Monday, March 21, 2011

Half Nelson

"Once You've Wrestled, Everything in Life is Easy"
- Dan Gable

This weekend, while my brackets were imploding, I turned my attention to the NCAA Wrestling Finals. Having spent a good part of my life in this sport, I can tell you that nothing is harder than wrestling. You use every muscle in your body for seven minutes, conditioning is crucial. Wrestlers also take on a strenuous dieting regiment. Winning a wrestling tournament means facing 3 to 6 opponents in a day ~ tired and under-nourished. There is nothing harder.

In High School just making the state wrestling tournament is a lifetime achievement. If you earn a spot on a college roster, you are among an elite group of top performers from across the world.

So you've conditioned and dieted. You've won a few tournaments as a youth. You best five people just to make a spot on the Varsity team. You wrestle 50 matches a year and need to win 90 percent of them to get a spot at the top of your weight class. The odds of competing at this level in High School are at least 1000 to 1. Once you get to college it is 50 times harder. Imagine the life long dedication of the people on the mat this weekend in Philadelphia. To have sacrificed many of the joys of youth to develop an extraordinary self-discipline. To train until you fall over and to get up and train some more.....then imagine doing this with just one leg?

Arizona State's Anthony Robles won the 125 pound National Championship with just one leg. Anthony was born with just one leg but his Mother never allowed him to think of himself as different. While dunking a basketball or running a 40 yard dash were not an option, wrestling was. So Mrs. Robles allowed her son to find his place in the world and now he has his place in the NCAA Record Book!

As I look back on my wrestling career, I remember wimping out on several occasions. Lacking the dietary discipline, skipping a work out to be with my girlfriend. When you are 16 these things are to be expected. As I have evolved into an adult the default of complaints still loom. I can always find a reason not to do something. Seeing Anthony Robles, conquer one of the world's toughest challenges with just one leg made me feel like a real wimp! How could I ever make an excuse knowing that Anthony is out there, competing at the highest level, without complaint.

There are 2 keys to Anthony's Success:
He Didn't Let Set Backs Define Him
He Found His Thing

1st Choice
Every day, we wake up and choose who to be. The traffic can annoy us. The inbox can intimidate us. A phone call can set us off course. Most of us have the ability to transcend all of that. We just choose not to.

Human Beings process over 10,000 thoughts a day and 80% of them are negative. Why do we choose to defeat ourselves? Anthony Robles, had the set back of being born with just one leg but the advantage of a positive attitude. Because his mother did not allow him to feel sorry for himself he developed an advantage over everyone else. He never developed the ability to complain.

2nd Choice
I once knew a guy who wanted to be a stand up comedian. The problem was he wasn't funny. He dedicated his life to the craft, he worked harder than anyone else in the business, but he didn't possess the essential skill of the craft. If you are not funny, you simply cannot be a comedian.

Most of us are miscast. We choose a career in finance because we are good at math or go into the family business by default. That's why 80% of our thoughts are negative because we are doing things we don't want to do. We cripple ourselves by making safe career choices without considering our passion.

I have been blessed with the competing skill sets of creativity and fierce determination. I have found a career that allows me to celebrate both traits. For this, I consider myself a success. Most people are not lucky enough to have a job that celebrates their strengths. Most people accept a job, they don't create a career. Most people are unhappy because they choose to be.

Anthony Robles had to make a decision based on his limitations and now he's a National Champion.

You don't have to do anything. So why wouldn't you do what you want!

Stop making excuses and start making choices!

Don't Forget to Remember!



  1. I hope that comedian friend you were talking about wasn't me. If it was I will f#$king fight you!

    If not, good article.

  2. Haaa haaa - with a comment like that how would I think you were anything but funny!

    The short answer to your question is: NO!