Trust Me on This: Social media is not your friend!

Secrets of success from the coach of the NCAA champion Louisville Cardinals: Ignore the Internet and be honest

By Rick Pitino as told to David Daley

Published November 8, 2013 12:00AM (EST)

Rick Pitino    (AP/Julia Malakie/Salon)
Rick Pitino (AP/Julia Malakie/Salon)

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I think the best advice is to organize your time to get the most out of your day. Be meticulous about it, focus in and don’t let any distractions take you away from achieving your goal. I learned that from [Hall of Fame basketball coach] Larry Brown, who told me there are so many things that will get you distracted; stay on your course of achieving your goal.

Let’s take my industry. If I were on a three-game losing streak, the entire social media would be coming up with excuses – playing the blame game. I wouldn’t subscribe to any of that. I’d block all of that out. I would be very cordial to the media, answer all of their questions, but I wouldn’t allow myself to turn on a call-in radio show or to read a newspaper that comes up with answers that they don’t really understand, because they aren’t around the team on a daily basis the way I am.

I would give credit to the teams that beat us, stay focused on getting better each day, and wait for a run that we’re going to have. I’d stay totally focused in on achieving the positive, and not paying attention to the cynics. Block them out! You cannot get distracted. Paying attention to criticism will make you lose focus. Stay focused on your journey only.

It sounds like it is hard to do -- but it's not. It is very easy to do: You don’t subscribe to it; you don’t listen to it; you don’t pay attention to it. They can’t help my team get better! They’re not going to be at practice today. I will be, with my players. We’re the ones who are going to make a difference, not people on the Internet.

Difficult times come. When faced with personal hardships, you’ve got to step up and just take all the fallout that will come your way. If you don’t tell the truth, you’re just going to wallow in self-pity and you’re going to show no courage when dealing with your family, dealing with your friends, dealing with the public. It is always going to be in your future when you continue to lie. You’re never going to get by it – personally, professionally – until you tell the truth. I think about Eliot Spitzer, or Anthony Weiner: They did not tell the truth. That is what people are looking for from people in tough situations.

I learned that a long time ago, because I preached it to my teams. “There’s a problem in your life personally, and we’ll get through it,” I said. “If you lie it is going to be part of your future forever. Let’s get it in your past!” But the first person you have to be truthful with is yourself. The feeling of personal disgust doesn't disappear overnight. What the truth does, however, is create a path to solutions.

In my own life, I had to turn the other cheek. I had to listen to ugly things from the crowd. It wasn’t going to go away until I faced up to it. So I turned the other cheek and moved on. It’s easy to get through by ignoring the Internet. Focus, that’s the most important thing.

Rick Pitino as told to David Daley

Rick Pitino is the coach of the NCAA champion Louisville Cardinals men's basketball team. His new book is "The One-Day Contract: How To Add Value To Every Minute of Your Life"

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