It is all too easy to blame other things for your failures in life. These other things maybe your inept teacher, your cruel mother or your cheating lover. You can pick out a thousand reasons why you just didn’t quite do what you wanted to do…I had no money, I wasn’t educated or I am too god damned ugly. There are pubs filled around the world with drunks blithering to drunks about how they could have done what they were meant to have done, if only a few things were different.
A lot of people think I am lucky.
I have had a great life so far.
I have travelled the world numerous times. I have won a couple of shillings playing poker. I have played in a competitive match for one of the two teams I dreamt about playing for as a child growing up (albeit an O’Byrne Cup final against Longford, but fuck, we won and I got interviewed by the press straight afterwards and heard my voice on all the radio stations the next morning talking about character and resilience and never say die). By the way, the O’ Byrne cup is the lowest ranking senior trophy a Dublin team can win.
The fact that some 18 months prior to this game I was in the Himalayas smoking opium at an all night session on the side of a mountain with trance music pumping, acid being dropped and tall men with three foot long white goatee beards dancing in circles till the sun came up made playing for Dublin all the more enjoyable.
You see I have never doubted I could do anything.
I have always had self belief that I could do whatever I wanted.
This goes for everything.
I am the man who will say “how hard can it be?” or “I’ll give it a crack”.
I always think I will win or succeed and I don’t need someone else to tell me that I can or will.
I remember a speech an old football manager gave to us many moons ago, way back in 1995. I was playing senior club GAA for St. Sylvester’s in Malahide and we were being managed by a Galway man called Brian Talty. Our team was laced with talent, young and old – men from all around the country who were playing inter-county or were there or thereabouts.
We had potential, but were under performing. Our club had never won a Dublin senior championship and we were struggling for form. It was, of course, a mental thing. After a particularly inept shabby showing after one training session, “Talts” as he was known, dragged us into the dressing room.
“What the fuck is wrong with the lot of ye???? Fuckin’ prickin’ around like a shower who couldn’t give a damn about winning this game. Well, what the fuck are we up here for? What the fuck are we bustin’ our guts for the last 12 months if this is how we train????”
Spittle was flying around the room. His shoulders were pulled back, his fists clenched and he was screaming.
He took a bin and kicked it into the middle of the dressing room. Steam was hissing from the players as our bodies cooled down in the ice cold, stone grey dressing rooms.
“Any excuses lads? Any fucking excuses?????”, he shouted around the room, eyeballing each and every one of us.
“well, if ye have any fucking excuses there is a bin right fucking here and fucking throw them in there. I don’t give a fuck if it’s your missus, your work, your teacher or fucking any other fucking thing…if any of ye walk out of here with some excuse for the shite that we are playing right now then we might as well fucking give in. There are no fucking excuses. It is us and only us. Now has anyone any excuse they’d like to throw in this fucking bin?????”
No one said anything and and after a minute or so eyeballing everyone Talts stormed out of the dressing room almost smashing the door off it’s hinges. The whole team sat in silence. Normally there would be one or two sniggering and a few wisecracks, but that night no one said anything. Everyone showered and went home. My only problem was that normally I got a lift home from Talt’s after training and he had driven off in his rage!
We went on to win the Senior championship for the first and only time in our history that year.
I love this mentality.
Fuck your fucking excuses in the bin (pardon me French).
It is a mentality I have always had.
Whether it is sport or exams or women or poker or interviews or business or just being in the world.
No fucking excuses.
Believe in yourself and have a go.
End of story.