Has someone looked you up and down and said, “No competition”? How would you feel if you worked as a grunt at an energy company, and the CEO corners you, seething the words, “No competition”? What if you served as the water boy at a major-league baseball game, and the star pitcher pulls you aside, snarling the words, “No competition”?
Either they’re stating the obvious or you’ve got something that sparks the green-eyed monster. In other words, you’ve got potential. The more people who put you down, the more reason you’ve got to discover your stuff.
Let me take you on my journey from failure to succeeding. Dr. Jerry Orlick, author of In Pursuit of Excellence will join us shortly.
Did you ever suck at something that you later mastered?
I was out of shape?anorexic. Despite that, my friend convinced me to try martial arts. When he kicked the pads with the force of a spacecraft launch, I went into shock. And then, he had me run a football field. I ran fewer than ten steps before I sucked wind. My first workout in ten years lasted minutes.
But he convinced me to start visiting the gym. With his coaxing, I later began visiting the gym six days every week. Within two years, I went from bench-pressing 10 pounds to 110. I started cycling highways instead of relying on cars. I learned how to fight?and even tried out for the university wrestling team.
We all can master anything we can conceive of doing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Did you ever succeed when others said you’d fail?
When I announced to people that I aimed to get a university degree, I got ridiculed. Prior to that, one guy asked me to wed him although he thought I was “dumber than a sack of hammers.” Another person called me “the stupidest person he ever met.”
But, mention of the degree got people almost violent. One nurse angrily told me that I had too little intelligence to get a degree. A family member said I didn’t have the focus to get a degree. Two other people said they’d roll over dead before I got a degree.
I got a master’s degree?and scored the top mark in seven university math classes. (When the nurse later saw me at the university, she said only two words: “No competition.”) You, too, can prove them wrong.
But, first, let’s look at what high performance requires, according to Dr. Jerry Orlick, in his book In Pursuit of Excellence: How to Win in Sport and Life through Mental Training. His talk appears in bold below; my tales follow.
Give 100% even when the task seems impossible.
Through hard-work and tenacity, you have the power to overcome the impossible.
When I first entered Math 30 for upgrading, my instructor said I would likely fail and should enroll in Math 20 instead. I couldn’t remember what a positive times a negative equaled. I stalled on some basic one-digit by one-digit multiplication.
When I cried to my mentor about going into Math 20, she told me to stick it out in Math 30. I spent hours staring at a graph in the math text: I had no idea how the equation made the line curve. But I watched all the Math 30 videos in the library reserves ten-times apiece. I worked nonstop solving problems?and ended with a 100% final class mark.
Don’t stop when things get tough. Work through the pain with all your muster?and claim your prize.
When you get criticized or face obstacles, turn these experiences into opportunities for bettering yourself.
When you get rejected or face something insurmountable, seek the opportunity to grow.
I eventually got a Master’s degree and began working full-time at a prestigious job. But, at work, I started feeling spacey. I couldn’t follow conversations and laughed nervously instead. I checked my pockets constantly to see if I misplaced my keys. I checked the folder every five minutes to see if I filed a page correctly. I felt the need to reread sentences multiple times as I’d immediately forget what I had just read. For seven hours per day, I felt terrorized.
Eventually, a doctor diagnosed me as having anxiety attacks. So, I began reading books on anxiety during the times I could function. I suffered with severe anxiety for half a decade?until I discovered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of self-talk. Since applying CBT, I’ve lived panic free for nearly two years. Now that I’ve found peace, I’m prepared to pursue my deepest dreams.
No matter what obstacles you face, or what disabilities you get stricken with, you can better yourself, dream large, and turn obstacles into opportunities.
Take daily tiny steps toward your goal?even if it’s just an itty-bitty step today.
No matter what hardships you face, take that first step toward your dream.
Each day, I take steps toward amazing goals. For instance, today I read pages from a book on inventing. In two hours, I go for an interview at an electronics power company. Later, I’ll read about circuits and about advertising concept design.
Tomorrow, I inquire about taking a robotics course. So, take tiny steps each day toward your goals. Self-talk adds up. Education adds up. Exercise adds up. Hard-work adds up. Focus adds up. Even late-night Netflix and Papa John’s pizza add up.
When you tell people your dream and they keel over laughing while stretching an index finger an inch from your eyes, just think of me.