This may be a harsh message for some of you, but before you get offended and do the proverbial swipe left, you should read this. In fact, if you avoid things that make you uncomfortable, then you DEFINITELY need to read this blog.
For years, my players on the ASU Racquetball team heard me say this to them. It is not meant as a dig or a putdown, it is a reminder that if things are uncomfortable that this is not a bad thing. Competition is difficult and uncomfortable, training is hard and taxing on the body, focus is draining on the mind. Pain is weakness leaving the body
If you can learn to push yourself through the pain and suffering that always accompanies moments of growth, you can achieve great things. If you turn and run every time things get the slightest bit tough, you are going to experience a lot of negative things in your life. LIFE IS STRUGGLE. There is no way around this. This is the core tenet of Buddhism and most other religions; it is the way of the warrior. YOU are a warrior of sorts, and you need to live your life accordingly.
Now, I am not implying the warrior piece in the classic terms of being an actual soldier, but I am saying that you, and I, and everyone else will have a life that is difficult at times and there is no avoiding this. EMBRACE IT. As one of my favorite quotes reads:
It is better to be a Warrior in a garden than a Gardener in a war.
I chose this to be the first thing you see when seeing my website for a reason! What this means is if you can be prepared for the worst, and that “worst” never comes, you are fortunate. If you are avoiding the worst and find yourself in that situation for one reason or another, you are completely unprepared and you will not have any idea how to handle yourself. If you have trained for war, you can handle a war. If you have only ever trained to be a gardener, you will be lost in any other situation you face.
Circling back to my point about saying this to the ASU team, anytime we would run the hill or do my top secret “ninja workout”, I would do it with the team. I lead by example, and I felt this was extremely important for several reasons. First, it is a bonding experience to suffer together. It brought us closer on a level that most people would never understand without experiencing something like this directly. Second, I was not asking them to do anything I couldn’t or would not do myself. I am not a coach on the sidelines blowing a whistle to do one more sprint despite seeing everyone struggling. I was on the field, ready to puke too, pushing through for one more rep. I know my own real limits because I have pushed myself time and time again to that edge. There have been a few times were I picked up that symbolic line and moved it just a bit farther downfield. This means that next time there is a little more ground to cover, but I knew I could do it because I had done it before.
One of the things many people don’t understand is that we are capable of far more than we all think. The goal you are shooting for, the time in the spotlight you are trying to attain, this should feel like a vacation compared to what you did to get there. That is why I love the analogy of Run the Hill; it is an arbitrary object that provides the exact same resistance any time you venture to it. It does not have an agenda or a goal to defeat you, it is just there. YOU have to beat the “you” that wants to quit, that wants to give in. As soon as that voice in your head that kicks in and starts whispering to you that is it ok to quit, to pull up, to coast to the finish line, you have a battle on your hands. If you win that battle more often that not, you are going to have a shot to achieve what you want. The moment you waiver, falter, give in, you are sunk…at least for that day. You can come back tomorrow and try again, but you have to do better next time. If you don’t, you may never do any better and that means you are not capable, or in my opinion, worthy, of achieving greatness. Your have to EARN greatness, and the ONLY way this happens is through struggle, suffering, and eventual conquering of that inner weakness we all have.
This philosophy applies to all facets of life; there is nothing worthwhile that can be attained without some real trying times, doubt, struggle and suffering. It is what separates the few from the masses. Those of us who can conquer this get to see the view from the top of the mountain, those who cannot will stare at the top of the mountain from afar. If you want to be a concert pianist you have to log the hours on the keyboard. If you want to become a chess Grand Master, you need to study, play and work until your skillset is that of a Grand Master. If you wish to be a pro athlete, a college professor, or invent a product that changes the world, it takes work, sacrifice and a high pain tolerance. You can do it, you have to eat that elephant one bite at a time. You have to do the work, the same work or more that others trying to achieve the same thing are doing. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY.
The next time you are faced with a challenge that you are not sure you can handle, tell yourself: Suck it up Cupcake. Then you need to grit your teeth and go for it. If you fall down in the process, that doesn’t matter one bit; the only thing that matters is that you get back up and try again. EVERYONE falls down; winners get back up and keep going, cupcakes stay on the floor. The choice is yours…
But I want you to remember this, the view from the top is worth every ounce of pain you experience during that climb. I know, I have been there, done that, and paid the price to get the view from the top. You will be a different and better version of yourself if you keep climbing. If you don’t you will live with doubt and fear, and you could spend a lifetime whispering those two dreaded words to yourself over and over:
Get up cupcake, greatness is calling your name. I wish you luck in your endeavors.