Bear Bryant on Quitting

Fall is in the air, and for many, that means college football is well under way. From tailgating with friends and family to cheering on your alma mater, North America enjoys one of its favorite pastimes during this season. And while it may simply be entertainment for some, leaders can find inspiration and advice on the field. In fact, some of the best leaders have been legendary coaches leading teams on the gridiron on Saturdays. And one stands out above them all: College Football Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant.

Starting his coaching career in 1936 after a successful college football career playing for the University of Alabama, Bryant was a head coach at Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas A&M before finding his home back at his alma mater. Between 1958 and 1982, Bryant solidified himself as one of, if not the best, college football coaches in history. He boasts six national championships and 14 Southeastern Conference championships, as well as three AFCA Coach of the Year and 12 SEC Coach of the Year awards.

He knew how to motivate, train, and lead his student-athletes to victory. And his advice on pursuing goals and never quitting is just as helpful now as it was during his legendary career.

“If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride—and never quit—you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”

Bear knew that you must sacrifice things you want in the moment for things you want more. It takes focus and determination to see a goal or project through to the end. And while sometimes you have to say no to other smaller goals, you and your team will find the satisfaction of achieving your original plans due to the sacrifices you make along the way. Quitting to focus on other tasks or items should never be an option. In fact, as Bear puts it, the act of quitting is far easier than pushing forward.
“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.”

Having goals set up for your team to achieve is key for continued focus, motivation, and productivity. The old saying is true that it’s never good to rest on your laurels. Once you are initially successful, it’s time to strive for that next level of success. Because once you start getting comfortable, you may begin to allow the quitting attitude to seep into your organization. And just like quitting, frequency begets ease.

“The first time you quit, it’s hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don’t even have to think about it.”

However, just because you don’t quit on a goal or a project, doesn’t mean you will enjoy a 100% success rate. But as Bear puts it, sometimes it’s important to lose occasionally. It builds character, humility, and drive to win even more.

“It’s awfully important to win with humility. It’s also important to lose. I hate to lose worse than anyone, but if you never lose you won’t know how to act. If you lose with humility, then you can come back.”

Who are some of your favorite leaders? What have you learned by studying their work? Let us know in the comments section below!

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