Wrestling With Stupid

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August 31, 2011 by David Gillaspie


You can't find the flyer? Good.

Mr. Godin had to be a wrestler. Everything he writes sounds like a reason to wrestle.

If I had to guess, he’s not a pinner, but knows how to put the clamps on when it’s there.

He’s a points guy, a scrambler who sees things before others, scores, and sets up the next score.

In the link above, Seth Godin talks about process:

“Set up a process correctly and the rest takes care of itself.”

Wrestling is all about process. Get strong, get smart, get conditioned, and go get it.

When is the last time someone showed up in a wrestling room and said “Here I am, where’s my medal?”


First they go through the process of getting whomped and stomped, figure out what they need to do to turn that around, then set goals for themselves.

Every coach in history knows this is a kid they want on their team. They see him taken down by sloppy shots, then not; they see him learn to anticipate; they see him start to relax with new confidence.

Most of all, their coach sees someone they can count on.

“Do the work and you’ll get the results,” Godin says.

Is this new? It is for some. If you do the work of wrestling and don’t get the results, ask for help. 

You run five miles in thirty minutes? You set personal records every week in the gym? You drill for hours on your own? Any you’re still getting beat like a drum?

If it’s not a physical problem, what could it be?

Are you training in a room full of all-Americans? Olympians in every corner? Or are you in the same room with your team where everyone else gets better except you?

“Other jobs require a different sort of hard work: the guts to be wrong, a confrontation with the risk of being stupid.”

Is Seth Godin talking about marketing, his area of expertise, or wrestling?

He could be saying wrestling requires a different sort of hard work: the guts to be wrong, a confrontation with the risk of being stupid.  

Who teaches the ‘flying squirrel?’

Who teaches the drag trip?

More important, who’s learning it? If you learn to execute tricky moves, then you can defend against them. Watch the opponent in the flying squirrel clip. He can’t find his guy until he’s on the mat losing points.

It’s an ‘Aha’ moment for him, as in “What just happened?”

Seth Godin continues, “What makes this work hard is that it might not work.”

If you lay the same foundation of endurance, strength, and technique as all athletes, but do it in wrestling, you are a superior athlete. If you aren’t getting the results you expect from all the work you put in, it’s not a physical problem.

What you’re doing is digging a hole. Before it get any deeper, climb out and check your tools. You don’t build a path to the podium with a shovel. The ground work is already done.

You build that path by chopping away the vines and branches reaching out to trip you, to knock you down. You build that podium with a hammer and nails, then stand on it.

If you’re an inside tie wrestler, learn the outside steps. If you’re an upper-body winger, work on a leg attack.

When you don’t have a physical problem in your way, it’s something else, and the wrestling room is where you’ll find the answer.

Follow the process: talk about it with your parents, your coach, your teammates, then look in the mirror and have a heart to heart.

Then start wrestling with smart.

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