Chapter 1: Two Types of Competitors
The world contains two types of competitors; those who hate to lose, and those who love to win.
I live in the camp that loves to win. But while winning gives me distinct joy, my truest affection centers around the competition in and of itself. I just love to compete. Win or lose, I’m happiest either deep amid the competition or sweating and straining the preparation to compete. Winning and losing are just the outcomes of that process.
In many ways, I see losing as the necessary dues you pay to learn how to perform better and win the next time. It represents the steps along a journey to develop the knowledge, skill, physical ability and mental endurance required to succeed in the future. Not that I’m content with losing, but I try to extract positives from every situation and focus on how to apply lessons learned from one experience to the next.
Mahatma Gandhi once made a statement that has resonated with me and matches my philosophy about competing and winning. He said: “I never lose. I either win or I learn.”
Whether you are the type that refuses to lose or craves victory, few would say they enjoy the process of preparing to win. But that’s my favorite part. Games, matches, contests, playoffs and championships come and go. Opportunities in business and life pop up and disappear. You win some and you lose some, as they say. The more you participate, the more you learn what it takes to win. There’s the young musician who practices their instrument every day after school. There’s the basketball player who shoots 100 foul shots in the school yard after each school day. There’s the runner who wakes up early, before sunrise, to put in the miles every morning before work.
The will to win is common. But not everyone has the stomach or the head to put in the effort required to do what it takes to win.
Bear Bryant said it best.
“It is not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win.”
I had that will.
In many ways, I’ve always had it. In other ways, I completely lost it for 20 years.
This is my story about how I found the strength and the willpower to transform myself from a soft, pudgy, middle aged dad to remake myself back into a world class athlete, and how I set the stretch goal to win the USA Wrestling Senior National Championship at the age of 48 years old.