I picked the quote below because of the intimate connection that the journey towards our BIG DEALS plays with all aspects of life. Especially sport. The quote is engraved at the gymnasium at West Point. It serves as a reminder that the struggles we face today may or may not result in short-term glory, but for sure the lessons we learn on the journey will arm us with strength for obstacles we face in the future.
“Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other field, on other days will bear the fruits of victory.” – General Douglas MacArthur
Sport is both a fun pastime as well as the training grounds to practice for the challenges you will inevitably face in life.
Every morning this year, I’ve read a meditation on Stoic philosophy. Last week, this was the passage:
“Difficulties show a person’s character. So when a challenge confronts you, remember that God is matching you with a younger sparring partner, as would a physical trainer. Why? Becoming an Olympian takes sweat! I think no one has a better challenge than yours, if only you would use it like an athlete would that younger sparring partner.” – Epictetus, Discourses. 1.24/.1-
The greatest rewards from my decades of high-performance training aren’t the PRs. They aren’t the overall wins. Rather they are the lessons I learned about life.
Setting a goal. Working hard to reach a goal. Not giving up. Chipping away, day after day. Playing the long game. Mental toughness. The list goes on.
These characteristics I learned and practiced as an athlete carried over to my graduate work and empowered me to stick out my doctoral program and get my PhD. The same lessons empowered me to take courageous steps in business and be willing to take the road less travelled.
It’s not easy, but with the background and belief in yourself, you can make it happen.
Look at challenges as a way to improve, much like training session. Don’t shy away, rather give it your all and know that this challenge, win or lose, will make your stronger.
The innovators, the dreamers, the greats in any discipline don’t avoid challenges or tests of their abilities. Rather, they search for them because these challenges are not simply a measure of greatness, they are the pathway to it.