Are You a Quitter?
Ok, here's the question for you this week: do you consider yourself a quitter? When faced with challenges, do you find it easier to fight thru them or sneak out the back door? Not sure, well let me give you a few scenarios and you tell me what you would've done.
Scenario #1: Grappler A's (GA) has been training for all of 2 months and goes out of town and decides to visit another academy. The instructor puts GA with a senior level guy that's already had a few pro-MMA matches and he hyper-extends GA's elbow with an armbar so fast there was no time for GA to tap, just scream. As GA sat on the sideline icing his hurt elbow, he questioned why he ever wanted to do that stuff.
Scenario #2: Grappler B (GB) has been training for about three years and gets hurt while rolling so badly that he has a torn MCL, meniscus, and stretched ACL (like stretching the elastic band in a sock almost to the point of breaking) just short of a full ACL tear. After his knee surgery and being told that he's an idiot for continuing to put himself in harm's way at age 35 to roll on the ground with grown men and should give it up. GB wonders if everyone is right and if quitting is in his best interest, especially when his pain medication starts to wear off
Scenario #3: Grappler C (GC) is getting ready for a no-gi tourney and rolls his ankle (hard enough that he can't walk off the mat on it and has to be moved off by some teammates) 10 days before the tourney. Five days before the tourney, GC asks his coach if he should think compete or not, hoping the coach would make the decision for him. But the coach left the decision up to GC to make and made a recommendation on how to rest, wrap it, and keep preparing for the tourney in case GC decided to do it as a tournament-day decision. The day before the tourney, GC decides to wrap that ankle tightly and compete. GC goes out, gets 2nd place at the tourney and doesn't aggravate the ankle injury in the process
Now, what do those three scenarios have in common? Well, there all:
- unfortunate training injuries (intentional and unintentional)
- injuries were painful enough to discourage each grappler from
pursuing the goal they had in front of them at the time
- they all presented opportunities for doubt about the importance
and likelihood of achieving their goal
- they were put into situations where outsiders told them
their goals were foolish and not worth their health
- they all presented an opportunity for each grappler to quit
- I was the grappler in each of those scenarios
In each scenario, a goal that I had set was being challenged by a series of unfortunate events and I had to make some hard decisions to see if I really wanted to achieve those goals. In the first two scenarios, I had to determine if I was going to continue training and achieve my goal of becoming a BJJ BB. The pains from those injuries were more severe than the ankle injury, especially the knee surgery, and I really had to talk myself into staying in the game. The first one probably wouldn't have been as bad if it didn't happen the first two months of my training and at the hands of a guy that was fighting pro-MMA back in the day where the injury happened.
The third scenario goal was slowing down my goal of becoming a grappling champion. I had competed in 9 tournaments at that point without ever having placed first and I was determined to do it because I had never won at anything in my entire life I didn't place first in that tournament, but the confidence that I got from going out there with the ankle (not the smartest thing to do in hindsight) instead of sitting out because I was worried it might get hurt again helped me place first the next four tourneys after that
Now, the scenarios may be a bit extreme because of the injuries, but that's what makes the point. Since I was in pain in each of those scenarios, quitting would've been very easy for me and no one would've held it against me if I had quit.except me.
In each of our lives, we've all had tough obstacles that have presented themselves before us. And there were times when we sneaked out the back door and quit. Quitting removes the immediate anxiety that you may be facing when you're forced to make that kind of decision, but then the shame of quitting creeps up on you and it never goes away. It just stays in your subconscious and beats you over the head repeatedly.
When I go back to what the leadership guru said to me last weekend, he was so right If you set a goal and you're persistent about achieving it, even when failure seems certain, if you just keep your eyes on the goals and press forward, you'll achieve your goals.
It worked for me, what about you?