A refresher: What is the Rudy Syndrome?

This article was initially posted on December 25, 2007. Since so many have asked me to explain the Rudy Syndrome lateyly, I thought it was worth a little refresher course. 

The Rudy Syndrome is not a disease.  It is not even a real syndrome.  The Rudy Syndrome is a state of mind.  

I made up the term “The Rudy Syndrome” as a way to refer to a certain attitude many years ago after watching the movie “Rudy” about famous Notre Dame football player, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger.  Rudy was a small, not-very-talented, but determined young man from Joliet, Illinois.   Rudy made it his goal to make the football team at the University of Notre Dame, despite all odds being stacked against him.  If you haven’t seen the movie detailing this heroic story, it is a must see.  

So, here’s how The Rudy Syndrome works.  There are people who have heart.  And, there are people who have talent.  The people who have heart work with all their might to be the absolute best they can be at whatever they do.  Rudy was a heart guy.  He gave everything he could to be the absolute best practice team player in the history of Notre Dame football.  No one worked harder than him.  No one.  Although he was never good enough to be a starting player, every guy he played with knew that he made them better just by being willing to take a beating, day after day after day, no matter how much it hurt, because he couldn’t see giving anything less than his absolute best every day, no matter what.  Because he had heart, and gave his best, his team was better because of his efforts.

Then there are the people with talent.  Some of Rudy’s teammates, for example, were given the gift of football greatness.  They didn’t have to work for it, they were just born with it.  Some of them worked hard to become the best football players of their era.  But, some of them didn’t.  Some of them just coasted along on their talent and didn’t put out the effort of a guy like Rudy because they didn’t have to.  They didn’t put in nearly the effort Rudy put in day in and day out.  These guys had The Rudy Syndrome.  

The Rudy Syndrome happens when people of whatever talent level fail to put in the effort to become the very best they can be.  This blog is published for the purpose of focusing on how people can avoid The Rudy Syndrome.


So, that’s how it works. We encourage you to avoid the Rudy Syndrome, and to develop your skill on par with your talent, in everything you do.

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