Given the Wolverine's awful football season - capped by its loss in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on December 28 - I've been thinking about why. It seems to me that the Wolverines lacked something crucial to all winning teams I've ever seen: the tenacity to finish strong.
I think of it this way: Only teams who finish plays finish drives. Only teams who can finish drives, finish games. Only teams who finish games, finish seasons. Only teams who finish seasons win championships.
But what is finishing? Finishing, to me, is much different than simply "getting something done." Finishing is more than that, it means that you do something decisively and with conviction. It's cleaning your plate at dinner and not leaving a single grain of rice left uneaten. It's tying your shoes AND tucking in the laces. It's leaving no stone unturned and working with pride on something instead of simply working to complete it. Finishing is about completing something to a high standard instead of completing it with the lowest acceptable standard.
I've been lucky that on my worst-performing days, my baseline level of effort normally exceeds any lowest acceptable standard. So what I want to work on now is finishing and applying this distinction to everything from school, to work, to relationships, to cleaning my kitchen or doing my laundry. I want to finish things instead of simply getting them done.
It will take practice.
It will also take a shift in mindset. I will aim to keep a few phrases within my vocabulary, like, "Yes, please," "no, thank you," and "I'm finished." On the contrary, I don't want to use phrases like, "I'm done," or "let's get this done,", or "I'm good." The latter phrases have the connotation of acceptable standards instead of high standards.
This will be hard, because being able to "finish" normally seems to come when an individual has had to work grittily to succeed...something which I haven't often had to do. Nonetheless, I'm going to work at this characteristic until it becomes a habit.