At one point or another we have all heard token motivational quotes. Those quotes, phrases, or words you see in gyms, or on posters in the office that are supposed to help us get through our trials and tribulations. I want to address a few of these generic dime a dozen quotes individually and break them down to what they mean to me and my career specifically. In doing so I intend to shine a different light on these quotes in an attempt to get people to interpret them more clearly, instead of just discarding them after a single use.
"Stay Positive" - Easier said than done I'm afraid. Funny that we never hear this one when things are going our way haha. In all honesty though, staying positive is SO important to an athlete. I know it may be hard to remain optimistic after loosing a match or having a bad practice but keeping your head on your shoulders will most definitely help you reach the next level. Let's break this common motivational quote down…I've been on the international A level circuit for about 3 years now. I have taken MANY losses and so has everyone else on the World or Olympic stage. This past Olympics in London, many of the favorites or #1 seeds in each weight division DID NOT win gold! Losses come to EVERYONE. At A level judo competitions, literally HALF of the participants in EACH division are out of the tournament by the 2nd round! In order to be the best you can be in your field, you have to quickly dismiss any misfortune you have (match, injury etc) and keep your sights set on the ultimate goal. There is not enough time in your athletic career to waste dwelling on the less than favorable events. Learn from what happened, and MOVE ON! Always remain positive and don't dwell on the negative because negative events plague everyone, not just yourself. You can't improve by dwelling on the past so have a short term memory and move on.
"Never Quit" - This one goes hand in hand with "stay positive". I've heard various people throughout my athletic career say "Well I'll never be _______ (insert title) so what's the point?" Just like the movie Highlander, there can be only one… If everyone who wasn't Olympic Champion or National Champion or State Champion or Backyard Champion quit, there would be only 1 person per division without anyone to compete against! Do what you do out of passion and love and you never truly loose. If you pour everything you have into your passion and truly try your best you will always be a winner. If you quit before you give yourself a chance to achieve you will live not only without the achievement but with REGRET as well. Who wants to live with regret?! Ask anyone with regret and if they were given the chance to go back and change things, they would! So in all honestly, "don't quit" means DON'T QUIT! Break it down to the specifics that apply to you individually to get the most meaning out of this one. Had I quit after my first ACL tear I never would have won my first National Championship. Had I quit after my 2nd ACL tear I never would have made my 1st World Team. Had I quit after tearing my rotator cuff and labrum in my shoulder I never would've won my first Pan-Am medal. Winning takes time.
It's so easy for us to hear phrases like "stay positive", and "don't quit" and apply them to our immediate feelings like single serving packets of sugar. Only to loose the true message the next time something comes up. The true essence of these motivational phrases is not just for the micro events that happen daily but also the macro events in our lives throughout a week, month, year, decade etc. The next time your hear a token motivational quote, don't just listen to the words. Hear the message. Dissect its meaning and really apply it to not just the micro, but the macro as well. Take what you can from this and maybe next time you see a token motivational quote it will mean more to you than before.
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Hard Soul - @thehardsoul