Why Life Needs To Be Tough Before You Can Be Amazing.

Life is hard and then you die.  If you’re successful that is.

That’s what Olympians believe.  They know that “things getting tough” means that they are in rare territory.  They are in the company of champions.  Competitors.  Game on.

They welcome tough.  It drives them to be successful.

And it’s a lesson to remember if you plan on being amazing. You should expect things to be hard.  You should plan for a struggle.  A fight.  A conquest.

That’s the cost of achieving impossibly hard, amazing things.

It’s hard.  And stays hard.

You have to be harder. Tougher. More determined.

What you shouldn’t start talking about is “working smarter” or “taking a break”.  You shouldn’t start rationalizing your weaknesses.  Or pretending like it’s the right move to give up.

Tough is what’s right.  Not what’s wrong.

Ask Kerri Strugg about how tough you have to be to be a champion.

She anchored the women’s gymnastics team.  The strongest member of the 1996 American Olympic team she was the “secret weapon.”  An accomplished vaulter she was often called on to close a match for the team, winning back points lost by other members of the team.

As the American team entered the final stage of the competition everyone was looking at Kerri to seal the deal for the team.  She just had to score higher than 9.3 on her vault and the American team would take home the gold medal.  And she had two attempts to get it right.

But her first try ended horribly.

Kerri landed awkwardly, leaving her with a nasty ankle sprain and a score of only 9.1.  The crowd gasped and her coaches rushed to the mat and helped her up.  The commentators on television started talking about the wasted opportunity for the American team.  In her injured state, she would have to leave the event unfinished.

But while the commentators were talking, Kerri did something different.

She took a deep breath, slowly blew it out, and sprinted straight back at the vault.  Gritting her teeth against the pain she flung herself violently into her routine — landing on one foot.

The seconds seemed like an eternity.  Unable to hold herself up any longer, Kerri fell over onto the mat.  The cheers from the crowd were deafening.  As she wiped the tears from her eyes she saw the scoreboard — a 9.7.

She had won the American Women’s Gymnastics Team the gold medal.

What can you learn?  “It being easy” isn’t a sign that you’re getting results or doing anything that matters.

Many times it means you aren’t doing anything new.  That you might not be pushing as hard as you need to be.  That you are just going through the motions.  That you aren’t going to be amazing.

Don’t expect it to get any easier.

Not next year.  Not after that next big deal. Not ever.

You’re expecting the wrong thing.

For more than 2,000 years, Olympic athletes have entered the arena hearing the following words:

Ask not alone for victory, ask for courage

For if you can endure, you bring honor to yourself.

Even more you bring honor to us all.”

The same applies to you today.

Life needs to be tough.  Or you won’t be in a position to push yourself to be amazing.

You need to hurt.  You need to cry.  You need to wish that the pain would stop.

And then you need to push through the chaos, find your purpose for fighting, and create a legendary example  of “being amazing”.

Time forgets most of us.  We are lost in the passing of memorable moments of others.

Perhaps it’s time to change that.

Perhaps it’s time to embrace the toughness of life.  To push past the hardness. To fight through the loneliness and fear.

Go be amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/NothingKnewBlog Nothing Knew

    word! :) Great post!

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Awesome. Glad you enjoyed it. I was thinking about this over the weekend and just decided to “go with my gut”… :-)


  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    An always welcomed reminder for me to put my ass in gear and stop looking for a way out. It’s high time I started looking for a way IN, and then a way BEYOND. *high five*

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      True story, Erika, True story. Jump in the fire and make it hotter. Why not? We’re all gonna die some day. Why not make it a fight in the meanwhile? :-)


  • Jack Malcolm

    Great post, Dan. Coincidentally, I just posted an article about a young man who truly exemplifies your point: http://jackmalcolm.com/blog/2012/11/relentlessly-motivated/

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Thanks, Jack. I think Ahmed was pretty tough. He made the impossible possible through a heck of a lot of hard work.


  • http://twitter.com/rockstarbrands Steve Jones

    Well put! I love the line “push through the chaos”… after all, the only way forward is forward, even if chaos is in your way.

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      That’s right, Steve. There is no doubt that it’s tough to do. But the goal line is so worth it, right.

      Why not be amazing? The other options just don’t seem as fun. :-)


  • Ganesh

    Completely agree from my own example. Though I am still struggling to find the fight I would love, I can already vouch for the amazing growth I had during my moments of pain.

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Looking back it’s clear that the best moments of our lives come right after we feel like we can’t go on.

      That moment of awakening and triumph that comes from breakthrough is extraordinary…


  • Mark Tobin

    Great post Dan. The Women’s Gymnastics team also motivated me this year to write about high performance teams. So in your language, I guess they are consistently amazing! http://bitly.com/TuxZhj

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      It’s amazing to think about how one person can inspire millions of us with their example. It’s a decision they make that impacts all of us watching.

      I want to be that guy someday. :-) How about you?


  • Pingback: Just Be 'Real'. It Really Works! | Peter Sterlacci | Believe. Become. Be Your Brand

  • http://www.facebook.com/aj.senivassen Aj Senivassen

    This is just what I needed to read to remind myself why I am doing what I am doing. so good I had to read it again.

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Go be awesome, AJ! Glad that this helped you “take the hill”… :-)


  • Charlie

    - that’s just an American fairy-tail story, come on who’s gonna go for that?

    • http://www.WaldschmidtPartners.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      I am not sure how you call it a “fairy tale.” It actually happened. :-)


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