3 Lessons from Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

Tony Dungy

Recently, while on vacation, I read Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy.  In football circles, Tony Dungy is known as a man who was a great NFL coach and the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl.  However, if you ask Coach Dungy, he’d tell you that he’d rather be remembered as a committed Christian, a dedicated husband and father, and a man who helped others to grow closer to the Lord Jesus.

I won’t summarize the entire book, but here are three lessons that I took away from it.

Lesson #1: No excuses. No explanations.  
Coach Tony Dungy always challenged his players to take complete responsibility for their decisions both on and off the field.  He wanted them to be great men, not just great players.  So often we make excuses for our bad decisions.  We explain away our behavior so as to justify it to ourselves and others.  Coach Dungy encourages us to live the words of Jesus, “The truth will set you free.”  Only when we stop blaming others and take responsibility for every aspect of our lives can we really be happy and free.

Lesson #2: The Lord always leads us; we simply need to follow in faith.  
One of the main themes in the book is how God continually led–and continues to lead–Tony Dungy in his life.  He never received any visible signs or heard any heavenly voices, but he always prayed about his decisions and God always led him to the right place.  Even when he was fired as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he tried to see how God was leading him.  This is an important lesson for us.  It’s only human to question why certain things happen to us–a layoff, a sickness–but we must remember that God always leads us, especially during our dark and painful moments.

Lesson #3: Our personal suffering teaches us to be more compassionate and to reach out to others. 
Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren endured the most painful thing that parents can experience: their son committed suicide.  They’ll never know the reason why their son took his own life.  Their grief was, and still is, deep.  But what’s amazing is that Coach Dungy has used this  tragedy to reach out to others who are suffering.  He consoles parents who have experienced the same tragedy; he reaches out to young people who are struggling with life; he challenges both the young and old to always have hope.  The pain of loss will always be in his heart, but he is using that pain to enrich the lives of others.  Shouldn’t we do the same?

So, you don’t need to be a football fan to read Quiet Strength.  Tony Dungy is an inspiring man, and Quiet Strength is an inspiring book.

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7 Responses to “3 Lessons from Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy”

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  1. Eric Speir says:

    I haven’t read this book yet but I certainly admire this coach. I would have to agree with #1. I try to teach this to my children at home and my students at school. By not taking responsibility we become victims of our circumstances and our emotions. Too many people live this way and they never take responsibility for their lives. It’s easier to blame someone else than to change ourselves.

    • Michael Najim says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s great that you instill these important lessons in your children and students. It is easy to blame others, but we sell ourselves short if we do that.


  2. Vicki says:

    Thank you Father for ‘Live Holiness’ there is always a nugget of truth for me to contemplate in prayer. I find you to be challenging and yet encouraging, bold but not overwhelming. The truth will set you free … the truth is what I see you sharing through ‘Live Holiness’. I am blessed to have found your blog. May you be blessed for your faithfulness and fidelity to the truth.

  3. Tara Hall says:


    I love your three points and wonder if you would let me incorporate them into my lesson for Senior Writing (American Lit). Each year I create 32 lessons to teach to my writing students (around 80 of them) in our homeschool community. I struggle to find an author in classic literature that shines their faith/living. (Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck…all brilliant writers, but lacking sorely in faith) This year, I decided to include a non-traditional text and chose Dungy’s novel. I want these eager students to know it’s ‘okay’ to live out a life of faith even when the world wants you to keep it to yourself. I really appreciate how you summarized these key points and would like to use them in introducing my lessons for this novel under “Why I chose this text”…I’ll definitely attribute your words to you and your site…my courses are free to any who want to use them, I never charge for my courses. 🙂 Thanks and look forward to hearing your response! Blessings

  4. Danny Anderson says:

    I am a four sport student athlete in high school with Christian faith and I believe this is one of the best books I have ever came across! I chose it for a rhetorical analysis of a memoir and did not expect to become so attached to it. Its message in life and religion is so strong and so clear I truly feel like I have a different outlook on my life and the adversity I face everyday. This article does an excellent job in outlining Tony’s purpose of this book by the many lessons he shares.

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