Everybody wants more. More money, more fame, more power, whatever the spoils you envision as the reward waiting for you at the end of the rainbow. Well allow me to be the one to break it to you, life does not hand you anything. You have to work for it. And life is not always fair about what it hands you, unless of course that you believe you are granted the lessons you need to learn as part of your existence here on Earth. I like that view, personally. I haven’t been handed anything I couldn’t handle, good or bad.
The one thing that you do have control over, in any scenario, is your work ethic. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, discipline level, etc. However, if there has ever been another human being that has conquered, mastered, outlasted, changed, or in some other format won a seemingly unwinnable victory, you can to. Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it. Need a better job? Go back to school if that is the right solution. Start a side hustle and build that up. Either way the answer is the same: WORK
Do you have any idea how many single moms out there are raising two kids, work a full time job AND getting a degree all at the same time? Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on the path to solving the problem. WORK. Find out what needs to be done to change your situation, set things in motion, and WORK. You have one variable in your life you can control, and that is how hard you work at something. If you want to make a change, have a better body, run farther, advance in your career, it is up to you to do the work.
I was never looked at as a guy with a ton of talent on the racquetball court. I was small for a Pro Tour player, didn’t hit the ball very hard by comparison, and got a late start at the sport. I didn’t grow up taking lessons, and didn’t turn Pro until I was 25. But I never wavered in my conviction. I knew I could outwork just about anyone, and that was the key to my success. I made up for all of the things listed at the top of this paragraph with one simple thing: MY WILLINGNESS TO DO THE WORK. It is what matters most. Sure, I would love to be taller and left handed, but neither of those are under my control. But how hard I worked was. If you want something so badly that you are willing to suffer more than others, grind harder, do more reps, whatever is necessary, there is very little that can hold you back. I’ll share an example from my life…
I got the chance to work out with a trainer that held an NFL Combine/season prep workout camp here in Phoenix. I showed up not having any idea what I was getting into. One of the first days we ended up out on the football field to do a sled drag. Now keep in mind, I weighed 135 at this time in my life, and here I am mixed in with guys like Donovan McNabb, Aeneas Williams, Charles Johnson and a bunch of other established NFL guys and prospects. We were split into two groups, and stood 60 yards apart. One guy put the harness on, and drug the sled sixty yards towards the other group. Then a guy from that group would grab the harness and run it back to the other group. When it came to be my turn, I noticed there were three 45# plates on the harness…that is 135 pounds. I was about to try to pull my body weight sixty yards over a dry field with no cleats.
I put the harness on and got a running start. The rope went tight and I nearly ended up on my butt right away. I collected myself and dug in, determined to get to the other side. I slipped, struggled, and fought my way the sixty yards across the field. McNabb gave me a high five when I got there. I thought I was going to throw up. The trainer said we were going to do six sets, and everyone groaned in dismay. I was unsure I could do one more. We went through the rotation again, and my turn came up. I had a little better idea of what to do, and started off okay. As I got about half way, my thighs and gluts were on fire. I fought through it, refusing to give in. I finished, barely. It took me a few moments to recover to some degree, and when I finally stood up and looked around, a few of the guys were headed back inside.
“Where are they going?” I asked out loud. “They quit” someone said. I stayed. I did two more rounds, finishing the last one by literally crawling across the finish line. I lay there until someone came and took the harness off of me. I sat up, and looked around. Everyone was in a circle around me, and I heard the trainer say “Let’s go inside, before Schenck kills himself out here. I can’t have that on my resume!” If anyone ever had any questions as to why I was there training with them, I answered it on that field.
Work ethic is not a gift, it is a learned skill. Whether you had a great example in your family to emulate, or need to look elsewhere for a pattern to follow, there are plenty of examples. The great ones are easy to site as examples, Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, Jerry Rice. Guys like this seem to have talent galore, but as the famous story goes, Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He WORKED to be good, better, and then great. The day Kobe signed is NBA contract (right out of high school btw…) he was in the gym shooting hoops for 8 hours. He wasn’t doing an autograph signing tour, he was DOING THE WORK. Jerry Rice used to run circles around other guys that would come to train with him. Few came back after that first session, because they were not willing to work that hard. They had their NFL contracts, were good players, and that was enough. They were not willing to push that hard.
DO THE WORK. Be willing to suffer. If needed, slowly inoculate yourself to this kind of stress and torture. Develop the callouses, physical and mental, to take more. Learn to take it. TRAIN that voice in your head to say “I can. I will. I Must”.