Lesson No. 1
Believe in the crazy notion you change the world.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
— Steve Jobs, 1997
I could not think of a better description for us “crazy athletes” out there. Many of us push hard to prove somehow that our limits extend far beyond what we might once have thought. We live on the borderline of possible. We know we are misfits. We know about not following the status quo. We know about being laughed at and put down. And we know how to get back up. We know how to move through it and advance our sport. And yes, we are most certainly crazy enough to think we can change our world. So what?
We must be born with an inordinate amount of drive and determination. Some may call us obsessive. Some may say it’s not normal. But then again, normal is rarely a word used by those striving for greatness. We crazies have a mental tenacity and some say that’s what separates the mortals from the immortals.
Lesson No. 2
Consistently throughout his career, Steve Job’s message resonated loud and clear: Keep innovating. Keep improving. Keep moving forward. If you are not innovating, others will overtake you. Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower.
In sports, innovation can distinguish the champion from the contender. To be innovative means to be adaptive. To be a champion we must have the courage to throw everything overboard that is not extraordinary. We must be willing to tear every aspect of our game apart that is not exceptional in order to rebuild and reinvent. Champions stay hungry for improvement. Innovation and improvement can be hard, but it’s not about pounding ourselves into the ground, it’s about learning to fly.
Innovation, after all, is trying new things. New things are rarely perfected on the first, second, or even third attempt. Innovating requires relentless effort and exploration. In both sports and life, this path might mean we get beaten and knocked down. How we handle setbacks and hurdles shows our mettle, our grit.
The innovation process can be fraught with mistakes. We need mistakes. We need to accept them, learn from them, and get on with fixing them. Making mistakes does not diminish our courage, rather it galvanizes it. This is how we evolve. It is the only way we can. We cannot let mistakes define us. The sure way to allow our mistakes to define us is to give up. Giving up is not an option for champions. Leaders push through with unyielding determination, and many eventually do change the world and prove conventional thinking wrong. This is being extraordinary.
Here is an entertaining example of an incredible sports innovation:
Before October 20, 1968, there were several iterations for the Olympic high jump technique: (1) standing still and jumping, (2) scissors, (3) straddle, and (4) the western roll. A young engineer, who was a terrible high jumper, stepped back and thought through how to change the technique to master the high jump. He envisioned an innovation – a different way to approach the high jump. His method was highly criticized because he started on the “wrong foot” and turned his back to the bar. It was mechanically very unusual – yet superior.
In the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City, not only was a world record set in the high jump, the event was reinvented. The 21-year-old Oregonian, Dick Fosbury, wins gold! His Olympic record of 7’ 4.5” was the first American victory in the event since 1956. It was also the international debut of Fosbury’s unique jumping style, which came to be known as the “Fosbury Flop.”
The Flop, according to one journalist, “looked like a guy falling off the back of a truck.” Instead of the traditional scissors- or straddle-style forward kick over the bar, it featured a midair rotation so that the jumper landed back-of-the-head-first on the mat. Fosbury described it this way: “I take off on my right, or outside, foot rather than my left foot. Then I turn my back to the bar, arch my back over the bar and then kick my legs out to clear the bar.” It looked odd, but it worked better than any other technique ever had.
Of course, naysayers were part of the buzz. Naysayers are always part of the innovation equation. Fosbury received heavy criticism from coaches and the press for his unconventional jumping technique. U.S. Olympic Coach Pat Jordan warned that it would “wipe out an entire generation of high jumpers because they will all have broken necks.” But the Flop soon became standard practice at track meets across the globe. Within a decade, almost every elite high-jumper was doing it Fosbury’s way.
The criticism continued. One newspaper called Fosbury the “World’s Laziest High Jumper.” But, this disparagement didn’t stop Dick Fosbury from perfecting his new technique. The 1968 Olympic high jump event showcased his technique. Within a few hours during that historic event, Dick Fosbury would go from being an unknown to one of the most influential athletes in Olympic history.
The lesson from Steve Jobs is to think big. Jobs coaches the concept that each of us can put a dent in the universe – leave our mark in the world. He believed that to do something extraordinary, something unique, something revolutionary was within the grasp of all champions. To redefine our sport and push it forward for the world, we must have the courage to cultivate innovation and adaption.
Lesson No. 3
Stay focused on your dream.
Steve Jobs taught us many things about staying focused. His focus is legendary. He advised that rather than focusing on what you want to achieve, say no to the things that usurp our focus. There are thousands of things vying for every second of our attention. Learning to stay focused means cutting through all the nonsensical clutter of distractions. This takes clarity of mind and mental discipline to turn off the jumble and stay on task. We can produce remarkable results when we focus and put all our attention into one thing.
Staying focused means following your dream, not your dreams. If you don’t have a dream, find one. It’s worth the search to find your calling and discover your destiny. You are here to do something big, get on with it. Dare to dream and have the courage to follow your heart.
Focus helps us maintain the intensity and integrity of our efforts. Most people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. Take pride in your ability to avoid all distractions. This is your discipline, your focus. Cultivate it. Putting your heart and soul into something for an extended period of time will bring reward. Stay the course.
Lesson No. 4
Failure leads to extraordinary.
Playing it safe and following along with others might help avoid failure. With certainty, this course will produce “average.” The voice of average echoes everywhere, all the time. Don’t let this noise drown out your innovation, your dream. Have the courage to follow your extraordinary inner voice. Don’t succumb to the ordinary.
Failure is a mandatory ingredient to extraordinary. Rejections, setbacks and even, ridicule come with extraordinary. Champions understand, expect and even invite failure. Why? Every failure allows one to acknowledge that either he/she is not demanding enough of himself/herself or there needs to be a complete change of course. These are invaluable teachers. Extraordinary cannot exist without continual improvements.
It is good to continually reflect upon our actions (wins and losses), and those things we let distract us. This honest reflection is part of our strength. It keeps us hungry and humble. Doing what we love allows us to drive through the exhausting work even when we fail. It will wake us up early and make us stay later. It will give us the stamina to sacrifice.
Lesson No. 5
Take full ownership.
A champion will ensure that every practice, every study session, every activity is the best it can be. Sheer grit and determination will propel him/her forward. Steve Jobs said his role was not to make things easy on people – it was to make them better. The champion’s role is to take full ownership. Visualize success. A leader will evaluate every plan and envision a better, more aggressive version.
Successful people speak what they want and put plans into action. Some call it living life on your terms. Thoughts, ideas, and big picture ruminations in your mind are waiting for you to release them and act upon them. Only you know in your mind and heart how to accept success or failure at all costs. Steel your mind. The path of ownership gives your control. And, it reminds you to confront your shortcomings and flaws. See the world, your world, as it is. Ownership of your life gives you the choice to take action.
Don’t waste your life trying to live the lives of others. Don’t allow the myth that we are fated to live inevitable lives with no control over the outcome. Other people are entitled to their own opinions, they are not however entitled to make them ours. Never relinquish your personal power.
So, all you crazy world-changers, it’s time to start innovating. Extraordinary demands it. Neuro-Cultivate the focus to allow the crystallization of your dreams. Your failures will electrify you into reflection and reset. Take full ownership and point the finger of responsibility in the mirror. Have a brave vision, my friend. You were meant to be creative, effective, and extraordinary.
For more information please visit https://bodyhelix.com/blog/
It is my greatest hope that you will implement some tips from our Bio-Cultivating and Neural-Cultivating blogs. Further, it is my hope you will be inspired to pass these learnings along to family and friends. We all have people in our lives who have the desire but lack the accurate information to improve their health. It is frustrating to sift through the bombardment of data and the misinformation in today’s world. It’s no wonder some give up in frustration. I believe that we deserve the healthiest choices that honest modern science can offer. It is my mission to help as many of us as possible get and stay healthy.
As a tennis coach myself, I found the compression industry to be unacceptable for our needs. I set out on a journey to help you and your students. I know we all get beat up. The harder we compete, the more we get injured. All compression is not created equal! At Body Helix, we start with an unapologetic obsession for exceptional quality. Our design philosophy is to create modern, innovative gear that surpasses that which is offered in the global marketplace. As a privately held, Veteran-owned, North Carolina company we challenge global leaders to elevate their compression game or step aside. It’s compression gear designed by tennis players for tennis players.
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.
— Steve Jobs
We’re here to put a dent in the universe.
I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.
It’s not about pounding ourselves into the ground, it’s about learning how to fly.
—Fred A. Robinson
The only way we can ever be defined by a mistake is if we give up.
—Fred A. Robinson
A coach’s job is not to make things easier. It is to give us accurate guidance to a path that can lead to success. It is our job to run faster and further than anyone else down this path.
—Fred A. Robinson