The Base

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April 8, 2010 by David Gillaspie

The chances of a high school student winning four state wrestling championships are slim; the chances of that student going to college and winning four national championships while going undefeated even slimmer.  Mix in World and Olympic gold and the crowd at the top of the podium thins out.

What if you set a goal and used the skills and preparation you learned from wrestling to achieve it? 

Pick a job, any job, and lay out a plan.  Check your academics and experience and get an idea of the sort of life you want.  Now look at the job you picked to see if it pays enough to support the lifestyle you want.  If everything matches up right, you’re good to go.

But it never matches up right.  There’s always something more.  

The dream job doesn’t exist yet?  Someone else is already doing that job.  If wrestling teaches anything, it teaches flexibility.  The job you choose may not be available, but there is one like it, or better.  Getting the win is the real goal, not winning a certain way. 

Say you are a thrower.  Winning a match doesn’t mean as much to you if you don’t throw for the winning points.  That’s very narrow.  You still need to counter and scramble, punish and pound.

Say you are a business major in college.  You want to work for only one company.  That’s your dream.  You still need to know the market.  If that company isn’t hiring, another is.  You eventually start your own company and make it better than the one that didn’t hire you.  

That’s a big win.

If you run and lift and drill on the mats, you will win your share of big matches.  If you study and focus and pay attention at work, opportunity presents itself.  You might not land the dream job, but maybe you’re not dreaming big enough.  The prep work you do is a set-up for bigger goals than the one you started with.

Being a thrower is exciting.  It is dangerous.  You perfect your moves with dummies and practice partners.  In matches you clock air time for your opponents.  It works until you find the one who counters throws and scores on you each time you try.  You need to change and change fast.  Your clock is running. 

If you don’t change quickly, you lose.  At least you can say you went down throwing, but eventually even that sounds like an excuse.  Wrestlers don’t lean on excuses.  There’s no teammate to blame.  Only you.

If your life depends on only one job with one company, and you don’t get it, what do you get instead?  Broken dreams?  Bitterness?  Misery?  No matter how you cover it up, it still seeps out.  Any relationship you have is underscored by the thought “I’m such a loser, and anyone, any friend, sweetheart, or spouse must be a real loser to hang around.”

You might be a thrower, but you’d better learn the legs.  You might be the software genius Apple needs for their next big release, but you’d better know Windows.

That’s wrestling.  That’s what you do, but it’s more than that. 

Be a winner.


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