We all experience pain, discomfort, disappointment, and frustrations.
That difficulty is an opportunity to get stronger, to develop character, to gain a new perspective. Anybody can fall apart; anybody can get bitter—that’s easy. But what that’s doing is wasting your pain.
That pain is not there to stop you; it’s there to develop you, to prepare you, to increase you.
In 1982, researchers aboard the space shuttle Columbia did an experiment with honeybees. They took them up into space to study the effects of weightlessness on them.
According to a NASA memo, the bees “were unable to fly normally and tumbled into weightlessness.” Then it was reported that “the bees have all gotten stationary.”
The bees did not have to use their wings, did not have to exert any effort, did not have any resistance. They just floated around.
Later they all died. They may have loved having it easy, having no adversity, but they weren’t created for that. You might say that they enjoyed the ride, but they died.
We need life’s challenges, struggles, and hardships. They make us better.
Don’t just go through the challenge. Grow through it. Learn the lesson, develop the new mindset, improve your skills, and you will come out stronger on the other side!
Once an entrepreneur was in debt, owing money to creditors and suppliers. Stressed as he was, he went for a walk in a park.
As he was sitting on a bench with his head down, thinking of a solution that could save him bankruptcy, an old man with a strange hat approached him. “Is something bothering you, my friend?” the old man asked. The business man told the old man about his financial problems.
After listening to him, the old man said: “I think I can help you.” He asked the entrepreneur what his name was, then took out a pen and wrote him a check which he gave to the man, saying: “This money will help you. Let’s meet again exactly in one year, right here in this park. At that time, I hope that you will be able to return the money to me.”
After that, the old man walked away. The entrepreneur took a better look at the check in his hands and was shocked. The check was for an amount of 500 thousand dollars, signed by John Rockefeller. “Rockefeller?
One of the richest people in the world!” he exclaimed. “This check can solve all of my problems in no time!” he thought. But he decided to put the check into his safe and use it only if all his other efforts failed.
Just the thought that he could access these resources any time, was enough to give him strength to focus on finding smart solutions to save his business. The return of his optimism was a great thing because it helped him close some very profitable deals.
A couple of months later he had earned enough profit to get out of his debt. Then his business started making money again. One year later, he put the check in his pocket and returned to the park.
Around noon, the old man appeared again. The business man took out the check and as he was about to hand it to the old man, a nurse appeared suddenly and grabbed the old man. “Here you are! Haven’t I told you not to bother people you don’t know?” She exclaimed. “I hope he wasn’t bothering you, Sir.
He always runs away from the house and tells people he is John Rockefeller.” Surprised, the entrepreneur was standing there, speechless.
During the whole year he was building his business, buying and selling, confident that he had half a million dollars in his safe.
Suddenly he realized that it’s not the money, real or imaginary, that put him out of trouble. It was his new confidence that gave him strength and motivation to achieve everything that he had now.
A professor raised his glass of water in front of the students. “How heavy is this glass of water, you think?” he asked with a smile. The students’ answers ranged from 10 oz to 20 oz.
“Okay. Now, could one of you come here and help me hold the glass?” A girl walked to her table and held the glass. After a few minutes, the girl said, “Sir, I am tired, is it ok to leave the glass on the table now?”
The professor smiled, nodded yes and said to the students, “Imagine if you have to hold this glass for an hour or even a day! Would you think now that 10 or 20 oz weight too little? “No,” all students answered. “Exactly!
Hold it too long and you will only hurt yourself. Always remember to put the glass down several times a day,” said the teacher.
“The weight of a glass filled with water does not change, but the longer you hold it, the heavier it becomes. Our worries and stresses are like this glass of water. Think about them for a moment and nothing happens. Think about them longer and they begin to hurt. Think about them all day long and you will only feel panic making you unable to do anything else.”
Do not carry your burdens all day long, from morning to night.
Remember to put your burdens down as often as you can. Remember to put the glass down!
A person with an indomitable spirit does not accept defeat! They have a spirit that does not accept failure. This is an important part of being a Black Belt, because on our journey to Black, we may experience failure. It’s been said, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough!
This week I have an excellent story that illustrates this point.
Many years ago, Gene Tunney became the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World because he defeated Jack Dempsey. When he first started his career, he was known as a puncher rather than a boxer.
One day, while doing an exhibition match, Gene broke both his hands. The doctors told him he would never be able to fight again. Suddenly, his dream of being a World Champion Boxer was shattered.
Tunney did not waiver. He said, “If I can’t become the champion as a puncher, then I’ll make it as a boxer.” After being faced with a career ending injury, Gene figured out a way to continue and still realize his dream. Since he could no longer punch, he would learn to box.
History tells us that Gene Tunney went on to beat Jack Dempsey for the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Experts agree that if Gene Tunney had never learned how to box, he could never have been able to beat Jack Dempsey. His apparent set back turned out to be something that made him a better fighter.
Teaching Points: Gene Tunney experienced a setback that would make most people quit. His broken hands almost guaranteed that he would never fight again. Having indomitable spirit means having the determination to continue after you have experience a failure or setback.
Indomitable spirit is important because in the pursuit of our goals, we are all going to experience setbacks and failure. If you quit, you’ll never accomplish your goals. If have indomitable spirit like Gene Tunney, you’ll figure out a way to continue despite your setbacks.
One of the best ways to accelerate your success and achievement in any area of your life, especially your Martial Arts…is to practice, drill and rehearse it until it becomes natural and fluent. When you practice/drill/rehearse with the intent of becoming great, you’ll give it better attention and spirit.
This is true in your Martial Arts and any other area of life that you are striving to improve and achieve excellent results in. Imagine how many practice sessions someone like Lebron James or Kobe Bryant has had in their lifetime.
Spirited repetition is deliberate practice. It is practicing with the intent to get better, to be the best you can be. It doesn’t mean you are error free. It means your focus is set on constant and never-ending improvement.
There is a great story of Kobe Bryant told by his trainer, Robert, in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The night before a scrimmage for Team USA Kobe called his trainer and asked him to meet him at the practice facility at 5:00 in the morning to do a conditioning and strength workout. When Robert arrived at the facility at 5:00 Kobe was already there drenched in sweat. It looked like he just came out of the pool!
Robert asked him what time he had arrived and Kobe said, “4:30.” I had to warm up.
From 6:00 - 7:00 Robert put Kobe through a conditioning and endurance workout then from 7:00 - 8:00 Robert put Kobe through a strength workout. After that Kobe told Robert he was free to go but he wanted him to meet him back at the practice facility at 11:00. Kobe mentioned he wanted to practice a little more before he ended his morning routine.
When Robert arrived at 11:00, Kobe was shooting jump shots. Robert asked Kobe what time he got done, and Kobe said...just now! Kobe explained he wanted to get in 800 “makes” and he just finished!
Kobe started at 4:30 AM and went until 11:00 AM, then he still had Team USA practice that started at 11:30.
That’s spirited repetition! That is deliberate practice and “A” rated work ethic.
“The way you do anything influences the way you do everything!”
By the way, Kobe played 20 seasons with the LA Lakers, is an 18-time All-Star, 2-time Olympic gold medal winner, and has made over $200 million in his career!
With hurricane Irma coming and threatening South Florida, my family and some friends traveled to Pigeon Forge, TN to escape the impending storm.
We rented a beautiful cabin in the Smokey Mountains and decided to make the best of the situation by looking at our time away as an impromptu vacation. Our houses and businesses were buttoned up and there wasn’t much more for us to do but pray that no one would get hurt if the storm hit, and there was no damage.
Joe Torre, Hall of Fame baseball player and manager says, “Focus on what you can control, and not what you can’t.” We had no control on what Irma was going to do but we did prepare for the worst, and we made a plan to get out safely.
So, we are in Tennessee for a few days and was completely struck by the beauty of the Smokey Mountains, the awesome places to run (up very, very steep hills that made me gasp for air when I got to the top), and how nice the people are!
While visiting a place to drive go karts, I was buying my daughter and me a drink. The lady behind the counter was super to deal with. She was happy, had a big ole smile on her face, and she embodied everything you think of when you think of “Southern Hospitality”.
She made it a point to tell my daughter that her slushy was filled to the top and politely warned her to be careful when putting her straw in. She asked me how much ice I wanted in my Diet Coke, and then warmly suggested that I put my straw in carefully so I don’t spill it.
Then she wished us a great day and safe travels. You could tell that she genuinely loved her job.
Now some people may think that being a cashier at a small amusement park may be a meager job that doesn’t really matter. Those people would be dead wrong, and complete idiots if you ask me.
Both my buddy and I thought she was awesome, and she genuinely made buying a couple drinks a super pleasurable experience.
Did she love serving drinks and selling tickets to the amusement part? I don’t know. Maybe, and maybe not. But you could tell for sure that she loved people and wanted to make everyone feel great! And did she ever!
There were countless other times when people greeted us with a big smile, offered to take our picture when we saw a cool landmark, or were just walking by and said hello. You didn’t see that many people with their faces buried in their phones.
Kind of like the good ole days! 😊
This trip reminded me how important it is to make other people feel great. It reminded me to find pleasure in everything you do. Maybe you love your job, and if you do, that’s great!
But if you are not in love with what you do, then maybe you can be in love with who you do the job for. Maybe you love the people you work with!
Perhaps, you love the results that are created in your work. I know people that don’t love what they do, but they love that they can raise money for people in need.
I know speakers that don’t love getting on planes, living out of a suitcase, and being away from their families. What they do love is the impact they can make on their audiences, and they love knowing those people will get better results in their lives because of that seminar.
So, in the end, be a person of excellence. Do everything you can to the best of your ability. Find a purpose in what you do, and do it with a smile. Do it in a positive, friendly way that makes other people better off for engaging with you that day.
Be the rising tides that lifts all boats! Show appreciation to your family, friends, and customers. When you appreciate others, you appreciate as well!
Thank you for being a part of the Elite Force family!
When you Google Indomitable Spirit, what comes up is…
People described as having indomitable spirits don't need pep talks or protein shakes; their strength comes from within. The adjective indomitable starts with the Latin prefix in, which means "not." The second part of the word is also from the Latin word domitare, meaning "to tame."
Russell Redenbaugh was building a model rocket in his garage when he was 16 years old. The rocket went off accidentally leaving him totally blind and with permanent damage to both hands (he lost 6 fingers).
He was determined to not live the life as a typical handicap person. He shifted his focus to action. He focused on what he could do, and not what he couldn’t. Despite being rejected by Stanford and Harvard, he went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania.
At the age of fifty, Redenbaugh started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He went on to train with Phil Migliarese, Saulo Ribeiro, Jean Jacques Machado and Eduardo Rocha, and to fight sighted opponents.
As a blind person missing fingers, he won the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships for his weight and belt in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He also competed in the unlimited weight division each year, earning silver medals in 2004 and 2005. In 2010, Redenbaugh became a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
Today he is an ultra-successful economist, investor, and inspirational speaker.
Russell wrote a book entitled, “Shift the Narrative: A Blind Man’s Vision for Rewriting the Stories that Limit Us”
Check out his TED Talk here: https://youtu.be/AOOc3VO_Gyg
I remember this like it was yesterday. I had just been hired at the local martial arts school where I trained to be a part-time instructor. I was 15 years old. I was hired to teach 3 days week and my hourly wage at the time was $4.25/hour.
Of course, this was back in 1992.
I was thrilled! I was going to get paid to teach martial arts…something I was happy doing for free.
Side note: I still feel that way today! Teaching martial arts is my dream job and I count my blessing every day I get to do it for a living.
Back to the message. The next morning, I was in the kitchen, getting my breakfast ready when my dad told me he wanted to talk to me. He sat me down and gave me a talk that has stuck with me ever since.
He told me that the school I worked for was counting on me to be there to work certain days and I had to take that responsibility seriously. He told me never to slack off and make some B.S. excuse about why I couldn’t go to work one day.
My dad is a very gruff, to the point, kind of guy. He doesn’t know how to sugar coat anything!
He drilled into me that being “kind of” sick or “not feeling that well” was not a reason to not show up to work. “They hired you. They are counting on you, and you have a responsibility to be there to do your job.”
I got the message loud and clear, and the reason the message sunk in was because my dad lived by that philosophy himself. He never called in sick or ditched work because he was up too late the night before. It just didn’t happen. I can hardly remember him not going to work.
He lead by example. He walked his talk, and I saw it. Message received Pops!
Now for the second message he gave me that morning that continues to impact me to this day. He said, “Craig, you are making your own money now. We aren’t rich people, so when you need or want something…you can pay for it yourself.”
Funny thing, I didn’t think that my dad was being hard on me. Him and my mom were hard workers. They worked hard every day at their jobs and then worked hard on the house during the weekends. They weren’t lazy. They were responsible people.
My dad’s talk taught me the value of money and how important it was to spend it wisely. If I wasted it, I wasn’t going to have the funds to buy what I needed later.
Great lesson! Thanks dad!
My good buddy and training partner, Bill Storm, says all the time that “old school is good school.” He’s right. These are a couple of old school messages that some may say are too hard or too over the top for a 15-year-old. I disagree. They have made me the person that I am, and I am grateful for it.
I don’t think we should ever get away from strengthening the work ethic of today’s youth. We all need to increase our responsibility and be held accountable so we can reach our true potential. This mindset instills discipline.
By the way, the root word of “discipline” is “disciple”, which means to teach. So, by instilling this philosophy in our kids, we are teaching them responsibility. We are teaching them the skills, habits, and mindset to be successful adults later in life.
I don’t tell my dad thank you enough for those lessons. He’s almost 72-year-old now and not in the best of health. His words and example were two powerful influences in my life
Work ethic and don’t be foolish with your money. Got it Pops! Thanks!
John McEnroe is known as one of the best tennis players in history. He won 77 singles titles, 78 doubles titles, and 7 major titles (4 US Open and 3 Wimbledon).
He was not only known as an incredible tennis player. He was infamous for his temper tantrums on the court that often landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities.
In 1984 McEnroe was playing a match in Stockholm, Sweden he argued with an umpire over a call then got so angry with the umpire’s call, he grabbed a tennis ball and hit it into the crowd. Still angry with the umpire, he walked off the court and smashed a chair and table with his tennis racquet.
While McEnroe was one of the best players in history, his temper cost him many matches, titles, and money over the years. Not to mention, he made himself look ridiculous on many occasions.
We all get angry from time to time. We can’t control what happens in the world. We can’t control what other people say or do, however we can control how we respond to it.
Surely, in the moment it is hard. Sometimes the best answer is to walk away, take a few deep breaths and regain your composure.
Black Belt Champions are not perfect. They get angry, frustrated, and irritated from time to time. However, they learn to control their emotions so that they don’t ruin relationships with the people they care about.
We have all said things in a moment of anger that we later regretted. The problem is even after an apology, you can’t take those words back. They are out there and most people won’t forget what was said.
Here’s an idea. Learn to turn frustration into fascination. Instead of being angry and frustrated at what someone says or does, learn to become fascinated at their actions and thought process. Become fascinated by their point of view.
You could say to them, “You have a fascinating view of the world!” or “What a fascinating thing to say!”
Does it work every time? No! Nothing works all the time; however, it does work a lot of the time and this little trick can save you from saying and doing things you may later regret.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.
Many people loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
A peasant then came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
Moral of the story: Every obstacle we come across in life gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances, and whilst the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity and willingness to get things done.