Outlast Your Rivals

Negative opinions are really none of my business. In fact, they are honestly a waste of my time. You see, I do what I do, because it’s a part of who I am, not because of what I hope others may think of me. If I lend weight or credence to the opinion of others, especially the negative, I give up power, freedom and belief in myself and my abilities. Too many times in life we seek external validation from others. This can be a detriment. A shell or encasing is placed over us, concealing who we are, what makes us unique, and more importantly, limits what or who we seek to become.

Many years ago, when I was more sure of who it was I wanted to become, I made a decision that caused a bit of controversy with those that knew me. I left an executive position with an international company to become someone’s personal assistant. Well intentioned people in my life jeered. I was going from executive to personal assistant for someone at an obscure company, a relatively unknown. They would ask, “What are you going to do all day? Get coffee and dry cleaning?” Misguided they would spout, “You are taking a step back, not forward!” I just smiled. No matter how many different ways I tried to explain it, none of them could see what I could see. This was by no means a step back but a major leap forward. I was leaving the security of a JOB to serve an apprenticeship of sorts. I was going to work for a gentleman, only a couple years older, who was a self-made multi-millionaire with a thriving business that he created. Since I was going to be his personal assistant, I would learn everything. How and why decisions were made, reviewing contracts, setting up other business, working with partners, interaction with clients. I was going to school and learning all I could. Oh, coffee and dry cleaning? Yeah, never happened. 🙂

What I learned in the short time with him was infinitely more than what I learned in all my years previous. I was learning how to become greatest myself, at my core, breaking through the mold I let others cast through their opinions. I found myself chipping away, from within, this shell of limitations I could not see, but most certainly feel.

I studied constantly. Books of scripture, books on motivation and self image, on finance and business. The knowledge and confidence that followed at that time was mine. Forever. No one would be able to take it from me, but me.

In the mean time, I was still being chided, “Stop wasting your time. You’re better than that. Get a real job.” They just didn’t get it. I wasn’t at a job. This was all an education. How else was I going to become my best, most productive self? Me at my core? I needed to learn from someone who had discovered this for themselves. And it was going to take time.

The artist Curtis Jackson, known as 50 Cent, illustrates this concept perfectly in his book, The 50th Law. “The fools in life want things fast and easy – money, success, attention. Boredom is their great enemy and fear. Whatever they manage to get slips through their hands as fast as it comes in. You, on the other hand, want to outlast your rivals. You are building the foundation for something that can continue to expand. To make this happen, you will have to serve an apprenticeship. You must learn early on to endure the hours of practice and drudgery, knowing that in the end all of that time will translate into a higher pleasure – mastery of a craft and of yourself.”

People always want to tell you what life is supposed to be like for you. Unless these are mentors you have deliberately sought out to coach you and guide you, they fall in the category of well intentioned haters. Projecting on you what they themselves are unwilling to do. Silencing them is easy. You simply remain focused on what you want, doing so with a level of fierceness that no matter the opinions you hold steady. You understand that like 50, “You are building the foundation for something that can continue to expand.”

Outlasting your rivals becomes all the easier when you know what you are focused on achieving and put forth the effort to attain your goal. The question is, are you willing to do what is necessary no matter the opinions of others?

Showcased in every athlete we profiled this issue is the deeply held understanding of who they are and who they will become. No one can take this from them. They are moving on a deliberate course and thriving because of their ability to focus. They are not concerned with the opinions of others. They silence the voices of their own haters. Those who would say it’s not possible. By doing so they experience a sense of self mastery and outlast their rivals, on the field, academically, and in life.

Success? Well, for each one, it’s only a matter of time.

Joe Olivas
HS Sports Insider™