When I was in high school I remember getting my ass kicked in a wrestling match. I was crushed afterward and cried uncontrollably. I felt I had “worked so hard” and all I got in return was the pain of loss.
In the midst of my despair my father took me aside and said, “I’ve noticed that you always turn adversity into an advantage. You have a knack for taking everything bad that happens to you and making it into something good.”
This advice immediately lifted my spirits. I accepted it as true – even though I don’t know that it was BEFORE my father said this to me.
Last week my son had a karate tournament. I have not pushed him at all in this endeavor as I want it to come from within – and when it does – and IF he ever asks for my help – I’m there. But nothing will be forced upon him – other than a few stories about how people succeed and how they fail.
Well, Frank got beat. And he felt humiliated. He cried his eyes out, just like I did back in high school. My wife was worried.
I said: “This is a very good sign. Look at the other kids who lose. They walk off with a ‘ho hum.’ Show me a kid who hates to lose and his energy can be channeled to greatness. It’s the kids who don’t care who will never become champions.'”
When Frank and I walked outside and asked: “Why do you think you lost?’
“Because I’m stupid,” said Frank.
I said: “No. That’s not right and you know better. You lost because you didn’t practice enough. Success boils down to proper use of your imagination and lots of practice. If you want to be great, practice more than anyone else. And when you practice, imagine being great. Otherwise you have no business crying. It’s all for naught. ”
That night Frank asked me to help set up the bag for him so he.could practice. I told him I would and walked away. He asked a few hours later, I said I would and got busy doing something else.
The next morning he asked again.
“Ah, so you’re serious?” I said.
“Yes,” said Frank.
“Great.” I set up the bag and helped him for 15 minutes. He was thrilled.
“If you put in more time than anyone else,” I said, “you’ll be hard to beat. You may not win them all, but you’ll win most – and you’ll become a better person because you gave it everything you’ve got.”
The next day Frank asked if he could practice again. I said yes.
“Anyone can sit around and pout,” I told him. “The.champion gets back to training – and while he trains he imagines a different result next time.”
Put your time in, my friend, and you’ll become great at whatever you do.
Zen Master of Exercise, Health and Fitness™