Create a culture of selflessness | James Chapman | TEDxUTChattanooga

Create a culture of selflessness | James Chapman | TEDxUTChattanooga


Translator: Sarah Alonso
Reviewer: Denise RQ Pick him up! Time out. Get over here. If any man on this team falls down, you just sprint, and you pick him up! The great coach Jason Gillespie. So let me give you a bit of background before you think that I’m crazy. My entire life,
I’ve been playing basketball. Little league, middle school, high school, college, even some international. But the most influential coach
I’ve ever had throughout the years was coach Jason Gillespie. See, I played at a school
called Bluefield College, a little small school about 45 minutes
outside of Virginia Tech. But even though we were a small school, we had a lot
of nationally recognized accolades. We led the nation in scoring, we beat three Division I teams
my senior year, went to Auburn [University],
almost beat Auburn – and if anybody follows basketball, they know that big teams like Auburn
call little teams like Bluefield, drag them up there
so they can beat them by 40 points. But there was a problem with this team. We were more concerned about
our individual success than the success of the team as a whole, so we started off losing, and losing pretty bad. So coach said this: “Here’s what I’ll do: I will create a culture of selflessness. I’ll make them play for each other. So if any man falls down from a screen, any man lays the ball
but it falls out of bounce, any man hits the deck for any reason, no matter where you are,
you run, and you pick him up.” Like that (snaps), we got it. We realized that if we were going
to maximize our potential, if we were going to win,
which was the most important thing, we had to be selfless. We had to put the man next to us ahead of us. So it got me thinking; Chattanooga’s like that Bluefield College
team in a lot of ways. One way in particular, because any time I tell somebody
I played at Bluefield College, they say the same thing as when I say
I’m from Chattanooga, “Where’s that?” (Laughter) But in other ways as well, because even though Chattanooga
is a small city, we’ve received a lot
of nationally recognized accolades. Fastest internet in the world – nation, world, I don’t know, it’s fast! It went from being named
the dirtiest city in America in the 1960s to a complete transformation, now being called The Scenic City
for how beautiful the city is, and the restoration that we’ve done
to our downtown and riverfront areas. It’s huge. So, I’m like, what if we created
a culture of selflessness? What if the city did that? How big would that be, right?
Think about it. Anybody has ever seen
that movie Talladega Nights? Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen it. Ricky Bobby, “Shake and bake, wow!” I loved that movie. Right? Love it. Ricky Bobby had one main concept:
if you’re not the first… (Audience) …you’re the last. Exactly. If you’re not the first,
you’re the last. But, I believe when it comes to the city,
it’s the complete opposite. I think in order to be the first,
you [should] be the last. You put the people who you work with, the people who you mentor,
the people who are your friends, put them ahead of you. It’s like that old saying goes: If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far,
you take others with you. So what? What if we create
a culture of selflessness? “OK, fine. James, I’ll buy in.
Chattanooga. Culture of selflessness.” How do we do it, right? Well, first, it starts with leadership. Because if coach Gillespie
weren’t the most selfless person on the team and the organization, the players would have never bought in. It didn’t work like that. He first had to be selfless. And I’m going to tell you
something about our coach: he treated all of us equal. He treated the “star players” the same way he treated the guy sitting at the end of
the bench who never got much playing time. All equal. So when a city also starts
with leadership, it starts at our executive directors,
it starts with our bosses, it starts with our elected officials implementing programs
like the small business incentive. And, yeah, we have
Volkswagen, and that’s great – and it’s always great
to bring in large corporations and bring in tons of jobs and give them tax breaks
and incentives for that – but what about the little guy
sitting at the end of the bench? What about our small businesses? It’s also great to give them
an incentive to hire. The Small Business Administration
reported that since the 1970s, 55% of the old jobs
and 66% of the new jobs have been created by small businesses. So why would we not give them
incentives for hiring as well? Also, what if you were at work, and you didn’t just get bonuses
or incentives for your own performance, but you got a bonus or incentive
every time you helped out your co-worker? You were responsible
for their individual performance as well. What kind of culture would that create? What kind of changes
would we see happening? But it takes a leadership
to implement those things. What else? See, I told you guys
that we led the nation in scoring. And we also led the nation
in points, rebounds, and steals, but I am not trying to brag. But what I didn’t tell you guys
is that we led the nation in assists. Nobody was ball-hogging. We shared the ball. We put each other in positions
to score and to be successful, and everybody had that mindset, right? It has to work the same way for the city. We have to pass it on. Big deal if we have entrepreneurs
or a single entrepreneur who’s doing awesome things in this city, but if he holds on to that knowledge
and never shares those things with the up-and-coming entrepreneurs, then what difference does it make? We got to lead the nation in assists. We have to pass it on. See, I was very fortunate
to be in a program here where they hand-selected
the top executive directors, and CEOs, and decision-makers, and then by application process, they selected
up-and-coming emerging leaders in the city and they paired us together. Once a month, they took one mentor with eight different protégés, and sat them around a table. And that mentor just poured
knowledge into us. He told us how late we had to stay up, how early we had to get up, how much hard work it takes, what kind of connections you need to make. He gave us this information and by far, it was the best class
that I’ve ever sat in. They didn’t teach
that at Bluefield College. So what if we continue to pass it on? Because since they passed it on to us, now it’s our responsibility to pass it on to the next upcoming emerging leaders. So what else? You have to pick them up! That’s the whole point
of this thing, right? Yeah, it starts with leadership
and we put great programs into place; yeah, we start passing it on, and we’re sharing knowledge and resources
and we’re coming together as a community, but what about
those underprivileged neighborhoods? What about the homeless?
What about the at-risk youth? See, it’s real easy for us to just sweep them into little corners
and pockets of the city, and hope the tourists don’t see them
when they come into town. It can be easy to do that. It’s hard to pick them up, to uplift them out
of those situations that they’re in, so when the tourists come into town, we don’t have to sweep them
into little pockets of the city. You have to pick them up. See, one example of that is an initiative
that a non-profit here is leading. And I’m grateful to be a part of it. We recognized
that there is an issue downtown; on Martin Luther King Boulevard, on one side of MLK, there’s Miller Plaza. Business people go there, they eat, they talk, they network. Directly on the other side
of MLK is Miller Park where there’s homeless
and disadvantaged people. They’re not eating. So we say: “Here’s what we’ll do: we’ll close off that block of MLK, we’re going to line up a table
right down the middle, we’re going to sponsor some food, and we’re going to open it up
to the community to bring in food as well,
just like a potluck. And we’re going to invite
both sides to the table, so we can let them know:
“Hey, we want to hear your story. You matter as well. You may not get to have
Thanksgiving meal with your family, so break bread with us.” We want to pick you up because if any man
on this team falls down, you run, and you pick him up. Thank you. (Applause)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

13 thoughts on “Create a culture of selflessness | James Chapman | TEDxUTChattanooga

  1. No comments? Everyone must be speechless. You all forget we started as clans and tribes, didn't ya? un-huh! You all are so stressed out in your own world, that you forgot that "if 2 or 3 agreed on a common purpose, nothing is impossible." – Jim Rohn

  2. The whole concept of "Selflessness" is unrealistic at it's core and doesn't work in reality. What this guy is arguing for and promoting is collectivism.

  3. His ideals are very socialist in a capitalist country. But I do wish America becomes more socially aware and empathetic to the lower class needs.

  4. He didn't explain selflessness at all he just talked about assisting each other. No personal transformation can be derived from anything he said

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