JSC Words of Wisdom #13: Hope is NOT a Strategy…


PHILADELPHIA (JSC) — Good Friday morning, Everyone! It’s been a while… a long while…since I brought you the JSC Words of Wisdom, a.k.a. #JSCWOW. Too damn long in fact. So I’m back at it with my first one of the new year and it’s time I hit y’all with a new mantra you can take into 2018 and beyond.

It’s about a thing called Hope. It’s a great thing to have. It’s a nice thing to do. But it cannot be the only card you have in your hand. Go figure that this phrase was inspired by, of all things: The Detroit Lions!

We are back so going forward, this will drop (just about) every Friday morning. Feel free to share this on your favorite social media outlet with the hashtag — #JSCWOW.

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A familiar sight during many a Lions playoff loss…

So, back on Jan. 9, 2017, I recorded and posted the 26th Episode of JSC Radio. It was the first show of 2017 and it came just days after the Detroit Lions’ 2016 season ended much in the same way that every season has ended since 1957: as a flaming pile of Honolulu Blue and Silver excrement. They had just gotten de-pantsed in Seattle in a Wild Card Playoff Game where the Lions looked like a team that made the playoffs because a real team had forfeited the opportunity.

What proceeded to happen was 54 minutes of me spitting the hottest of fire at the Lions. I broke down everything from how I allowed myself to get pump-faked by their fraudulent 9-4 start — complete with EIGHT 4th quarter comebacks, to how they collapsed down the stretch, to the hot mess that was that Seattle game, to how fed up I was that prior to that game so many people had the nerve to be overly confident to borderline arrogant about the Lions’ chances — much like the Pittsburgh Steelers were last Sunday v. Jacksonville. One thing that really irritated me was how much I was getting condescended to by Lions slaps who were indignant about how “great” (now former) head coach Jim Caldwell was. 

 I had dug in on how so many Lions fans who insisted (and still do) that the reason they so adamantly defend this franchise and this team is that they’re happy winning eight to 10 games a year and occasionally slipping into the playoffs through the back door. The logic is that “as long as they’re not “0-16”, they’re great! Why change anything!? THEY HAVE A WINNING RECORD! When I bring up that minor issue of, you know, actually being good enough to WIN a Division Championship, a playoff game and go further — instead of just getting in and getting clobbered — they often respond in naïve yet arrogant fashion with “We have hope! We believe that one day they’ll find a way. Maybe they’ll get lucky!” By the end of the show, as the outro music was playing, my anger had reached its crescendo:

“I want [Lions fans] to demand more. Stop giving me this ‘well we used to be bad, but 9-7 is so much better! Why can’t you be positive? How come you just can’t hope!?’ As I said in the first segment and as I will close this show now: Hope is not a G–damn Strategy!”

JSC Illingsworth Big LogoYep. I said it. And I stand by every word. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want it to be misconstrued that you should never have hope in life. Hope is what carries us through tough times. Hope is what people who are fighting for equality and justice eternally have. Hope is what gets people through when that check is slim and the bills are fat. Hope is how I pushed through high school, and college, and graduate school. Hope is what wakes my black ass up every morning. Hope is what helped my mother beat cancer. I’m not dropping a grumpy on hope.

What I am saying, however, is that hope should not be the only thing you rely on. Whether it’s hope, or prayer, or faith, or whatever the f— it is you have, you can’t do a thing without Action! Yes, I’m channeling Marshawn Lynch here. You can hope for the best. But you also need to have a plan in place, regardless of what it is you do.

“Hope is not a G–damn Strategy!”

It’s not. Hope is nothing without action. You can say in 2018 “I hope to get my business off the ground” or “I hope to get in better shape” or “I hope to get a better job.” Hope is good. But my next question to you will be: How do you plan to make it happen? What are you going to do to move forward? Just doing the same shit you’ve been doing and hoping for a different outcome is counterproductive. Hope gives you a vision of the finish. Action will actually get you there. I’m not speaking out of turn when I say this, and it sure as hell isn’t easy.

In July 2007, I made up my mind to leave my first professional radio gig at WQHH in Lansing. I foolishly did so without a full time gig lined up. I was out here trying to find myself and had applied to Wayne State for graduate school. I had hoped on top of hope that something would come together. It wasn’t until I got up off my ass and made moves to change my situation. It took time — and you could argue that I’m still making moves more than a decade later — but just sitting around hoping things will change without actually changing your situation will lead to, at best, stagnation and, at worst, full on failure.

In closing, making a positive change in your life means being proactive, not reactive. Hope is a reactive activity. Get out in front of things and make things better. It’s always good to hope for the best. It’s always good to believe great things will happen. But the only way great things will happen for you is if you mix one teaspoon of hope, with a pound of actual action. It’s easy to be complacent and mediocre. It’s tough being great. It takes work, perseverance, patience and skill. And, yes, it also takes a little bit of Hope.

Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Friday, January 19, 2018.

Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ

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