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How to Build
a Positive Attitude

and keep the darn thing!

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A Guide to Igniting Your life

stoke the fire within book




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Available at the Notre Dame Bookstore and

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8 Quotes to Help You to Stay on Fire

By Speaker/Author Charlie Adams

I build Talks based on audience reactions. When certain points and quotes really connect, audience members nod their heads up and down and often write them down. Whether it's Juneau, Alaska or Elkhart, Indiana, these 8 Quotes below have always been well received, and I use them all in daily life. Here they are:


"A positive attitude doesn't mean you can do anything, but a positive attitude means you can do everything better than if you had a negative attitude." Zig Ziglar (I have used this many times in the 'Stoke' keynote and in 'How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing' and it always resonates with audiences)


"You can celebrate life or you can suffer life and it has absolutely nothing to do with your circumstances." - Sandra Herron (she said this during a guest Talk at my Church several years ago and it hit me like a baseball bat to the head)


"We are not born winners. We are not born losers. We are born choosers." - heard this from another speaker at a Conference years ago and it has always stuck. Young people need to burn that quote in their head.


"If what you did yesterday seems important then you haven't done anything today." - Lou Holtz (I have interviewed Holtz dozens of times and that quote always stood out as a way to help and individual or organization resist complacency)


"Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to be better." - Pat Riley (I had a one hour sit-down interview with Riley and that quote really lit a fire in me)


"You can look at it as a threat...or as a challenge." - Jim Steen, Swimming College, Kenyon College (I think this is great to draw on in times of adversity, leading to a mental approach of rolling up your sleeves rather than retreating)


"Lock your jaw!" - Bill Mallory (Bill was a successful head football coach at Indiana University and often used this 'old school' approach before his team faced formidable opponents)


"Take Dead Aim" - Harvey Penick


In this Newsletter, I will focus on 'Take Dead Aim.' The 'Stoke' keynotes, breakouts and articles are based on the access I had to remarkable peak performers during a quarter of a century of being a broadcast journalist. In April of 1995, I was reporting from The Masters at famed Augusta National. An amazing thing happened that week.


Ben Crenshaw, a gifted but 'past his prime' golfer was given two chances of winning that week - slim and none. There were too many bigger, stronger, younger golfers. Crenshaw had won the tournament, but as a younger man. To add to it, his mentor and longtime coach Harvey Penick had died the week before the tournament. Crenshaw was emotional as he went from the funeral straight to The Masters.


Applying the 'look at it as a threat or as a challenge' Crenshaw channeled his emotion in a good way as a way to focus and honor his longtime friend. When I talk about the fire within, his was kindled. He didn't go around going "rah rah and rrrgggh" but his fire was stoked.


Saying he had an 'extra golf club in his bag' (being the memory of Penick), Crenshaw stunned everyone by winning the 1995 Masters. Over four days and 72 holes he did not have one hole where he needed over two putts. I will never forget walking all eighteen holes of the final round that Sunday as the small but crafty Crenshaw beat the likes of Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson. I could not believe what I was seeing.


Penick had a saying, "Take Dead Aim," that hits home when you think about really getting something accomplished. I love that expression. Over the years I have done 'Stoke' programs in Alaska for Educators and Corporate groups. In Fairbanks, I was given a tour of where the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Rifle Team practices and competes. It was very motivational as I learned that they are the best at what they do, period. In the past 20 years, they have been the National Champions in College Rifle Competition ten times and runner-up four times.


During the tour, the guide told me they are so dedicated to excellence that they train themselves to be as still as possible when it comes time to pull the trigger. No movement. No breathing. As they get older, they even train themselves to pull the trigger in between heart beats.


They take dead aim. They hit the dead center of the bullseye. They are the best at what they do.


I will go more in depth on the other quotes over time, and hope that they can help you to stay on fire!


- Charlie Adams, Motivational Speaker
574 807 2279 || Email Charlie