A Few Rules to Live By

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

-Winston Churchill

Let me start off by saying that I am, by no means, the end-all and be-all of advise or the epitome of success… However, I do have a couple of rules I try to live by that have lead me to a pretty solid place and continue to help me grow in both my business practices and training (plus, I have yet to “go postal” on anyone, so I just assume they are working).

If I had to draw a picture of success it would kind of look a little like this (know that I drew this in paint and would much rather it look like the 9 circles of hell from Dante’s Inferno, but this will get the idea across).

Success gorge

dantes inferno

The idea is that you need to get from where you are to where you want to be–point A to point B. Everyone starts at a point A, but not everyone gets to their point B. People stop along the way for different reasons, hence the labels in the valley, but ultimately they decide to make camp here and then begin to tell you the reason they have failed (this is illustrated with labels such as “haters,” “life,” “just not my thing,” “didn’t want to injury myself,” etc.). I tend to hear these day after day, usually from slightly older individuals or people  that have decided to stop early and “focus on something else,” but I try and remind myself daily of these couple of points in order to break away from the nay sayers and just do me.

Leave each session knowing nothing else could be done

“If he dies, he dies.”

Why do anything half-assed? If you come into a mid-week session with 40%, give all 40%, and know you did everything you could that session to get just a fraction a percent better during that time frame. Make sure that when you leave each training session, rehab session, or whatever practice is getting you further toward your success; that you did everything in your power during that time frame to improve on your skill, strength, performance, or knowledge base.

If you bust your ass every single day, you do one of two things:

  1. Increase your odds for being successful in your given event, better prepared for this event, and ultimately more confident going into your event.
  2. Even if you do not perform how you want to, you walk away knowing that you did everything you possibly could do and have no regrets.

Stop comparing yourself to others

You are a combination of unique experiences and choices that has put you here in this specific time and place, so how can you compare yourself to the person standing next to you? Every person coming into a gym is going to have different goals, athletic abilities, sport, attitude, drive, strengths, weaknesses, etc.. so there is no easy way to say this athlete is better than this one or vise versa. Now, I do agree that finding a person in the gym nearest your ability and competing against them is always fun, but this needs to be maintained as a “for fun” competition. Make sure that it never becomes detrimental toward either athlete’s development or training.

Focusing less energy on comparison and more energy on bettering yourself day after day will get you further in the long run, both physically and mentally.

Don’t dwell on sessions past

One day at a time this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering. Happiness is a journey.

You came in and had a terrible session, shit happens, but now it is done and you can only move forward. Sure, you can be butt-hurt for the next couple of days about how you did terrible or how you would do things differently, but does that change the outcome? Does it do anything for your mind-set going into other sessions?

This can be the bane of any one person’s existence–dwelling on past events.

For example: Trying to lose weight and having one or two weeks where your diet is not 100%. It happens, you are not a robot and life does sometimes get in the way. However, it is done and over and the only thing we can do now is learn and grow from those weeks and put items into action that will keep us from having the same issues over and over again.

The bottom line:

Do what you can, when you can, to the best of your ability. Look back on it, grow from it, and then let it go (unless you want to dwell on it, but this usually results in hanging out in the valley of the haters and not on top with the successful individuals).

Enjoy what you do

Simply put: Have fun.

There are times where you are going to come in from an absolutely terrible day and the last thing you want to do is be around people. However, remember why you do this, because you enjoy it. I don’t know a whole lot of people that would put their body through the things athletes put themselves through if they did not enjoy some facet of training, or the environment, or the people.

Let the gym be your magical escape (remember, it is like Narnia, with a beefed up Mr. Tumnus). Let it be the place that you go and enjoy yourself around those that are trying to do the same thing you are doing (even if they are on a different training program), to better themselves and be borderline superheros. We are a different breed and need to stick together, because others just don’t understand!


Don’t limit yourself

“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Never tell yourself you can’t. The mind is a powerful thing and as soon as you let that negativity in, it takes a grasp and does not let go. Others may doubt your abilities, hell, even friends may doubt you, but the one person you should always be able to trust in is yourself.

Train both body and mind

We spend hours upon hours each week developing our physical bodies, but how often to we sit to develop our mental ones? Going back to the paragraph above, doubt seeps into the minds of the weak. We MUST have a strong mindset in order to come in day after day and accept some sort of failure in order to come back in and be successful.

The sport you have chosen, actually pretty much everything in life, comes with overcoming failures at some point along your path to greatness. Think about it like this, did you just wake up one day and all of a sudden know how to snatch? Did you walk in the gym and squat 500lbs without going through months, if not years, of training? No, the path was paved with a numerous amount of failed attempts that you got back up from.

The best thing is to take some time and develop a strong mindset. Take time to practice yoga (specifically meditation) to mentally go through the movements, to picture yourself on the podium, to be able to push through small aches and pains that training brings.

Simply, take time to build up your body, but also take time to get your mind right!

Surround yourself with amazing people

Nothing great has ever been accomplished by just one man. We started the gym and we run it, but the athletes and friends that choose to help us out, to trust in our methods, they are the real MVP’s.

If you take the time to really sort out those that drag you down, the people that tell you it is not worth it or that you can’t, and replace them with individuals that truly care, and want to see you succeed, all the other rules above tend to just fall in place.

It is the people that you surround yourself with that ultimately push you toward success.

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