Create the Game!

Too many times in life we choose to play it safe. Average becomes something that we settle for. Life is lived small, greatness never realized, and life continues as before. While battling our own instincts and intuition that says we were born to be great, to achieve, stand out and conquer the world around us, fear consumes us.

We concisely avoid those things we want to do, because the process or path to achieve may be uncomfortable or challenging. Believing the risk of failure to be too great, we cower. Afraid of what our new paths and decisions will entail we let fear overtake us and limit our own progress. We buy into inauthentic ideas like; we are not good enough, or that we are unable. We tell ourselves that the timing is not right, or that in order to become great, we must first be born with some special talent or ability.

Fear is crippling. It forces an individual to give in to his or her limiting beliefs. Because of fear we shy away from ever experiencing our greatest selves. Whether in sports or in life, the moment we give into that fear we’ve lost. The game is over, the progress is halted, goals are unrealized, and dreams fade away.

However, what about those that overcome their fears? It’s those who study their fear, find it’s source, and strive to conquer rather than be conquered; they are the ones who succeed in life.

What is it that takes place in the minds of those that say to themselves that, they will not give in and quit because of the difficulty of their journey? These individuals listen closely to the whispers within their minds that motivate them to pursue their dreams. They are willing to follow after and do all they can to achieve them. It’s those individuals who are the ones that live the life and create the game they wish to play.

You can life your dreams, or you can live your fears, but you cannot live both. One will wage war and eventually destroy the other. The very problem with this battle is that for most people, we let it take place without putting up much of a fight.

We are afraid of failure so we do not try. Afraid of success, we deliberately avoid trying hard enough. The fear of what others may think confronts our egos, so we hide our abilities. We give in over and over until we no longer recognize who we are anymore. Then the game ends.

Visiting with, and getting to know each of these student athletes, the challenges they face and obstacles overcome illustrate something many people do not see. Each athlete experiences their own level of fear on the blocks, at the tee, or when they step into the batter’s box. They have their own anxieties about what will take place when everything is on the line, and it’s just them, standing there alone, having to perform. The difference is that they have learned to embrace and conquer their fear rather than let fear embrace and conquer them. They compete so hard because despite their fears, despite the obstacles before them, deep down they know something about themselves that motivates them to push harder in pursuit of their goals and dreams. They are in control of their fear, not the other way around.

No one is going to hand you the life you want to live. No one is going to give you everything you’ve ever wanted. Life simply does not work that way. Life is a choice. It’s in the making of that choice that you discover just who you are. It’s where you begin to create the life you want to live.

Considered one of the greatest boxers to ever live, Muhammad Ali learned how to embrace and conquer fear, to be motivated rather than be controlled by it. In what has been considered one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century, Ali would battle against the undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman. Ali, in what has been dubbed his greatest speech, the then underdog stated, “All you chumps are gonna’ bow when I whoop him, all of you. I know you got him, I know you’ve got him picked, but the man’s in trouble. I’mma show you how great I am.” In 74’ a new champion was born.

Now is time to look within yourself and decide just who it is that you want to become, which is it that’s controlling the game. Once you decide that it will be you over your fears, life will never be the same, and in that moment you can begin to Create the Game!

Joe Olivas
HS Sports Insider