Tag Archives: grit

The difference between success and quitting is GRIT

Let’s face it, starting anything is easy.  A new workout plan,  a new meal plan, a new book.  We all want the *NEW* thing.  Think about it, anything new has a sense of excitement around it.  There is a sense of adventure and optimism.

A *NEW* iPhone

A *NEW* car

A *NEW*  job

A *NEW*  vacation

The possibilities of a *NEW*  workout plan

Just imagine the possibilities!!! 

This excitement around *NEW* is why:

  • 95% of diets fail over a period of 1-5 years
  • Over 50% of marriages end in divorce
  • Only 6% of Boy Scouts ever reach the rank of Eagle
  • Less than 1% of all those who start a martial art achieve the rank of Black Belt (my own observation on this stat in full disclosure)

The point I am trying to make is that with any endeavor worth doing, at some point the “new smell” is going to wear off and it is going to look a lot like (please forgive me for saying it)……..WORK!!  Nothing can stay *NEW* forever.  Every *NEW* car gets its first scratch.  Every *NEW* career becomes a job.  Every *NEW*  workout hits a plateau.

So if everything new becomes old (and all of it becomes new again), why is it that some are able to achieve great things in these endeavors while the vast majority allow themselves to fall by the wayside?  And more importantly, what can we all do to ensure we are a part of the minority vs. the majority?

The minority decide early they are not quitting:

I cannot over emphasize how important this differentiator is.  If you go into an endeavor with the attitude of “let’s see what happens”, you are giving yourself the out.  There are certainly times that would be appropriate but if you are serious about achieving anything, decide early that you will succeed and never think about it again.

The minority learn to embrace the grind:

This is a term that I stole from Martial Arts and Wrestling training.  Training for these endeavors can be physically and mentally brutal.  I also call it “suck training”.  Suck training is different for every endeavor but learn to make this your favorite training.  You progress more in those times than any other.

The minority identifies the little things but focus on the one big thing:

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces us to the concept of a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  A goal so big that it inspires your endure all the little things.  Envision the end goal when you are doing the smaller, seemingly tedious, tasks that need to be completed to get you there.

The minority celebrate the small victories along the way:

If I had waited to celebrate anything along my martial arts journey till I received my black belt, I would have been waiting for nearly a decade.  There were plenty of smaller celebrations, belt colors, tournaments, techniques achieved.  Set small goals that lead to the larger BHAG and celebrate those (just not a Big Mac and ice cream for hitting a weight loss goal)

So there you have it.  My plan for becoming a part of the minority and developing a steadfast resolve.  So what are you trying to accomplish?  What is your BHAG?

I’ll start…..I want to end the trend of obesity in the US.  How is that for a BHAG?

Because you can do anything if you believe it!!

I have been spending a lot of time around wrestlers recently.   After years of training in martial arts, my eldest has joined the high school wrestling team and is loving every moment of it.  It is the perfect sport for him to be quite frank.   His individual performance directly helps a team goal.  All he has to do is be better than the person on the mat opposing him.  Take care of your business and the team benefits.  Where my son is the center of my attention, some of the other wrestlers really captured me.

Autistic, Down Syndrome, Dwarfism, underdeveloped legs and partially function arms

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Those are just a few of the challenges I have seen kids walk on to the mat with.   Kids who live their lives at a ‘disadvantage’ to all of those ‘regular’ kids, stepping on to a foam covered battle field to see who can best who over the next 6 minutes.  The kid on the right above could not straighten his left arm or expand his left hand but he battled every step of the way.  And you know what??

More times than not, I have seen them win!!

I absolutely love it.  These boys becoming men adapt their wrestling style to make the most of what they have rather than what they don’t.  In just the last 7 days, I watched a sophomore who was born with Dwarfism perform ankle picks to perfection.  His lack of height was his advantage because no one could get low enough to stop his shot.

I have watched in awe as a boy whose knees were nearly locked in place immediately drop to his hands and move with the agility and quickness of a spider monkey.  Then once he was able to get his opponent to the mat, completely smother them with his upper body strength.  You see, his legs have very little muscle tone but his upper body is ripped.  Once he got you down, he kept you down.

I have witnessed autistic teens who struggled to sit in the stands before their next match walk onto the mat and not only win the match but win the whole tournament (see below).

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You could literally see the switch turn on in his head as his feet hit the mat.  This was familiar ground.  In his mind, this was where he wanted and was meant to be.  And it was beautiful to watch.

Just as powerful as watching these young men compete was watching those around them.

Their Teammates – All of these boys were from different schools but all of their teammates supported them unconditionally.  When they walked on the mat, their entire teams stopped whatever they were doing an paid attention.  It was must watch viewing and everyone was centered.  These boys were more than a ‘part’ of the team, they were the center of it.

The Spectators – It did not take long for the spectators to notice (heck, I obviously did).  When you have 7-14 mats running all at one time, it is easy to lose track of who is where.  When these young men were on the mat, everyone knew and everyone cheered and clapped.  Regardless of the match outcome.

The Opponents – There was no taking it easy on these guys.  They were there to win and expected their opponent to show up to do the same.  The boys they faced gave them everything they could handle.  Just what they deserved

But this shouldn’t be a surprise!!

Wrestling has always supported being your best.  The training is grueling to put it mildly.  Bodies are broken and rebuilt and those who are the best wrestlers are the ones who are the strongest mentally, not necessarily physically.  So what can we take from these boy’s example?

  • Focus on what you do have not what you don’t.
  • It is not about what the other guy can do, it is about what you can do.
  • Believe it and you can do it.
  • If someone is willing to put themselves out there, support them unconditionally.

These boys focused on their strengths and capabilities, not their limitations.  The people around them supported them unconditionally and they proved successful.  More on all of those points later but I want to leave you with the following video.  It is the NCAA Wrestling championship round from 2011 at 125 lbs.   Pay particular attention to Anthony Robles, the wrestler from Arizona State then ask yourself where you may be getting in your own way.  Remember, it is never about what you can’t do and always about what you CAN do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5W4RZq1NRg

See you on the road!