Making Friends vs. Clarity of Purpose
Back in my college days, this time at Edinboro University
of Pennsylvania, I had a teammate, Bob Kauffman, who, like
myself, knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish. There were
no "ifs, ands or butts" with Bob.
The proof of this came one afternoon when a mutual friend, Mike,
told Bob that he shouldn't act the way he did because "people wouldn't
In response Bob said, "Listen: I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to win
a national championship. That's it."
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Mike didn't understand this way of thinking. To him, life was all about trying to
make friends with everyone. Yet, he had fewer friends than Bob. Funny thing was
that Bob could say and do things that no one else dared, and he got away with it.
People loved him because he was being himself. He was being "real." Of course,
there were those who didn't like Bob - but he could care less about them. Their
opinion of him was of no concern.
Bob had what I like to call "Clarity of Purpose." He knew what was of utmost
importance to him - and he knew that a great deal of the "other stuff" was
Well, halfway through the regular season Bob sustained a knee injury. He wasn't
able to train on the mat. He could only do strength training work and watch the
rest of us practice.
Even when Bob was hurt he stayed focused. And one of the things he did to maintain
focus was watching me train. He knew, like himself, I wasn't in game to make
He also knew that when I trained I was there to bust my butt.
One morning, as Bob was sitting matside watching the team train, Mike showed
up at the door to look inside for a minute (in between sets of pumping iron). Bob
immediately motioned to Mike, telling him, "Come here. You gotta sit down and
watch. It's just about to get REAL good."
What Bob was referring to was me. He noted that my workout partner was
slacking. All he did was back up and avoid contact. He was one of those who knew
he couldn't beat me - so his only objective was to do things to frustrate me.
Bob saw the steam beginning to rise and he just KNEW an eruption was about
to take place. But then, seconds later, the athletic director walked in and began
observing. "Uh-oh, McDonald is here," said Mike. "I don't think we're going to
see anything so long as he's here."
"Are you kidding me????" replied Bob. "Mother Tereas could be in the room and
what's about to happen would still happen."
A split second later I began yelling and screaming: "You lousy worthless piece of
$%&*. Your transmission is in backwards. Instead of having four gears forward
you've got them all in reverse. You're the most pathetic excuse for a wrestler
ever seen in my life."
My workout partner yelled back at me and then we engaged in the most brutal
workout the two of us had ever had before. My words got the dude focused.
"I can't believe what just happened," said Mike. "I can't believe he'd go off like
that right in front of McDonald. Holy cripes."
"Furey knows what he's here for," said Bob. "He's here to work. He's here to win
a national title. Any athletic director with a brain will be glad to see what
If he's bothered by this he's got his mind on something other than winning."
"So Furey's not here to make friends either?" Mike asked.
"Make friends??? What's that???"
You already know that I went on to become a national - and later still, a world
champion (the latter in Shuai-chiao kung fu). But what about Bob?
Despite having to wear a knee brace and despite having to miss
several critical weeks of training, Bob went on to win the nationals as well. He
was one tough hombre.
And ironically, despite his "not here to make friends" attitude - he had plenty of
Why? Because he had "clarity of purpose."
In a world in which so many have no clue about what they want to accomplish -
Bob absolutely KNEW what he wanted. And people who know what they want
have a strange way of attracting followers. It's the basic "lead, follow or get
hell out of the way" modus operandi. And believe me, it works.
Well, my friend, that's all for now.
Kick butt - take names!
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