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  • Jack Fleming

George Raveling - Nuggets of Wisdom

The following notes are from the Tim Ferriss Podcast conversation with George Raveling, one of the ultimate pioneers and mentors to the game of basketball. At 80 years old his most famous accolades include Global Director of Marketing at Nike at 63 years old, owner of the original ‘I Have a Dream’ speech by Martin Luther King, assistant coach of the 1984 Olympic team and Head Coach at Iowa, Washington State and USC.

The link to the podcast is here:

Martin Luther King

- All great leaders share a vision and have a journey.

- He was a man for all seasons and all reasons.

- If a man hasn’t found something they’re willing to die for, maybe they’re not fit to live.

- Whenever I question my depth of commitment I ask am I willing to put my life on the line for this?

- Are you willing to have conviction in your beliefs, to stand up for them and risk being fired?

My Grandma

- She was the Pope, her word was infallible.

- Dad died at 9 years old, Mum was institutionalised at 14 years old.

- I went to a catholic boys boarding school run by priests and taught by nuns.

- She taught me social graces — I still say yes sir and yes ma’am.

- “There’s more horses asses in the world than there are horses.”


- I had no idea what a scholarship even was, I wanted to be a pilot.

“Little did I know basketball was going to be a transformative force in my life that was going to take me places I never thought I could go.”

- My Grandma couldn’t believe white people would give me a free education to play basketball.


- Authentic and sustainable relationships are a privilege, at the core is trust and respect.

- Unintentionally I’ve stayed in touch with people over the years, allowing relationships to endure.

- I ask myself continually “What can I do for you?”

- If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.

- What do we have in common, what can I share? Everybody has certain needs.

- We all need truth tellers in our life.

At 80 years old : What is it I don’t know but need to know, and how’s it going to keep me relevant in this ever changing world?

- Relationships are partnerships, a we mentality.

- We’re in the same boat, row together and get this boat to shore.


- As long as someone can control your mind, they can control who you are.

- People have a greater respect for you if you have intellectual respect.

- Respect is far better than being liked.

- It’s an obsession, I don’t go anywhere without a book and a notebook.

- The books that have had the most impact are the ones that change the way I think, act and behave.

- The 3 Wise Men always come baring gifts, whenever I meet somebody I always gift them at least one book.

- Favourite writer Walter Isaacson: Steve Jobs, Einstein, Benjamin Franklin.

- Books I’ve recently gifted: Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

Books I Gifted Tim Ferriss

1. The True Believer by Eric Hoffer

2. Blue Highways by William Last Heat-Moon

3. Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Jeff Howe and Joi Ito

4. Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

5. Truth: How the Many Sides to Every Story Shape Our Reality by Hector McDonald

- I take notes on all my books — what to google, what to reread, what to add to my journal

- Information = knowledge = wisdom = growth = something to share

- Transfer my best notes to my journal. I have notes dating back to 1970.

- What did I learn to make myself a better version of myself?

- How shameful would it be to say I didn’t do something in 86,400 seconds to improve myself?


- Don’t forget how valuable the little things are — the thankyou’s, the smiles, the compliments. - Practice random acts of kindness because so much of our world is unintentionally cruel.

Coaching at the Olympics

- Very seldom in our lifetime does our country say ‘we need you’. - We are always taking from our country, it was my turn to give. - The 1984 Olympics was that opportunity.

Coaches Who Impacted My Life

Bob Knight - Saw something in my I never saw in myself. - He was relentless in making sure I achieved it. - Told me I needed to make myself an expert in some phase of the game. - Said I had a unique opportunity to be an expert in rebounding, I ultimately wrote two books on rebounding that sold over 100,00 copies.

John Thompson - When you hear him the talk to listen ratio should be 10:90% because he is a maverick thinker.

Lefty Driesell - Be the best dressed staff in your conference, be the most prepared. “Everything great that has happened to me has been cataclysmic of people who have seen something in me that I didn’t see in myself. It’s a blessed journey to meet people who want to help you grow even at 80 years old.”

Self Reflection

- The conversation you have daily with yourself is more important than the ones you have with those around you. - At least 90% of my self conversation must be positive or else I stamp it out. - Once a day for one hour I sit by myself with a notebook and pen, whatever comes to my mind I write out. - When I wake up I have two choices, to be happy or to be very happy.

I focus on four things every day; 1. Energy management 2. Time management 3. Environmental management 4. Adds up to how productive am I?

  • Declutter my mind, no more than four things a day.

- Office is a total focus and commitment to business, talk with the people on my team daily I respect. - Understand that they know something I don’t know. - Once a week personal audit then course correct 1. Am I making progress? 2. What’s not working? - Try to hold myself to the most severe standards. - I hate the concept of retirement. - I never want to be a resident of society, I want to be a contributor.


- How can I know what the future is going to be like? - We’re in a society where it’s be whose to be comfortable. - We must get comfortable being uncomfortable. - If I could give one message: IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME. - We have a responsible to be positive difference makers. - The most important person you get to lead is yourself. If you cannot lead yourself you can’t lead others.

Start to look within before you look out — how can I be a positive change maker in myself and others?

Final Thoughts

- Technology has created a platform for me to share information. My Grandma said “I know where the potholes are in life and I can help so you don’t have to step into them.” I’m 80 years old, I hope I can help some people avoid there own potholes. - Nothing in life is of any value if you can’t share it with other people. - Committed to giving away my personal belongings to simplify my life.

“Don’t be a prisoner of somebody else’s expectations. I want to be free of all fences society has put around me. I want to find my outer limits and keep reaching for them.”

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