Eliminate The Dumb Play


The most common piece of advice I give my athletes heading into a big race? “Don’t do anything stupid.” Of course, the line between stupidity and intelligence can be pretty thin (and highly subjective), but keeping that simple guideline in mind will take you pretty far in life.

“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent,” writes Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s billionaire business partner. “There must be some wisdom in the folk saying, ‘It’s the strong swimmers who drown.’”

Along those lines, I discovered the EntreLeadership podcast not too long ago and immediately added almost two dozen episodes to my listening list. The first one I queued up was this interview with legendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz in which he shares his thoughts on coaching, learning, leadership and success. Every coach should listen to it.

“It’s not the great play that wins,” Holtz would tell his team before every game. “It’s eliminating the dumb play.”

A version of this post first appeared in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter covering running, writing, media and other topics that interest me. If you’d like for it to land in your inbox first thing on Tuesday mornings, subscribe here.

Like this post?

Join the 11,000+ readers who get the morning shakeout delivered directly to their inboxes every Tuesday morning.