On Saturday, October 3, 2015, immediately following the end of the Clemson-Notre Dame football game, college sports fans were treated to what quickly became one of the most entertaining post-game interviews of all times.
The interview was given by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, whose Clemson team had just defeated Notre Dame 24-22 in a downpour by denying Notre Dame a two point conversion which would have tied the ballgame with just seconds remaining. Swinney, known for his ability to motivate his players, described what he had said to the players prior to the game. He said, “…what I told them tonight was, ‘Listen, we give you scholarships, we give you stipends and meals and a place to live. We give you nice uniforms. I can’t give you guts, and I can’t give you heart.’ Tonight it was B.Y.O.G. – bring your own guts. And they brought some guts and some heart, and they never quit until the last play.”
No one can deny the importance of external motivators in our lives – whether great locker room speeches, or a person who moves us deeply with their own heroic efforts and/or successes, or someone whose life inspires us to achieve on his/her behalf or honor or memory. But as important as external motivators are, they are only beneficial to the degree that we internalize them and change them into self-motivation. For the Clemson players on that soggy field that October night, everything Dabo Swinney had said to them would have been for naught had they not transformed his words into self-motivation during that crucial play.
What is it that moves you to be and do? Is it all external, meaning that you’re always dependent upon someone or something else to get your juices flowing? Or can you honestly say that churning deep within you is the self-motivated drive to achieve and succeed – as a husband or wife, as a parent, as an employee of CMG, as citizen of your community and nation, and in your spiritual walk? Wise people recognize that external motivation only goes so far.
As for me, my motivation is derived from the challenge expressed in Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Deep in my heart churns a self-motivated desire to please my Lord, and by my words and deeds to thank God for all He’s done for me. I recommend it highly.
About the Author
Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.