I received a message from an old “competitor” of mine who had beaten me at a kickboxing tournament in the early 90s. He wrote “others may buy into all this world championship BS, but I remember what you were really like when I handed you your ass back in ‘91. Chumps lose, not champs.”
Brother, the one who doesn’t fall, hasn’t stood up. I’ve lost more fights than most people have had. The only undefeated champions are those who have never competed. In 20 years of competitive fighting on the National Team, winning US gold in five different sports, I am happy with how long I stuck with the game. Are you? It seems that your animosity toward me may be a projection of disappointment in your stamina for your own goals.
You’re better than that. Mentally diminishing the accomplishments of another will not make you feel any better about yourself.
One late night fighting in the wrestling room at my university, coach watched me attempting to deceptively attempt to trick my (obviously superior) opponent with sneaky moves.
He stopped me and ask if I felt successful. I replied, “No, I feel like I can’t pull off any moves at all.”
He took out a roll of mat tape, and laid down a line on the mat, and asked me how I could make it shorter. So, I tried to tear the tape into smaller pieces (but if you know mat tape, it’s so impervious that it’ll probably survive a nuclear holocaust.) As I stood to look for a scissors in frustration, he stopped me.
Taking another piece of tape, much longer than the first, he laid it next to the original. Then, he asked me, “Now, doesn’t the first line look shorter?”
I nodded as I began to understand that trying to cut someone’s doesn’t improve our own line, and ends up being a frustrating and sticky mess. You can however always make your line longer. We all start somewhere. It’s not how far back you start. It’s how long you stick with it.
I’ve spent my life trying to make my line longer. And now, I’ve devoted my life to helping others realize how they can lengthen their own line.