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The 5 Ethics of Life You Need to Know About



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I recently read the 5 Ethics of Life from The Wise You. I believe these 5 principles offer a great deal of wisdom for living a very successful life.

1. Listen Before You Speak

Every successful person I have ever worked with has developed the ability to listen.

I was directing a basketball clinic in New York and went to dinner with a high school coach and the legendary UCLA coach, John Wooden. Coach Wooden’s UCLA teams won 7 NCAA National Basketball Tournaments in a row and 10 in the last 12 years he coached. I don’t think either of these feats will ever be eclipsed.

If you had been at that dinner and you thought speaking was the key to intelligence, you would have thought the high school coach was John Wooden and Coach Wooden the high school coach. The high school coach did most of the talking and one of, if not the best, team coach in the history of American sport did most of the listening.

My daughter, Colleen, is a lawyer who worked exclusively in the Hedge Fund industry. She often had to negotiate contracts where a great deal of money was on the table. So, everyday when she opened her computer, she read this quote, “I won’t learn anything today by talking; but I will learn today by listening.”

2. Earn Before You Spend.

I worked at a university where budgets were quite tight. When we needed more dollars in our athletic individual sport budgets or to expand something for all our sports, we were often told to earn or fundraise the money needed. I was involved with both these areas as I was the basketball coach and the athletic director/chair.

To better serve our student-athletes we needed to expand our weight room. Many of the athletes we recruited were from high schools where the weight rooms were bigger and better than what we had at our university. To accomplish this expansion, we had to raise the money. We reached our goal through the initiation of a golf outing that continues to serve athletics today.

The same problem existed with our basketball budget. Our budget was inadequate to serve our players the way they deserved to be served. Once again, we had to earn the money before we could spend it. So, we started a  clinic for Chicago area coaches. The clinic enhanced our budget by 38%. 

It would have been nice to be given the money for these two necessities, but by earning the money before we could spend it, we were very judicious in our spending.

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” – Reba

3. Think Before You Write.

I believe I learned two valuable lessons from two good friends on thinking before writing.

My first lesson came from a very successful businessman. His advice was that it was okay to write about something you were angry about. However, don’t send it that day. His wisdom was to read it the next morning when you had cooled off, tear it up, and then rewrite it.

My second important lesson was directed to the writing segment of thinking before you write. A successful college administrator taught me this. As a leader you often have a colleague come to you with an idea he is excited about. If you begin talking about it at that moment, that conversation may end up taking two hours of your day.

Instead of talking about it when he/she brings their idea to you, tell them to put it in writing, bring it back to you, and the two of you will discuss it. This philosophy makes them think before they write. Their new concept(s) will be more concise and more organized when they come to the discussion.

One other thought about people interrupting your day with their ideas. A professor at Notre Dame said he complained for 25 years that he could get little done at work because of all the interruptions. Then in his 26th year, he realized the interruptions were his work.

Leaders must listen to the interruptions because they are important to the people bringing them. However, you benefit both them and you when you tell them to think, then write.

4. Try Before You Quit.

Thomas Edison is said to have failed in 10,000 experiments before he founded electricity. He must have had a strong FQ – Failure Quotient. He could and did fail often but he had the resiliency to keep getting back up.

Abraham Lincoln, considered by many to be one of, if not the best, president in American history, lost the great majority of all the elections he ran in before being elected president. Like Edison, he had a strong FQ.

The movie, RUDY, may be the best example of combining trying with a strong FQ that I have seen in my lifetime. I know Rudy Ruettiger quite well and the movie accurately portrays the many obstacles he had to overcome to get admitted to Notre Dame and to become a walk-on with the football team. I am positive he was the only person in his life who believed he could accomplish either dream!

It is easy to quit; it is tough to try, most especially when the odds are not in your favor.

The title of the Reverend Robert Schuller’s outstanding book represents the most important concept in trying – Tough Times Don’t Last but Tough People Do. 

5. Live Before You Die.

I was fortunate to be asked to present basketball camps and clinics in some European countries. These events presented great opportunities for me to live before I died.

This travel offered me a great learning experience. One of the best parts of these trips was how educational they were. They brought me to places I never would have seen in my lifetime were it not for basketball.

In Belgium coaches took me to Ardennes where one of the most important battles in World War II was fought, The Battle of the Bulge. After the Allied Forces won this battle, the Germans retreated for the rest of the war. I will never forget looking at the pillars which listed all the states where American soldiers who were killed in that battle lived.

In Ireland I saw the beauty of the Ring of Kerry and the extraordinary Cliffs of Moher, but it was the warmth and the incredible hospitality of the Irish people that I remember most.

In Austria the coaches brought me to a concentration camp. Although I had read a great deal about the holocaust, I was not prepared at all for what I saw. It was the most eerie feeling I have ever had in my life. It is unbelievable that the Nazis could even think of, let alone do, the atrocities that were done in that camp and camps throughout Europe. 

In Greece I went to the Acropolis. There are no tall buildings in Athens because from ever building the Acropolis must be seen. It was a long walk to the top, so I asked the coaches how did the workers carry all the marble to the top of the hill when they were building before the life of Christ? Their answer was – SLOWLY!

When we traveled with our team throughout the United States, we tried to have our players live before they died. They had the opportunity to go to Cooperstown in New York: Fenway Park in Boston; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City; Juarez, Mexico while playing in El Paso; skiing in Colorado; and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to name a few. Our trips were much more than basketball.

Final Thoughts

These 5 Ethics or principles can lead to a most successful life:

  • Listen. Before You Speak.
  • Earn. Before You Spend.
  • Think. Before You Write.
  • Try. Before You Quit.
  • Live. Before You Die.

Pat Sullivan was a successful coach, teacher, and administrator in the Chicago area for 44 years – 10 years at the high school level and 34 at the collegiate level. His basketball teams won 602 games; he was named Coach-of-the-Year 11 times; and he has been inducted into 8 Halls of Fame. He has received Lifetime Achievement awards from Lewis University, the Joliet, Illinois, Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Pat has offered basketball clinics and camps in Austria, Ireland, Belgium, and Greece and has spoken at clinics throughout America for the USA Coaches Clinics. He has also spoken to business executives from IBM, Accenture, and Sun Microsystems, as well as the University of Notre Dame’s Play Like A Champion conference. He is the author of Attitude-The Cornerstone of Leadership and Team-Building: From the Bench to the Boardroom.

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.



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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma



Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.


Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:


1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.


2. Persistent Pain

Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.

4. A strong need for control

It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
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3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Courage and Create a Life of Meaning

we cultivate meaning in our lives when we pursue our calling



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Our deepest human desire is to cultivate meaning in our lives. Our deepest human need is to survive. (more…)

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Grit: The Key to Your Ultimate Greatness

Grit is an overlooked aspect of success, but it plays a critical role.



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A grit mindset is an essential key to your greatness. It’s what separates those who achieve their goals from those who give up and never reach their potential. It’s also the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. If you want to be great and achieve your dreams, then you need grit. Luckily, it’s something that can be learned. Please keep reading to learn more about grit and discover four ways to develop it. (more…)

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