by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Ahh, yet another quote from Tim Grover to make you pause and think for a moment…

For those of you not familiar with who Tim Grover is, he was the personal trainer for Michael Jordan, and then Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade and others of NBA fame.  Grover was not associated with the team(s) directly, but rather was an independent trainer that players sought to help them reach another level of performance.  A trainer for the elite of the elite athletes really has to know his stuff, and without a doubt Tim Grover is in rarefied air.

This particular quote caught my eye because it is a different approach to the old adage of:

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

While I love this thought, and used it for the photo accompanying this blog, Grover’s point is a valid one.  Yes, the only way you can stay in the game is to get up once more than you fall down.  But to his point, stay down for a moment and think about what put you there in the first place.  We as humans are very guilty of doing the same thing over and over and yet expecting different results.  According to Albert Einstein, this is the definition of insanity.  And when you think about it, of course it is.  Some athletes hit the big time, like making it to the NBA or other pro level sports and think “Ok, I have arrived”.  If they fall down, they just jump up and dust off, hoping no one noticed.  They end up working just hard enough to not lose their job.  They are not continuing to strive forward and improve, they think they can maintain their status with less work than it took to get there.  Guys like Jordan and Kobe didn’t want to coast, it is not in their nature.  They want to be the absolute best they can be.  They want to win, at all costs.  Neither were considered friendly teammates, far from it.  Both were bullies in a sense, but with a purpose.  They were constantly pushing themselves and those around them to be their best.  They demanded more from everyone, all the time, and that can wear on someone who is in coasting gear.  It also meant you were not gonna get the ball passed to you with the game on the line, and that was for a simple reason:  you can’t be trusted.  They knew who showed up late to practice, barely put in the work, and left on time.  They knew you didn’t do extra work to improve, you were just doing enough to get by.  That doesn’t cut it for someone pushing to be the best all the time.  That doesn’t get you a pass with one second on the clock.  Given the choice, they will take the game-winning shot despite the double-team, because they figure they still have a better chance of making it than you do.  They have done the work, they have rehearsed this thousands of times before.  They assume you haven’t.

One of the ways a “Cleaner” gets to this level is to by doing a lot of self analysis.  The Cleaner knows what knocked them down, and they stayed there until they figured it out.  They stood up different.  They evaluated what happened and what they need to do differently moving forward.  They didn’t just jump up and pretend like nothing happened.  They weren’t focused on the embarrassment of the loss or the error, they were focused on what they did wrong or could have done differently.  As a personal example of this, I showed at a racquetball tournament under-prepared one time…just once.  Because I didn’t do the work I should have in advance, I blew a chance to win the tournament.  I gassed out, lost to someone I should have beaten.  As I sat on the court, exhausted after a long rally near the end of the match, I knew what I did wrong.  After the match ended, I sat in the hallway outside the court, dwelling on what just happened.  Or should I said what I allowed to happen to me.  I was in control of this variable, but I didn’t do the work.  Plain and simple, I was at fault.  I didn’t run into a hot player that was having his moment in the sunshine, I just ran out of gas against someone who was doing just enough to win.  I vowed to never make that mistake again.  And I didn’t; I became one of the most fit players at the elite level.  I took what can be a liability and turned it into an asset.  I made myself into the most fit version of me possible, and used this to my advantage from that point forward.  It was a tough loss, and the reflection of what happened, that enabled me to learn and go to the next level.  I “stayed down” until I figured it out, and then I stood up different.

This same thought process works in a lot of other areas in life too.  If you date a toxic person and have fight after fight, patching things up for a bit is not going to change who they are and how they behave.  THEY are not going to stay down until they figure out what they are doing wrong.  If you are expecting a different pattern from someone who has clearly illustrated to you how they behave, you need to do more self-analysis as well.  YOU may be the one that has to leave that situation in most cases, otherwise the same behavior patterns will emerge once again.  Staying will likely have you seeing the same fights again and again.  Same thing is true of a toxic boss, parent, neighbor, whatever.  At some point you need to reflect on how you ended up in this situation in the first place.  In the case of a parent, you probably didn’t choose that outcome, but there may be things you can do to change the dynamic.  It is risky, but there are times when the risk is well worth the reward, or the eventual blow up fight that causes you to change you holiday plans might end up being in your best interest after all.  I am not someone who subscribes to the theory that family is family no matter what.  I have standards and expectations for reasonable treatment from everyone, this includes my family members.

Allow me to point out the thing that most do not want to say aloud:  MOST PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE

It is true, sadly, that most people accept who they are and run with that instead of trying to do some real self analysis and figure things out.  Almost everyone has issues, baggage, childhood traumas and more that dictate their behaviors.  Most humans accept their lives and do little to change them.  This is why so many respect those who do.  We all love an underdog story, that one where the kid from the inner city made it out through education or sports and went on to do great things on or off the field.  Randy Johnson, Hall of Fame Baseball pitcher, led the league in walks his first three seasons until the advice from another Hall of Famer changed everything.  He did the work and became one of the most revered pitchers in the game.  Some people get dealt a tough hand but don’t settle, they strive.  They work hard to change their circumstances and they reap the benefits of that introspection and hard work.  Others, most I should say, will ride the circumstances they were given and just feel like this is their lot in life.  Personally, this is something I think should be taught in grade school… life is what you make of it.  We all have the capacity to change things.  In the U.S. there is very little in the way of true barriers to moving up in society.  You don’t need to be a millionaire to feel like one; moving up from abject poverty to middle class is a huge leap forward, and your life will likely be a lot better in many ways.  You’d have money in your savings account, a roof over your head, food on the table and even a vacation or two in your future.  There is a lot less to worry about when you have the basics covered, so sitting while you are down and figuring things out is an important part of this process too.  Think about why you are where you’re at, whether it is your doing or not, and lay out a plan of attack to change it.

Fall down seven times, get up eight….but be sure to Stand Up Different.

 

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