Developing a Winning Attitude

I have always found it peculiar when  adversity comes into my life, I can always readily recall distant memories or advice from my parents, teachers, and coaches. Even when I am not exactly looking for advice, pieces of paper with a few scribbles of my disorganized thoughts magically appear, cheer me up and refocus my thoughts.  Good advice can sometimes be like pictures on the wall. In the sense, that these pictures are always present in your room or office but some days the pictures speak to you and the memory clearly resonates. I recently came across an old piece entitled “Develop the Attitude of a Winner” written by Coach Edward Gibbons. On a side note, when I received this piece Coach Edward Gibbons at this time was a varsity wrestling head coach for James Caldwell High School (Caldwell, NJ). Currently, Coach Gibbons resides as Principal for Union High School (Union, NJ). After reading this piece again, I felt compelled to post it in its entirety. Originally intended for athletes any aspiring scientist could benefit from this reading and develop a winning attitude to be successful in life.

Develop the Attitude of a Winner
By Coach Ed Gibbons

Take Personal Responsibility: Whatever the result, take personal responsibility for the outcome. In defeat, never blame officials, coaches, or bad luck. Winners never allow the outcome to be determined by anyone or anything other than themselves. Develop the attitude that you are in charge. By the one who determines the pace and the action. Seize complete ownership of every situation.

Become Focused: You must have defined goals. Knowing what you desire is the first step to obtaining it. Winners are goal oriented. Take a moment and reflect on what you want to accomplish. Most importantly, aim high. Develop a game plan to help you achieve your objectives. Stay focused on the plan and your goals because; a dream with a plan is the hope of the future.

Keep Learning: The best never stop learning. Never be satisfied with what you currently know. Go to clinics, camps, and clubs. View technique videos. It is a mistake to think you already know what you need. Remember that knowledge is power. Acquire all the information you can.

Expect to Succeed: You must believe that you will prevail. If you expect failure, defeat will almost always happen. Positive thinking is important. Feel good about yourself and your goals. Only you control how you perceive yourself. Believe that you will succeed. Expect to triumph! The only limitations you have are those you place on yourself.

Avoid Negative People: When you set your goals high, there will be people who will try and talk you our of your aspirations. When you hear someone say, “Why spend the time trying to be a state champ, the odds of doing that are impossible,” be cautious. Avoid those persons. They are not winners. People who do not strive for excellence will tell you how much fun alcohol and drugs are. They are like that because they lack self-esteem. Getting others to be like them, is the only way they can feel good about themselves. Stay clear of people who are negative. Surround yourself with winners.

Turn Failure into Fortune: Great athletes learn from defeat. They never allow a set back to hurt confidence or become an obstacle in reaching their dreams. Make defeat an opportunity for improvement. Analyze why you lost and work on the weakness. Losers feel sorry for themselves in defeat. Winners grow from defeat. Most importantly, never give up. A person is not defeated when he loses; a person is defeated when he quits.

Listen to Others: Serious competitors are exceptional listeners. Listen to your parents, coaches, and teammates. Be open to the new ideas and suggestions from others. When you are having problems, seek answers from someone who might help you. Being receptive to new ideas is a plus. Make yourself coachable.

Be Good: Truly remarkable athletes are virtuous people. Be sensitive of the feelings of others. Support your teammates. Be an outstanding student. Shun drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Continuously put your family first, school second, and sports third. Wherever you are, always attempt to be a positive influence on others. Be a leader by example. Be an exemplary citizen.


I hope you enjoyed the piece.



Dr. Blog

Dr. Blog holds a PhD in chemistry and draws on his years of industrial and life experience to offer honest career advice for the advancement of young scientists.

Find your Scientific Edge

Mankind has pushed itself into the modern age with the help of countless scientists who lived on the ‘cutting edge’ of research. It is not uncommon for companies to even promote new products that are on the cutting edge. Realizing that scientific advancements and breakthroughs are touted as being made at the so called ‘ scientific edge’ what does this mean to someone on a personal level? The term cutting edge usually infers that the technology is new but I think the term progress is better suited. Imagine you are standing on a box and all of the knowledge that you possess is inside this box. In order to grow and learn, you have to leap into the unknown from the position of what I know and venture off that edge. The moment a person takes that leap, new knowledge and growth can occur, being a scientific discovery or achievement of a personal milestone.

To answer scientific questions, a scientist follows the logic of testing a hypothesis and reworking the model until the hypothesis can rationally explain the result. In order to find a solution this process demands that the scientist constantly jump off the platform edge of what is known. This process can also benefit our lives on a personal level. Personal growth can only be achieved you are at the edge of your comfort zone. How will you ever learn to do anything new if you never try it? No matter where we are in life, we all strive to answer questions such as: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Although the questions are simple, the answers can become muddled and not easily ascertained. I believe to seek those answers you must push yourself to edge of your comfort zone. Meaning, if you want to learn and find yourself, you should learn to become comfortable when you are uncomfortable. When you fully develop the ability to constantly grow you will discover that you can overcome many life’s obstacles. After all, once a child learns how to ride a bicycle, how many then prefer to continually ride a tricycle? I am willing to guess none. So keep pushing yourself to find your scientific edge and keep growing.




Dr. Blog

Dr. Blog holds a PhD in chemistry and draws on his years of industrial and life experience to offer honest career advice for the advancement of young scientists.

Tie a Scientific Double-Knot!

When embarking on a new journey or challenge you must first envision what is your goal. Although you might not know how to get there, you should feel confident that your desire will propel you to get there. I am sure everybody has the heard the saying ‘When you think you have reached the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on’ but I am here to tell you sometimes one knot might not be enough, so tie a double knot!

Blog#3 knot.

As a kid I remember visiting the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ where they had an exhibit called the ‘Touch Tunnel’. The premise of the Touch Tunnel is that when you enter the tunnel the use of your eyes for navigation are quickly striped away and you are left to use touch as the primary sense to get to the end. I still remember hearing other kids, including myself, panic. This was the case when I could not hear if anyone around. I felt alone and it was dark with no end literally in sight! What allowed me to get through the tunnel was the belief that I was intended to reach the end. Heck, before you enter the tunnel one can see kids exiting for the end.

Entering graduate school is no different than entering the Touch Tunnel in the sense that as soon as you start your schooling the journey in figuring out how to graduate begins. You meet students who have just graduated and senior students nearing their defense but everybody encounters a rough patch. Everyone will encounter a moment where they feel alone with no end or beginning in sight and your commitment will be tested. What will get you through this time is your own belief that one day you too will graduate.

So tie yourself a double-knot and hang on. You will pull yourself though and figure out how to reach the end. Just like those kids pushing through the Touch Tunnel, you need to treat this challenge no differently. Just believe in yourself.




Dr. Blog

Dr. Blog holds a PhD in chemistry and draws on his years of industrial and life experience to offer honest career advice for the advancement of young scientists