If we expect less than the best in anything, that is exactly what we will get a high percentage of the time. Within this simple concept lies the key to greatness for an individual, a family, a team or even a nation. To say it one more time, as simply as I know how, we get what we expect most of the time.
A good example of this happened during the 2012 college football season. The Ohio State Buckeyes were on NCAA probation and were not eligible to compete for a bowl game. They persuaded former Florida Coach Urban Meyer to come out of retirement and coach the team. The following season all he and his team did was to finish with a perfect 12–0 record, only the sixth time in school history.
By their own admission, he inherited a bunch of mostly mediocre players with no truly outstanding players on the team. Personally, I don’t care much for Coach Meyer and his coaching style, especially some of his language, but I will give him his dues. He knows how to motivate young men to perform at their highest level and mold them into a championship team. He had won two national championships at the University of Florida before retiring. The word was that he was burned out and suffering health problems. This begs the question, how does he do it? The answer, while hard to achieve, is that he gets every player and member of his coaching staff to buy into the concept that they are much better than they think they are.
We see this story played out in various ways in every area of our society: people who are under performing and not using all of their potential. When we think like a winner, we perform like a winner. Right here I am going to change gears and share another concept that applies to every single person in our nation. What we need in America are more “salt of the earth” people. You, no doubt, have heard some person or group of persons referred to as “salt of the earth,” but do you know where this saying came from and what it means?
The origin of this saying can be found in the Bible in Matthew 5:13 when Jesus was speaking to the multitudes. He said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” Salt provides two elements that are essential for life and good health — sodium and chloride ions. They are both elements that the body cannot manufacture itself, so it must be supplied by food. One of salt’s major functions is to regulate blood volume and pressure, including the flexibility of the blood vessels. When the heart contracts, it forces blood through the arteries of the circulatory system.
I have shared this to demonstrate very clearly the value of salt in our daily lives. After doing some research on this topic, I better understood why I would often see “salt licks” in the woods when I was deer hunting. Animals need salt, too. Over time this awareness and value of salt was transferred to human beings, who were also of great value. The dictionary has this to say about ‘salt of the earth’ — any person or persons regarded as the finest, noblest, etc.
And the key to understanding what I have been saying about the importance of high expectations is the definition of noble; having or showing high moral qualities or ideals; characterized or characteristic of greatness of character, lofty.
If you did not already know, when you hear someone referred to as “salt of the earth” you will see, as Urban Meyer teaches, that we can all be better than we think we are.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com.)