Recently, I had a discussion with a coworker about Billy Alsbrooks, an author and motivational speaker I enjoy. The subject was on being a champion. Mr. Alsbrooks states in his videos that we are all champions. This gentleman took a slight issue with that. “I am not always a champion. Some days I lose my temper and act in ways I shouldn’t.” he informed me. I would like to share with you my reply to him.
I do not pretend to speak for Billy Alsbrooks, but instead will give you my interpretation of his message and how it spoke to me. The first thing that came to mind was the definition of a champion. When people hear the word champion they think of the person holding up the trophy. Someone who did not lose. If you have read my writing for any length of time you will know I look at a champion differently.
To me, a champion is someone who is always learning, always growing. We consider a baseball player with a 300 average a champion. A 300 average means they ‘failed’ 7 out of 10 times! Think of people we call champions today. Lebron James was on a team in Cleveland that could not win a championship. He did not give up. He ended up playing in Miami where he won and then went back to Cleveland to win one there as well. Michael Jordan, who many consider the best player of all time did not make the cut on his high school team. He used that for motivation to work harder and won 6 championships. Tom Brady had to wait until the sixth round to be drafted. Then he was on a team who had a star quarterback. Instead of feeling dejected, he practiced twice as hard. When his time came he took full advantage and has won several championships.
This is not limited to sports. What if I told you there was a child who grew up with a mother and father who were alcoholics and mentally and physically abusive. At one point even having dish soap poured down his throat for something he said. Growing up poor eventually having six fathers and leaving home at 17 what would you predict for his life? Failure? Poverty? Surely there would be a general anger and distrust of people. That man was Tony Robbins who has gone on to be one of the best selling and most inspiring success coaches of all time.
The point is this. Champions are not people who win all of the time. They are those who learn and grow from their challenges and so-called failures. There are days we all don’t live up to our own standards. We lose our temper, we don’t follow through, we are not as productive as we should be. Those things do not mean we are not champions. All they mean is we have lessons to learn and chances to practice improving ourselves. It also serves as a great way to remain humble. Remember other fellow champions have their off days too. Be understanding and use those moments to remind them that they too are champions.
A true champion is not about their standing or their situations, but more about what they do with them.
I speak with people often on a variety of subjects. Sometimes people ask me about living a more positive and rewarding life. On occasion people ask me about my relationship and how they can also have a fabulous one. I also hear from people after my seminars and people who have read my book A Happy Life for Busy People here is something I hear a lot, “Neil I have tried to achieve this goal, but it didn’t work” I then asked them how many different things they have tried. Usually they look at me slightly confused and give me an answer ranging from one to three. I then share with them a fact I find truly amazing. Edison had tried over 10,000 different items to make a filament for a light bulb. When asked if he was upset by failing so many times he replied “I just learned 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb” I am not sure to many of us would try 10,000 times to make the perfect cake or a tasty dinner.
When trying to promote my book or seminars I often think of this story. How much further would we be set back if Edison had given up? How much longer would we be without the light bulb? You may say “well that’s not me, I couldn’t do that”. I am hear to tell you that you used to do it. What do I mean by that? Let me ask you this, how may times as a baby did you fall before you learned to walk? Did you give up and say “this walking thing might not be for me” You see all of us begin life with a determination to succeed at our goals. If we didn’t there would be a lot of adults out there crawling around.
So how do we develop a determination to match Edison? I believe the answer is two-fold. First, develop a strong enough why. If the reason to succeed is important enough to you the how will be found. Second, remember if you as a baby didn’t give up, why would the adult. Is it because we have learned to accept failure? Is it because it is easier to give up? Perhaps we are just not as focused on what we stand to gain by our success or lose by our giving up.
I am going to leave you with one thought and a quote to take away from this. The biggest area I hear this in is relationships. People tell me they tried to make their partners happy or bring the passion back to their relationship, but it just ‘didn’t work’. I always ask, how many things did they try? Think of how important your goal is, what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose. Think of all you didn’t give up on when you were young. Reading, writing, learning your language. How would your life be different if you had just tried once we these things? Remember if you find yourself giving up, even determination is something you have to be determined to succeed at.
Here is the quote I promised you. It comes from the famous baseball player Babe Ruth
“You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up”
“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up”
When people ask me the secret to my ability to see the positive side of things and keep a bright outlook I offer them many of the secrets I employ. Most of which I have shared on this site. Still if there was one trait, one thing that has kept me on the right track despite outside circumstances it is this – I never give up – Everyday I see people who give up on a lot of things. Give up on a new idea they were trying. Give up on a new skill they are trying to learn. Give up on the dreams they were chasing. To the worst thing of all, giving up on life itself. No doubt there are days when we need to take a step back and catch our breath, or just recharge, but that is not giving up. Quite often most people stop digging their mines when they are mere inches from gold.
When we think of Babe Ruth what do we think of? Did you know ‘The Babe’ was a great pitcher as well? Most people associate Babe Ruth with hitting home runs and well they should. For quite some time he was the all-time leader in home runs. The home run is baseball’s equivalent to a personal victory in life. A home run does not always win the game, but sometimes it can. It always adds to the joy and confidence of the player hitting it, however. So how about you? How do you feel when you ‘hit a home run’ in life? Be it finishing the project at the office or scoring high on that term paper. Do you not find the things you do following you do with more confidence and enthusiasm? That is all well and good, but let’s face it in our game of life, we can’t all be home run hitters like the Babe Ruth, or can we? Let us look at the opposite side of the coin; striking out. When you strike out in life, you lose a job, you get in a fight with your spouse or luck just seems against you, How do you approach the things following that? If you are anything like most people your confidence is down, your enthusiasm may be lacking. Quite often approaching things with this state becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By approaching life with a down-trodden attitude we often miss opportunities we would’ve seized with a more zealous approach. So what is the solution? How when we find ourselves in a ‘hitting slump’ can we still keep our attitude up? I think taking a new look at some facts may help us. Did you know every year he played Babe Ruth struck out more than he homered? It’s true. Look it up if you feel the need. Even in today’s game a .300 hitter is considered good. That means that they get a hit only 3 out of every 10 times they attempt. These are the guys getting paid top dollar. What is their secret? How come they do not give up after failing 70 percent of the time? The answer is simple and it is the secret I use to maintain a positive attitude and you can use to succeed in any avenue of life you are pursuing. The secret is this…They keep swinging. Quite often if we persist we demonstrate a faith in ourselves that gives us and everyone around us confidence. “Persistence is just another word for faith. If we didn’t have faith we wouldn’t persist” Said Earl Nightingale. So show some faith in yourself and persist, when you strike out at something in life and you feel like a failure, remember just to keep swinging!