The Thought for the Day – Gordie Howe

Everything you saw out there, good or bad, was the best I had. – Gordie Howe


Gordie Howe, who died Friday at the age of 88, was a professional hockey player, mainly for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. He played in the NHL in five different  decades (1940’s-1980’s) and in the 1990’s he pulled a shift for a minor league team, making him the only player to play professional hockey in six decades. Howe held most NHL scoring records until they were broken by Wayne Gretzky, and he still holds NHL records for Most Games and Most Seasons played.

Today’s Thought breaks success down to its most basic level.

We all have varying degrees of skill. This is true at every level of every aspect of our Human Experience. We’re all cut out to do something, though some people do some things better than others.

Did Gordie Howe have talent? Of course, he did. In spades. You do not accomplish what he accomplished for as long as he accomplished it – you do not become Mr Hockey – without a prodigious amount of talent.

An excellent example came in 1979-80, when at the age of 52 he played a full 80-game season for the Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League. Time had diminished his skills somewhat, of course, but he still had a useful season, tallying 15 goals and totaling 41 points.

Talent alone does not account for his career, however. Howe expended every amount of effort in order to completely maximize the supreme talent he was born with.

You need talent and effort to get the pinnacle of any form of human endeavor, be you Gordie Howe or Michelangelo or Frank Sinatra. The amount of talent you have was issued at birth and was something you have no control over.

The amount of effort you put into something, however, is something you have complete control over. My own personal example is sports officiating. A couple of times I attempted to become a professional baseball umpire with the goal of making the major leagues. I wasn’t selected either time I went to umpire school, however. Despite a good effort, I did not have what they were looking for.

OK. I worked hard and got the most out of my amateur career, happy with how good I became and what I accomplished.

What’s your example? Only you can answer that. It doesn’t have to bring you fame and fortune, either. It merely has to be important to you. Whatever it is, if you are going to withdraw every possible benefit from what you are doing, you must give your very best.

It’s all we can do. We should demand nothing more, but expect nothing less.

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