How did an average guy like me wrestle competitively for some fifteen odd years? Fifteen years is a long time. How did an average "Joe" like me win some of the lofty titles that I've won? You have got to realize I was terrible when I first starting wrestling.
How do average, everyday people accomplish the remarkable? Ask Matt Lindland or Rulon Gardner (who just won their second World/Olympic medals this past month in Patras, Greece) how good they were back in the beginning. They will be quick to tell you... they were not any good.
So what is the answer?
We all know that to be successful at anything takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. To be successful in wrestling takes discipline to practice the skills of wrestling over and over again. It takes conditioning the mind and body to withstand a tremendous amount of stress. It takes learning the strategies and tactics of wrestling so you can out smart your opponents. It takes setting high goals, eating healthy, operating with a great attitude and being willing to overcome extraordinary adversity.
But first and foremost it takes desire! Desire to be the very best wrestler that you can be.
It all starts with Desire. Do you desire to be the best? Do you want it bad enough? Are you willing to pay the price for the thrill of victory? If the answer is YES... then you are on your way. Only you can determine what you desire in life. For me, the thrill of wrestling victory is the ultimate high. For me, there is no better feeling in the world than to win the big one in wrestling. So needless to say, I had a great desire burning inside me.
For the elite guys that are on my National Team I can see it clearly... they want it oh' so bad! The Kevin Brackens and Jim Gruenwalds (both ranked 1st in U.S.) of the world want it so bad they can taste it. But these guys not only have the desire... they have learned to love the journey. They love the challenge. They love the training. But most of all, they love the Battle!
The battle is how you get to the victory. Without the battle, without the struggle, the victory would be meaningless and empty.
Just like any wrestling technique or skill, enjoying or loving the battle must be practiced. It must be honed. This attitude must be cultivated daily. Having fun and enjoying the fight is what it is all about. Think about it... isn't life too short not to enjoy it?
So, do you love what you are doing? Do you enjoy wrestling? Do you look forward to the fight? Do you long for the moment when you can get into a battle with that other wrestler?
Loving success is easy. Loving the whole process of achieving success is really what helps one advance to a new level of competitive skill. We must constantly remind ourselves to love the battle. We must love the process; love the fight, and the struggle as well as the success. Learn to love the process and the success will take care of itself.
I encourage you to have some fun this month. Put yourself in the battle and practice thinking humorous thoughts. Practice thinking how you love the combat. It doesn't matter if you are scoring points or getting scored on... think about how much fun the battle really is. Yes, you can grit your teeth and be mean and tough but still smile deep down inside because you realize how much fun the fight really is.
If you tend to get nervous, think goofy or off the wall thoughts and your nervousness will disappear. When your emotions start to get the better of you, remember that internal laughter will put you back on track. Life is too short to be stressed out. You can and should learn to control stress.
Practice your mental focus in the present time. Operate in the here-and-now especially during competition. This will enhance your "Ideal Competitive State" and your talent and skill will come alive. During the battle, if you think about the past or future, it may hamper your ability to really open up and go for it. Enjoy the present moment and your performance will flourish.
During the competition how many wrestlers tend to only think about the results? They think about " If I can only win this next match or if I can only win this tournament or I should be able to beat this next guy so I will think about my subsequent match." NO! That is not enjoying the battle. We must look forward to every single match and live it like there is no tomorrow!
Think energy! Energy is everything. Generating a high level of positive energy will create that dynamic fight. It will help you to heighten those positive emotions that will make you strong and confident. Think fun and positive energy will start to flow immediately. Say to yourself... "I love it! Isn't it great! Show me the pressure!"
When you get into those close matches remind yourself how you love it. You love the pressure, you love the excitement, and you love putting it all on the line. For you, life would be too boring if you did it any other way. No holding back, no excuses, you are going for it. You will do the best you can on this given day. You will wrestle to win at all cost and then be proud of whatever happens. You will accept the results and forge ahead to get even better yet the next day.
I have been in wrestling for over thirty years now. For me, to this day I still enjoy (more than just about anything) walking out of the wrestling room, drenched with sweat after a ball busting wrestling practice. Am I crazy? Maybe, but I think if you asked Dan Gable, John Smith, Bruce Baumgartner, or any other of the great ones... they just might agree.
You got to love it!