Sunday, May 1, 2016
"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right"
As I was preparing to talk about the importance of taking an off day, especially after fighting a terrible sinus infection for the better part of 8 weeks, I began to realize that there was something bothering me that I wanted to address that was more important. I know I've talked about work ethic in the past, I've talked about the importance of following your dreams, not letting others talk you out of them. But I've been missing an important piece that ties everything together - I call it the "stop running the mouth, stop looking for approval from others and get to f'ing work" ethic. Let me explain.
I have run into more and more people, whether in the sport, in the gym or simply just out in the world, who have dreams, goals but are so deathly afraid of taking a leap, so concerned with what others will think, so afraid to fail, that they are stunted. They are left wringing their hands as time flies by, leaving them with nothing but emptiness. Sad right? You're damn right it is. And its happening all around us. Its easy to pick on athletes with this; especially in multi-sport, so damn afraid to do things that are unconventional, or unknown. So twisted on what the latest pro athlete is doing they forgot why the hell they got in the sport, so lost on the interwebs as to what is the right way to train or not. Instinct is gone, faith in themselves has disappeared, and their ego prevents them from going where they want to go. Because failure seems like the worst thing in the world. Not recognizing the beauty that failure provides.
Its not about reciting quotes like "fall 7 times, get up 8", its more than that. Its about shutting the fuck up and actually doing something about it. You actually have to fall in order to understand what it means to get up. And get up on your own. Don't look for a hand out or a hand to pull you up. You have to work hard, really damn hard to get where you want to be in life. That might include doing some rather mundane, grunt work type stuff. But we have become so conditioned to think that everything is simply going to "happen for us because we wished for it". Are you kidding me? How soft have we gotten as a society? We aren't teaching people to take action, we're teaching them to cope. Cope with being unhappy. Cope with being mediocre. Cope with living someone else's dream. Because truth is, if you aren't living yours, you are most definitely living another's. And as you sit by allowing this to happen, years will fly by, literally years.
If you are serious about wanting to follow your dreams, to change your life, to be a better athlete, brother, sister, mom, dad, person, then you have to work. You have to be prepared to fail, to deal with the unknown, to be laughed at, to embarrass yourself, to be kicked around, to be told by others that you "can't" or "won't", to be rejected, to be ridiculed, and have the fortitude to shut that shit out and keep pressing ahead. You have to keep in mind that the most successful people in the world, in all of history, weren't the smartest, or the richest, or the best looking when they started out. Odds are, you are smarter than some of the most successful people of all time. But they had something that so few, so precious few have - steel balls, unscared to be told no, or can't, or to have someone else, including people they love, shit all over their dreams. Those awful, painful moments weren't even a speed bump, they were part of the deal that each person who has achieved success made with themselves from day 1 - "No matter what, I'm pressing through the dark until I get to my light. I'm prepared for whatever comes because the other side of all this work, effort, and difficulty is my dream. My passion has paid off".
Don't believe me? Let me throw this out to you - remember Limp Bizkit? Fred Durst? Yeah, that dude made a fortune and most likely has no issue with being a punch line in the music industry. Why? Because he worked his ass off, did things his way, controversial or not, (Napster anyone) did free shows and boom, platinum album. Did he strike anyone as a musical genius? Yeah, didn't think so. But he's just one of the millions of examples of people who had to deal with some terrible shit, lots of rejection, plenty of people telling him he sucked, but he made it. He can add "platinum recording artist" to his resume. Think of how many amazing artists that are out there who can't say that, even after decades of producing great music? Some call it injustice, but at the end of the day, it was hard work. It wasn't luck, it was just an ability to block out the negative and follow his own path.
We've made it very easy for people to point the finger outward as to why things aren't working out for them. We are so quick to pat each other on the back for doing things that used to simply come with the job. Now, everyone needs a cookie to make sure they feel appreciated. We're killing the importance of hard work; the notion that you must take responsibility for your own life. Yes, bad things will happen to you unexpectedly. You will experience a crisis at some point. You will be faced with loss. But the harder you work, the more prepared you are for those things to happen. To steel your resolve so you can handle the unexpected.
I am fortunate to come from a long line of people who had to work hard to provide for their family. I wasn't given the option of not working hard as a kid, my parents made sure of that. But it instilled a drive in me that has never softened, rather has been honed to a fine point, narrowing my focus on what is important and disposing of the bullshit. But by no means do I think I have some unmatchable work ethic. I don't think I'm smarter than anyone, more talented, none of that shit. And I don't let those thoughts enter my mind, because what I care about is the work. I love hard work. Whether I have a good day or bad day, being able to work, be it coaching, or my own training, the constant striving to reach my goals keeps me in constant motion. And the hardest moments are actually the best because that's when I learn the most.
What is all this rambling leading to? A deep desire to help people stop whining and start doing. And if you aren't going to do anything, then at least own that and shut up. By not taking action, you're saying "yes, I have given up on myself and my dreams, and I'm willingly putting myself in this awful situation". At least that way, you will catch yourself before you start bitching.
There's a dreamer in all of us. How much longer are you going to wait to live yours?