Harvey Mackay and I have something in common. We are both Lou Holtz fans and for more reasons than football. We both respect his motivational influences on others.

I benefitted personally from his life lessons about 40 years ago when I listened over and over to one of his talks on an audiocassette in the pre-CD era. I think his lessons are memorable and full of hope today.

Mackay wrote the following in 2012, but I want to share it because of its relevance today.

Lou Holtz’s 3 Rules of Life by Harvey Mckay:

“Everybody needs four things in life: Something to do, someone to love, someone to believe in and something to hope for.”

“I wish I had said that, but it is from my friend Lou Holtz, the author, motivational speaker, sportscaster and retired football coach. I recently invited Lou to speak to a professional group I am mentoring, and he was his usual outstanding self. It’s no wonder that the Washington Speakers Bureau calls Lou one of the best speakers in the world.

I’ve heard him speak 100 times, and he still amazes me with his practical, down-to-earth and simple advice.

…Holtz simplifies things by following three simple rules:

Rule No. 1 — Do right. ‘Just do the right thing,’ Lou says. ‘We’ve all done dumb things and wish we hadn’t done them, but you can’t go through life with an albatross around your neck saying, ‘I made a mistake.’ Say you’re sorry, make amends, and move on.’

He added: ‘I think it’s wrong to be bitter. We all have a reason to be bitter. We’ve all had injustices done to us by society, by a spouse, by a friend, but you can’t go through life being bitter. We’re always blaming someone else. Wherever we are, it’s because of the choices we make.’

Rule No. 2 — Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted. Lou says: ‘Not everybody will be an All-American. Not everybody will be first team. Not everybody will be great. But everybody can do the best they can with the time allotted.’

Rule No. 3 — Show people you care. I have seen this rule in action many times. Lou is constantly asking people, ‘How can I help you? How can I assist you?’ He means it. He has a burning desire to help people.

Lou Holtz says he can get by with only three rules because the people you meet have three basic questions.

The first question: Can I trust you?

‘Without trust, there is no relationship,’ Lou said. ‘Without trust, you don’t have a chance. People have to trust you…. The only way you can ever get trust is if both sides do the right thing.’

The second question: Are you committed to excellence?

Lou explained, ‘…you are committed to certain standards….do everything to the best of your ability.’

The third question: Do you care about me?

Holtz said: ‘…Caring about people is not making their life easy. Caring about people is not being their friend. Caring about people is enabling them to be successful.’

A few years ago I was asked to help raise money for a Lou Holtz statue at the University of Notre Dame. On the pedestal, his players had chosen three words — trust, love, commitment. Those words represent Lou’s core values.

If people follow these three rules, their self-confidence grows. They don’t worry when the phone rings. They have no doubt about what they are doing. They lift everyone up….

  1. Mackay’s Moral: Life is a lot easier if you always play by the rules.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *