Legendary Coach John Wooden coined the phrase “competitive greatness.” It’s defined as, “A real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to perform at your best when your best is required.”

It may be time to take “competitive greatness” from the athletic world and share it with the academic world, with our students.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the “hard battle” and “perform at your best.”

The “hard battle” means that there is nothing wrong with attempting a subject — say, Algebra II — and finding it difficult to master. It’s important to teach that there is value in the struggle.

Napoleon Hill wrote, “Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.”

Pressure forms the diamond.

“Perform at your best,” is defined well by Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. They write in WisdomWalks Sports, “Competitive greatness is not being the best, but being the best you can be. There can only be one best, but everyone can achieve being the best they can be.”

I can always be the best me. Why choose less?

Coach Wooden’s father shared this advice with his son, “Don’t worry about being better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.”

There is value in the struggle and one of the great struggles is to be the best you can be.It’s good that it is a struggle, for if it were easy, it just might not seem a worthy goal.

Have a great 2013-14 school year and may the hard battles bring out the best in you.

Dr. Jerome Stewart serves as the superintendent for the Midlothian Independent School District.