In the world of wrestling, Dan Gable is one of the most decorated athletes and coaches of all time. As a High School wrestler, his record was 64-0. On the collegiate level, his record was 117-1. And in the 1972 Olympics, he won a gold medal without even conceding one point. His coaching career wasn’t that bad either, leading his team to 15 National Team Titles.
Gold medals aren’t made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-fine alloy called guts. –Dan Gable
To be a gold medalist in your life’s pursuits, take a close look at the above quote. How do you do it?
Sweat it out. In other words, it takes a lot of work. Hard work. If you are not willing to do the hard work, then why are you even bothering?
Dogged determination. Know where you want to go and don’t quit until you get there. If you are not willing to go the distance, maybe it is best if you do something else.
You need the courage to keep going when it gets tough. You even need it when times get easy and you lose the drive to keep pressing forward into the unknown. You don’t get guts overnight. Like a muscle, you build it up.
Wrestling. A great metaphor for the individual wanting to push the boundaries on what is possible. The battle is being fought not only in the body, but in the mind and in the heart. To be a champion, to win the gold, you need to get out on the mat that life has put before you. Sweat. Determination. Guts. It is time to roll.
Some of my peers are amazing physical specimens. I am in awe of their speed, and their strength, and the volume of work they can achieve every day. Compared to them, I feel like I am lightyears behind. And there is a good reason. It is not age. It is not genetics. It is time under tension.
Many look at time under tension from a set only perspective. During one exercise set, how long is that muscle working. Of course this is the general consensus. But for me and for this post, I am looking at time under tension from a different aspect. Despite genetics, those physical specimens have spent years under tension. And over the years, those muscles have developed in strength and speed. The difference between them and I is the time under tension over the course of the years.
It’s not where you are today that counts. It’s where you are headed. –Arthur Lenehan
Things happen, life happens. I didn’t stay consistent. I didn’t keep myself under tension. Over the last few years, I have really been making an effort to get back in shape. Only in the last six months have I really been consistent. I think in that time my progress has been remarkable. I also think it is foolish to even compare myself to others. There is only one person I should compare myself to: My past self.
Am I improving every day? Am I better today than I was last month or last year? There is only one real way I can ensure progress. Consistency. I have to do the work every day. I can’t allow myself to get off track. What if things come up? What if life gets in the way? I have to adjust. I have to be flexible. I have to keep doing the work, even when it is not convenient. If not, then I will not only always be lightyears behind my peers, but I will be lightyears behind the person I want to be.
Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. –Miyamoto Mushashi
How do you compare? Not to others. That’s a fool’s game, and I should be ashamed to even contemplate it myself. No, how do you compare to the person you were yesterday? Are you striving to improve physically? Mentally? It is easy to become complacent, to think it doesn’t matter. But even a little daily effort to become a better person will go a long ways over the course of the years. You choose. You commit.
The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself. –Denis Waitley
This week I listened to The MFCEO Project podcast #216 with Charlie Jabaley. This is an excellent interview as Charlie has an amazing story. If you can handle the strong language, I recommend that you take a listen. Charlie left a powerful message about the difficulties of first learning how to walk. It is not easy. In fact, it is the hardest thing a youngster faces at that time. But it is a process, and the more he does it, the stronger he becomes. Charlie went on the say that you could do anything in the same way. Want to be a great leader? It is going to be hard, but it is a process. You put in the required effort and time, and you can become a great leader. All you have to do is the work.
Alec’s first season of wrestling is coming to a close. The year brought on many challenges. Alec has never experienced this type of physical contact. As a five year old, even the process of learning the most basic moves was by far one of the most difficult processes he has ever learned. In the first few months, he didn’t seem to get it. But he didn’t give up. He kept working at it. As the weeks passed, he began to get better. Now he can do many of the moves. Even more important, his confidence has grown. He now believes he can compete with the older, heavier kids. He may not win every time, but he is winning. If he decides to stick with the sport of wrestling, I can only imagine what he will be able to accomplish in the following seasons. It won’t be easy. The competition will be getting better every season as well. As NHL legend Paul Coffey says, “Nobody’s a natural. You work hard to get good and then you work to get better.” Keep working Alec. You will get better.