Friday, October 9, 2009

Eric Clapton Makes Good Use of Time

Character/Life Skills Traits: Work Ethic, Time Management

Eric Clapton is heralded by many as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. In fact, he's the only person to be inducted three times into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How did he become so successful? Well, one thing was that he spent a lot of time with his guitar. I'll give you an example.

One evening Clapton was getting a bit frustrated. He'd been ready to go out to dinner for some time, but his girlfriend, Patty, was making him late. It wasn't the first time. She typically had a hard time getting ready for outings.

So he played his guitar for awhile to kill time, then checked back to find her still trying to decide what to wear. He told her, "Look, you look wonderful, okay? Please don't change again. We must go or we'll be late."

Now, many men at this point would have proceeded to stomp around - frustrated, hungry and steaming. But Clapton returned to his guitar and within about 10 minutes had composed a song about his predicament entitled "Wonderful Tonight." Good thing he used his time wisely. The song became one of his all-time most famous hits.

The point? Most successful people seem to carve out time for what matters, where the unsuccessful waste it. As Thomas Edison, the prolific inventor, once said, "Good things come to those who hustle while they wait."

(Source: Clapton: The Autobiography, by Eric Clapton, pp. 173, 174.)


1. How did Eric Clapton make good use of his time?

2. How do you think prioritizing his time with the guitar contributed to his success?

3. What are some things you could do to get more out of your time?

4. What's something you could do this week to make more of your time?

Share your ideas below. How do you use your time wisely? How can we get that across to our students?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Quarterback Tom Brady Teaches Us About Work

Work Can Be Fun – Even Hard Work

Imagine that you’re set financially – you’ve achieved financial independence beyond 99% of the world’s dreams. I mean, you’ve got multiple millions of dollars – plenty of money to buy lots of cool things and still live on the beach and chill for the rest of your life.

Now imagine that someone offers you a job – a hard job. A job that requires you to work-out to the point of exhaustion each day. When you fail, no matter how hard you tried, you’ll probably get yelled at. And besides the physical challenge of the job, you’ll have to digest tons of new information every week. Besides all that, it’s dangerous. There’s a high possibility of serious injuries, some of which could plague you the rest of your life.

Now, would you take the job?

Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, does that each year. He’s already wealthy beyond most people’s imagination. Yet, each year that he chooses to endure grueling practices, study film of the opposing teams, memorize thick, complicated playbooks, and risk injury. (Last year he had to undergo serious knee surgery, followed up with two surgeries to flush out staph infection.)

Why does he keep playing? Because he loves his job.

According to Brady,
  • "I want to play another 10 years."
  • “ I want to play until I'm 41. And if I get to that point and still feel good, I'll keep playing. I mean, what …else am I going to do? I don't like anything else.”
  • “Why would I ever want to do anything else?”
My point? Work isn’t so bad, as long as you can find fulfilling work that matches your strengths and interests. Believe it or not, lots of accountants, professors, builders and small business owners love their jobs so much that, even when they’ve made plenty of money, they choose not to retire.

So as you take part time jobs, reflect on what you like about them and what you hate about them. Get to know yourself. Most people don’t . The more accurately you can pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, your loves and your hates, the better you’ll be at finding work that you love; work that you love so much that you’d never trade it for leisure years at the beach.

(Quotes from Sports Illustrated, June 1, 2009, The Season Can’t Come Soon Enough for a Healthy Tom Brady, interview with Tom Brady by Peter King)


1) What are some of the difficulties Tom Brady faces in his work?

2) If you had Brady’s job and Brady’s money, would you get out now, or keep playing?

3) Why do you think he keeps playing?

4) Do you think that, given the same talent as Brady, that everyone would love his job?

5) Do you think other people can be just as passionate at their jobs, even when their work is difficult?

6) How can we find jobs that we love?

Find more life skills and character stories at Legacy Educational Resources at .