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George Allen: Keep it simple

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Hall of Fame football coach George Allen was all about positive thinking.

In 12 years as a head coach in the National Football League, Allen never had a losing season. He steered the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl in 1973 and turned several other losing teams into winners.

Known for his free-spending ways (The Redskins’ owner once said, “George was given an unlimited budget—and exceeded it.”), Allen is best remembered for his positive approach.

To help yourself achieve the most, he said, substitute small, negative images in your mind with big, positive ones.

Allen also believed in the power of concentration. You can maintain focus, he said, by staying poised and controlled even when things aren’t going your way. Keep your eye on the most important thing, and don’t get distracted.

The value of simplification—not doing or thinking about too many things at a time—is precisely what researchers have confirmed in the latest research on multitasking.

“Too often we make things more complicated than they are,” Allen wrote in a book on winning strategies. “The surest way to lose is to lose your composure, because then you also lose your mental edge.”

— Adapted from Strategies for Winning: A Top Coach’s Game Plan for Victory in Football and in Life, George Allen, McGraw-Hill.

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