Victory from Defeat

‘Tis the season to get thrown down, squeezed hard, and manhandled by somebody else. It is the season where the mind and the heart are tested to see just how far they can go. This isn’t your season for this? Well, after a two-year hiatus from the wrestling mats, it is Alec’s season.

A lot can be forgotten in two years by a nine-year-old boy. The technique, muscle-memory, and explosiveness must be retrained. His new teammates didn’t take the last two years off, and they are primed to deal out some punishment. And in Alec’s last practice, that is exactly what they did to him. Into the fire he goes where all his faculties are being tested, where all the impurities are being removed. As a parent, I am loving it. No, I am not some kind of sadist who loves to see his one and only son get abused. I am loving it because I see the fire within him burning as brightly as the fire that is testing him. He wants to succeed. He is determined to get better.

A couple of days ago, the coach gave his after-practice speech. He told the boys that the most wrestling they will do this season will be in practice. This is where they can perfect their game. It is where they can try new moves and fail. It is where they can continue trying and then succeed. I loved this message from the coach. I hope the boys take it to heart.

If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.

Zig Ziglar

Learning from defeat. It is one of the best educations someone can get. It is a quality that separates the champions from the participants. Nobody wants to lose, but it is a rare individual who can take the lessons from a loss and use it to become better. Giving up might be accepted in a modern society that doesn’t want anyone to feel bad. They might even get an award for their efforts. But will it have any value in the future? Can it compare to unlocking the puzzle that holds the keys to victory?

Sport is a proving ground that can allow a person to find out how to win in life. It is a practice in resilience, courage, determination, and grit. Therefore, I love seeing Alec go into the fire. As a parent and a spectator, I can witness the evolution of a boy earning his rite of passage into manhood. What an opportunity!


Feature photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash.

The Blessing of No

A young Albert clocked in and sat at his desk. A stack of paperwork was waiting for him. For the other clerks in the office, it was a full day’s worth of work. For Albert, he could be finished in about two hours. It was an easy job, almost too easy. He didn’t mind it there. At the least, it paid the bills.

Last week, he was pegged for a promotion. The promotion came with a considerable raise in money. He could use the money. He could spend it on his girlfriend. He could send some of it back home to keep the family business running. He remembered one of his mottos: Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value. Climbing up the corporate ladder was success in the eyes of others. But for him, that was not the person he wanted to be.

Yes, the money would have been nice, but moving up also came with a serious drawback. His two hours of daily work that he crammed into an eight-hour shift would be traded for 10-12 hours of actual work. His stress levels would increase, and he would have neither the time nor the energy for his thought experiments. Those thought experiments were the most important part of Albert’s day. It was where he could dream about time and space and the speed of light. It was where Albert Einstein could develop his theories.


The last I checked, I am no Einstein, but let me share with you a little story…

A few months ago, I was approached about a promotion opportunity. I thought about it and went ahead with the process. I had my reservations about it, but it would pay more money and offer better benefits.

But there would be some drawbacks about the position as well. I would have to work more hours, and they would be at night. I would have more stress. I would have less time and energy for my own thought experiments. On top of it all, I would have to stop coaching my son’s parkour class, a class that I love to teach. The cost of making more money and having more benefits was a hefty one. I considered it and believed I could make it work. I proceeded with the process. Once again, I am no Einstein.

Through the process I went until I came to the last assessment. It was a half-day ordeal that took the other half of the day to decompress from. When the smoke cleared and I received the results, the answer was to try again next year.

The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.

Zig Ziglar

I did my best and didn’t make the cut. It was a no, a big, fat, blessing in disguise. I know my path, and I tried to deviate from it. I almost made it, but the universe put a stop to it. I almost traded what I wanted most for something not nearly as important. Unlike Einstein, I did not have the discipline to see it through. Hopefully, this lesson will not be lost on me.


Feature photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash