Learn the story of George Washington Carver, "the peanut man," and how he overcame adversity to achieve his dreams and give to others.Sign Up to Watch
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-You did this with the school you started. And today a school that didn't exist before, the Carver Academy, now is set to open up 20 schools in the next five years.
-In San Antonio.
-In San Antonio. And you said you're going to be doubling the amount of kids that are graduating from high school that are our from--
-Low income kids that are matriculating to college-- we will double the number if we do what we're supposed to do. Because all of our schools now down in the Rio Grande Valley-- we have 22 schools down there-- all of our schools have 100% matriculation the college. I think this was the first year where we had maybe one or two kids that didn't go to college, or haven't yet. We will get them there.
We've had a phenomenal record of getting kids into college, especially low income kids. Because down in the Rio Grande Valley, 97% of those kids are our low income kids and over half of them are non-English as a first language kids. So here we come to San Antonio. Our Carver Academy was the first school in San Antonio.
We're going to build up to 20 schools. We opened three schools so far. Two more schools are coming online this year. When we have 20 schools and we're graduating kids from our 20 schools, we will be effectively doubling the number of low income kids going to a college every single year here in the city. So that's an ambitious goal and I believe it's a very achievable goal.
-And I realize that you're not anywhere close to the potential that you're going to ultimately get to in my mind. I think that's pretty awesome that you saw a problem, you're driving to the arena, going to the game, and you see poverty everywhere. Instead of saying, well, this land is depleted, we're in trouble, you said, hey, you know, we're going to go ahead and build a school. Maybe not 20 schools at once. We're going to one build one.
-And we're going to solve the problem for maybe-- how many kids were in the first class?
-We're going to solve the problem for 60 kids, which for some could feel like that's not really going to help.
-That's a ripple in the ocean. That's nothing. You know, you're right. It started even back when I was in college. When I came out of college, I was in Washington DC in the Maryland, DC, Virginia area.
I visited 20 different high schools there and I talked to all those kids. And my feedback from those kids was it's easier for us to sell drugs. We can make a ton of money selling drugs. Why would we go to school? There's nobody in our lives telling us that that's important or that there's any kind of reward for that. The people that we see that we admire have cars, have money, they have everything they need and It's because of the drug culture. So why would we not do that?
So that was a good argument. There was nothing I could really say to them except, well, you're hurting other people by selling drugs and it's something I can't respect, which is not a great argument. So, you know, here I come and I get a chance to take these kids. It really prompted me to come back and say, hey, there's a massive problem out there. We are losing a generation of kids because they don't see the opportunity, they're not seizing the opportunity.
On one side, I see these kids who are begging for some way to get out and on the other side I get Harvard calling me, Ivy League schools calling me, saying how do we increase the number of minorities? We can't find them! We're looking for these kids! We will pay for their college.
All the Ivy League schools now will give-- if you're making under $120,000 or $180,000 a year, you will go to school there for free.
-So how do I connect this group of people that want to give the opportunity to this group of people that desperately need the opportunity? And I saw education as a means of doing that. So that was my solution.
-I just love the parallels. And I love how you took a story from someone you admired and you implemented those practices in your own life. It's exciting.
Now the third principle I gained from his life was that he basically determined that success is a choice. Now, David, I obviously know we cannot control every aspect of our lives. Yet George Washington Carver firmly believed that you could basically all but guarantee success if you were committed to working hard. And he said this. He says, "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."
-I mean, that's something we can all do. No matter what we are, no matter what job we have, if we do it in an uncommon way we can't help-- I'll just give you an example. When I worked at a tax and accounting software corporation, I was an intern. And for some reason I'd kind of caught the bug of over-delivering and working hard. I was starting to figure it out a little bit.
I remember just trying to really do a good job at a certain point. I remember a supervisor going, Mr. Clark, we'd like to keep you for another-- I was an intern. And so they just kept me on for a bit longer and gave me a raise. And they kept kind of acknowledging me. And I worked up a little bit just by doing the common thing, working in a call center in an uncommon way.
-Yeah, absolutely. People notice the-- it's crazy. You talk about a quote like this where Carver says do the common things in an uncommon way. Now, we could look at something as simple as saying hello.
I can look at you. I can walk by you in the morning. I can say, hey, how you doing, and just keep walking. Or I can come, I can look in your eyes, and I can say, "Hi, so good to see you today." and then I can walk away. And those two things would leave two entirely different impressions upon you.
The next time you saw me, you would be like, that was that nice guy. He really stopped and he said hello to me the other day. As opposed to, that guy didn't even give me the time of day.
-We went to subway with you.
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And I've seen other athletes do this, where somebody says, can I take a photo with you? And the athlete will say, no, no. And the way it comes across, it comes across like they're upset.
-So the other day I was in New York, though, and there was a guy who's on the team and he's not an all-star. He's not one of their top players.
DAVID ROBINSON: Right.
-And I just saw of a fan reach out and say, hey, can I get your autograph? And he just kind of ignored the person, wouldn't talk to him. I saw it happen again and again and I'm going, OK, I could see maybe if I'm an athlete, I get asked that all the time. Maybe I just want to enjoy family time.
I don't know the guy's situation or what he was going through on that day, but you're at Subway the other day, we're going to Subway with you, and you got asked by numerous people if they can get a photo with you? And you did it. And you looked them in the eye and you didn't have to.
And so it seems like you're doing ordinary things or you're doing the common things in an uncommon way. Are you intentional about this, David? Is that something you try?
-Absolutely. I think if they're easy things, it's not even hard things, and that's what's so great about it. That's what makes this quote just genius. Because we all face these things every single day. It's not like there's not one person out here who doesn't say hello to people in the morning. Or who doesn't have an opportunity to be kind to someone. You know. Or even half of us are married. [INAUDIBLE] you don't have the opportunity to get up and really say something nice to your wife.
We all have these common things. How do I say, you know, hello in the morning to my children? Do I come in and pull the sheets off the bed and have them fall on the floor? Or do I come in and give them a big kiss on the head and say, sweetheart, you know, it's a new day. So there are these common things that we do and we have an opportunity to be very, very uncommon in those things. And it's unbelievable the impact that it leaves on people when you do them.
-Do you do this because you believe God is watching at all times or do you do this because you're trying to secretly get ahead? Or what is your motivation?
-That was my goal. When I was taking pictures at the Subway, I was looking to get ahead. I figured the lady working behind the counter could really do something for me next week.
-She's a potential investor?
-She's a potential investor in my next fund.
-That's not particularly my motivation. My motivation is because I feel like I have that responsibility. God's given me these gifts for a reason and it's to lift people up, to encourage people, and however I can use my gifts I will try to use them in that manner.
CLAY CLARK: If I'm watching this right now and I say, why should I have to do common things in an uncommon way? If I'm somebody who's really, I grew up without financial resources, and we can get into that mentality where we're upset. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We're just upset.
We feel like the rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. My boss is not a good guy. The economy's bad. My house is terrible. We make this list of issues and then we're kind of in a place right now, somehow somebody has tricked us to log onto this website and we're going, why do I have to do this?
DAVID ROBINSON: Well,
-What would you tell them?
-I would tell you, you don't have to do it I mean, it's your choice.
CLAY CLARK: OK.
-Success is a choice.
CLAY CLARK: OK.
-So, you know, I think the thing is, that I've had plenty of bosses who I didn't particularly respect or like. Not plenty. I've had a few bosses that I didn't particularly think had my best interest in mind. But that didn't stop me from supporting that person. If he was in a position to be my boss, my job was to encourage and support him and make him look good. That was my job. And so I took that very seriously, because that that's a reflection on me. It's not a reflection on him, it's a reflection on me. And so that builds my character, and it builds my strength, my reputation.
-I'm going to mention this, but I'm not going to mention the specific coach or the specific teams, because I don't want to get anyone in trouble here. But you played for a guy, allegedly, who was a likes-to-curse guy. Likes to just freak out all the time in practice and yell at everybody. The point where--
-I had a couple of those guys.
-OK. To a point where it became, the game of basketball could almost become miserable. Because of just the joy-sucking, hate-filled, animosity anger thing is going on here. How did you process that in an uncommon way? Like how did you try to deal with that adversity in a way that was still high character? How do you do that?
-You just always reflect love and, like I said, they're still your boss.
CLAY CLARK: OK.
-You know, your job is to make them look good. That's what you're supposed to be doing. And so, you never give hate back to hate. I mean, that creates a cycle that is unstoppable. It has a force of its own, life of its own. But as much as it's in your power, you know, that's why I love the Bible because it just has this great common sense stuff. The Bible says as much as it is in your power, live at peace with all men. I mean, that's a simple thing to do, right?
So, even if somebody is treating me wrong, it's still in my power to live at peace with them. And, if he's my boss, it's still my responsibility to work for him. So, success is a choice. You make that choice. You decide whether you want to have that. And that's not just business success.
-You know, it's life success. It's a mentality. You have success if you have peace today. Joy in today. And you can have that regardless of how mean your boss is or how unreasonable your boss is. You have a choice to have peace in that day.
-Principle Number Four is there are no shortcuts to lasting success
-Oh, one of my favorites.
-Now, David, George Washington Carver said that, "There is no shortcut to achievement." What did he mean by that?
-Wow. There is no shortcut to achievement. And if you go on, that quote also says that veneer means nothing. And I love that thought, that your facade means nothing. There's no shortcut to achievement.
And every day, you have to do the little things. You have to do the little things to find success. It's in your power, it's in your choice to do these things. And if you want to be successful, you can't cheat. There's no other way to get there, but to do those little things.
-When you played in the NBA, one of the things that-- I know there are always TV people that are critical of athletes, but one thing that people were never critical of was your work ethic. You were kind of a almost a grinder. I mean, you were kind of like a, you just would continue being relentless, trying to get the rebound or trying to block the shot, and just the aggressiveness that you played with.
You were kind of like Collison on the Thunder almost. But you were like, really talented and gifted in a lot of other areas, where you had that freakish athleticism, but you also had that battering ram. I'm just going to keep coming back sort of mentality. Where did that come from? And how did that sort of-- you didn't have a shortcut. It seemed like you'd just grid it out every game.
-Yeah, that was my mentality. This is a principle I understood.
-I never felt like I was going to pass people up. There were many times in college, and high school, and in college, where guys were much more talented than me. I remember seeing guys who had incredible handles, 6'10", could do all kinds of things. 6'11". Or guys who could shoot the ball beautifully. And I was an OK shooter. I was more of a scorer. I just attacked the basket relentlessly.
But I never felt like I was necessarily more gifted than everybody else. I just felt if I wanted to beat them, they were going to have to overcome my will. That was what I had more than anything. So that was my mentality. Take one step, keep taking another step, and never stop.
So that relentless, understanding, hey, there's no shortcut to getting here. They're not guaranteed, I'm not guaranteed, but only one of us is going to get there. So we've got to take the steps to get there.
And if you cheat your way there, sooner or later, somebody's going to come along who's a better cheater than you and is going to cheat your stuff from you. But if you go up there and you earn your stuff, even if you lose your fortune, you'll be right back.
Now, if you had to rate your own handle on a scale of one-- your ability to dribble-- on a scale of one to 10, 10 being like, just ridiculous and one being very new to dribbling a basketball. How would you rate your ball handling skills?
-How would rate my own ball handling skills?
-Yeah, I'm just curious how you would--
-I would say I was somewhere in the five department probably with the ball handling skills.
-But you were relentless about attacking the rim.
-Oh, absolutely. Oh, no one's going to take it from me if I had two dribbles or less. If I had to bring the ball up, I was in some serious trouble.
SPORTS ANNOUNCER: Dolf challenges like a nonchalant Frenchman. Goes it in. Two nil. He got two for that one. Wow.
-I did occasionally take the ball coast to coast, but that was not my strength, so I tried to stick within my strength.
CLAY CLARK: I just love the fact that you were aware, you were self aware, and you were like, hey, I'm not going to maybe dribble around you, or be the most-- I'm not going to cross you over, but you're just going to relentlessly attack the rim.
-Exactly. Being self aware, I think, is a real key to a lot of this. Understanding what your strengths are, what they aren't, and playing to your strengths. I mean, sometimes when we focus too much on what we can't do and we try to spend a lot of our energy really improving what we cannot do, and I think that's not an efficient use of your time. If you are very good at something, focus on your strengths. You can build up your weaknesses, but focus on your strengths.
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