A friend of mine wrote a Facebook post the other day and “tagged” me. He said something along the lines of, "Something you can count on every day as a strength coach is Todd Hamer posting a quote." He named a few other strength coaches as well, but this really made me think about why I post a quote on social media every day.

When I was in college, I was lazy and I wasn't dedicated to self-improvement. I know this sounds self-deprecating, but it isn't at all. It's just true. In my twenties and into my thirties (late thirties now), I've tried to make up for lost time. I started the same way many people do. I read self-help books and “easy” reads. As I improved at reading and writing, my interests deepened and grew. I began to challenge myself as a human and learner. I started asking more questions and finding interest in the smallest things that most could probably care less about. A perfect example of this is the Christmas gift my wife got me. In my home, we don’t buy gifts for each other. We try to find other ways to improve our lives and the world. But this year, my wife gave me a single book about the history of Pittsburgh's city steps. Yes, that's right. Steps.

I began reading it Christmas morning and finished it in two days. The book was a true look at the people who came before me, why they lived where they lived, how they got there and how they worked. Did you know that at one time there were steps that, from beginning to end, went one mile from the Ohio River to the top of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh? If you've never been to Pittsburgh, here's a picture of these steps.


Photo via

Imagine that your house was at the top of those steps and you worked in a factory at the bottom. To start the day, you walked down those steps. Then you worked in a mill all day and returned home by walking up all those steps (sorry if your latte wasn’t perfect today). These are the things that make me push myself. My life is easy. I never sleep in late because I think of these people walking up one mile of steps every day and I wonder, why can’t I be that strong?

RECENT: RMU Strength and Speed Conference Recap

All of this leads me to my quotes. I've found that many interesting people live on this planet with us and many more came before us. So I find encouragement and happiness from reading about these people each and every day. While thinking of this, I realized that I have some favorite quotes, so I wanted to share these and tell you what they mean to me. I tried to pull from a diverse group of authors. Some I like and some I don’t, but we can learn from our adversaries as well as from our friends. So here’s my list...

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us."

— Marianne Williamson

I read this quote at least once a week. This defines so many people's fear of success. As humans, coaches, athletes and educators, we are more powerful than we can imagine or know. We (especially me) fail every day at recognizing this and using our powers for improvement. How often have you let your life be disrupted by something small, insignificant and out of your control? The lesson here is make the small things in life great. Do great work every day and it will culminate into great things!

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

— Winston Churchill

Could this be any easier? We need to improve every day. Reality time here, folks. Improvement is in and of itself change. I don't know what I knew 10 years ago, and in 10 years, I'll know something different. If that’s confusing, it’s because knowledge and growth are confusing. We must not fall into the trap of what we know. Because the world is huge and we know so little of it, in reality, we don’t know much. Knowledge and experience are linked and always will be.

You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

― Charlie "Tremendous" Jones

As an avid reader, I love this quote. The point is that if you're satisfied with who you are today, then I feel bad for you. Because no matter how great, strong and smart you are, you could be better. The nice part about being me is that I'm not great, strong or smart, so anything I do makes me better. I read a book and forget what I just read. I meet someone and forget his or her name immediately. Knowing this, I need to read, meet more people and have more experiences than the average person just to keep up. Who changed your view point today?

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

— Mahatma Gandhi

Carpe diem is a great way to live life, but I often wonder if this was yesteryear's YOLO. Yes, seize the day and attack it with all that you have. Don't forget that there is a tomorrow and you, as well as those around you, are responsible for tomorrow. So live today hard. Train, hike and eat, but don't live irresponsibly. Continue to “learn as if you will learn forever.”

I love seeing college graduation and all the young men and women ready to go get a free dinner with mom and dad. But look closely. Every one of those graduation ceremonies has at least one octogenarian in it receiving a degree, knowing that it will probably never help him or her land a job.

"The tiger in your mind is more ferocious than the tiger in the jungle."

— Buddhist saying

I've read this quote in quite a few books, but when I try to find the original author, I can't. This is a shame, as I would love the opportunity to thank whoever said this. The anticipation of something is generally worse than the activity. Think about the dentist. I now love going to the dentist, but I didn't always feel this way. Once I get there, I sit back, listen to some bad music and watch cable television on the ceiling mounted TV. I basically meditate my way to healthy gums. But how many Americans fear the dentist or public speaking or an upcoming meeting or asking a girl out or even adding more weight to the bar? Release the fear as best you can and take the experience for what it is—nothing more and nothing less.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

— Abraham Lincoln

This is probably part of the problem with athletics today. Think about this. On signing day, how many young men and women say, "I'm taking my talents to XYZ school?” They have power and they show it to the news media, coaches and others who are watching. Have you ever seen a 17-year-old say, “I'm taking my hard work, commitment to excellence and care for my teammates to XYZ school?” No, because we have empowered young athletes to believe that they are powerful because of their talent. The problem is everyone has talent. Talent is God given and easy. Hard work is dirty and hard, hence the word. Now look in the mirror. Have you ever abused your power? I have and every day it bothers me. I'm just happy that some of my former staff members are still my friends.

I could do this for days, but I'll end with one more.

"Everything in moderation, including moderation."

— Oscar Wilde

I often hear the first three words of this spoken and I often think what an apathetic view it is. Mr. Wilde does a great job here in turning this saying on its head. Everything in moderation doesn't work. Commit to something and work for it. I don’t smoke crack in moderation. I don’t commit crimes in moderation. There are also edible food-like substances that I don’t eat in moderation. When I play music, I play it as if it were the last song that I ever get to perform (imagine Animal from the Muppets behind the kit). When I lift, I lift with all I have. When I mountain bike, I push my own personal envelope. When I ski, I just try not to die. But I do none of these in moderation. I do them as hard, strong and best as I can. Moderation is for people afraid to try to be the best.

I hope these quotes got your mind working a little bit. I have a ton more and would be more than happy to share them with anyone who asks. The lesson is don't just take the quote at face value. Think about the quote and what the author meant and why it's important to you as a person.