motivation | April 17, 2013

Michael 'Pinball' Clemons: "It's Not About A Hand Out, It's About A Hand-Up"

"If what you did yesterday still sounds good to you today—then you haven't done much today," says motivation speaker Michael Pinball Clemons. In a recent interview, the CFL legend and community service leader discussed why it's important not to live in the past. Keep striving for greatness every day, he says, and try to make what you do today even better than what you did yesterday. Known by many for his accomplished football career with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts (as a player, a former head coach and now, as the current vice-chair), Clemons is also a major contributor to community initiatives. His work with The Micheal "Pinball" Clemons Foundation focuses on mobilizing those who are under-resourced in their communities.

He provides more than just funding, he is quick to point out. "It's not about a hand out," he says in the interview. "It's about a hand-up." Giving people opportunities through education not only helps people develop the tools needed to succeed. but it also helps improve character. These two things, he believes, are the pillars of a functioning and thriving civil society. Character and education must exist and must work together in tandem, he stresses. Character without education stalls innovation. Education without character, on the other hand, leads to the sort of lax business ethics that can cripple entire economies (like the 2008 financial crisis, for example).

Clemons is an inspirational force—whether it's in the locker room giving players a pep talk, out in the community, or in front of a live audience. On the stage, he applies his boundless energy and dynamism to engage the crowd. As one of the most in-demand speakers in the country, he presents lessons learned on the field and on the sidelines in his popular presentations. Stressing the value of teamwork, Clemons talks about the potential we all possess. And, how we can achieve anything we put our minds to with the right amount of passion and dedication.