Surrounded by students eating $5 plates of spaghetti and meatballs at Beta Theta Pi and Delta Chi fraternity’s first “Meatball Madness” Thursday evening, Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder thanked the fraternities for donating all of the event’s proceeds to the V Foundation for Cancer Research in Snyder’s name.
Snyder was diagnosed with throat cancer earlier this year but said doctors have projected a positive outcome.
“I know (Snyder) says that K-State is full of good people who really care about each other, and I think that is what we have here today,” said Nick Edwards, junior in marketing and vice president of Delta Chi. “We have a bunch of good people here to help and support Coach Snyder.”
Snyder said even though he has not been on every college campus in the country, he is confident in saying K-State is the friendliest campus there is.
“You’ve heard me say K-State is about the people, and it will always be about the people,” Snyder said.
In his speech, Snyder addressed five principles he believes can lead the people of K-State to success: surrounding oneself with better people, establishing goals, improving each day, persevering and setting expectations, not limitations.
“It is important to surround yourself with people who genuinely care,” Snyder said. “The people who care to make our lives better. People who can make our lives better. People who desire to make our lives better.”
Snyder said individuals should ask themselves if the people they are surrounded by truly want to see them succeed.
“You decide who you bring into your life, so ask yourself if those people will be there for you,” Snyder said. “You get to make the decision of who gets to be in your life, so find people who do the right thing and who really do care for you.”
A strong support system full of good people, Snyder said, is a building block to a foundation of success.
As coach of the football team, Snyder said he asks his players to place notebooks and pencils next to their beds so each night they can list their priorities before going to sleep.
“I encourage their priorities to be faith and family, being a good person and being a good student, and then being the best football athlete they can be,” Snyder said. “I also realize that we all have priorities different than that and that’s fine. The important thing is, ‘Are they important to you?'”
Snyder encourages this for his players’ benefit and not for his, because a person’s priorities of what is most important and prominent in his or her life can transform into goals.
“Then when I say, ‘How are you going to achieve that goal?’ The answer that I get constantly is the same one many of you would say: ‘I will work hard,'” Snyder said. “And working hard is part of it, but there is more to achieving goals than just working hard.”
Snyder said there are many people he knows who work hard, but are still not as successful as they could be.
“It’s more than hard work,” Snyder said. “You have to define what you are going to do each day to reach those goals.”
Improve each day
“Find a way every single day of your lives to become better,” Snyder said. “I have my players tell me their priorities each day and say, ‘What can you do to become this much better today in this area of your life?'”
Snyder said if faith is a priority, then students should do something each day to become stronger in that faith. If being a better student is a priority, then they should define how that is possible and then do a little more of that each day.
“If you take those things that are important to you and ask yourself that simple question, then take a little bit of time to make yourself a little bit better each day, you will improve in that area,” Snyder said. “You will find that it is not hard. You can become a better son, a better daughter, a better fraternity brother, a better student.”
Jacob Offerman, junior in electrical engineering and philanthropy chair for Delta Chi, said hearing this technique for success was the best advice he heard from Snyder.
“To improve just a little each day, that really spoke to me,” Offerman said.
The trick to becoming better every single day is to follow through with it and persevere even when it is tough, Snyder said.
“You have to persevere and be tough,” Snyder said. “You’ll want to give up sometimes, but don’t.”
Snyder said he has had a lot of role models in his life, but the ones who stand out are those who persevered. Snyder cited Abraham Lincoln, who ran for public office seven times, lost a significant other and went bankrupt twice before he was elected president of the United States.
“But he still had the courage to persevere,” Snyder said. “That is what it takes.”
Expectations, not limitations
To overcome obstacles and persevere, Snyder said people must stop setting self-limitations.
“‘I can’t do that,’ is a problem phrase,” Snyder said. “Don’t ever put those self-limitations on yourself. Expect more of yourself.”
When reaching to meet those expectations, Snyder said to focus on internal expectations more than external expectations that come from other people.
“People put expectations on you all the time: to never drink alcohol, never use a bad word, to never miss a class, you get the picture,” Snyder said. “The important thing is to focus on what you expect of yourself, not what others expect of you. Then use your perseverance and discipline to do it.”