence and the Siena victory over Ohio State in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  What’s yours?  What is your favorite March Madness memory?  Please leave a comment sharing it with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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