23 Things Wrestling Camps Taught Me About Leadership (Skip #7 If You Have A Weak Stomach) | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Discover How to Create a Confident and Focused Life 23 Things Wrestling Camps Taught Me About Leadership (Skip #7 If You Have A Weak Stomach) | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Discover How to Create a Confident and Focused Life

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23 Things Wrestling Camps Taught Me About Leadership (Skip #7 If You Have A Weak Stomach)

Wrestling Camp“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Calvin Coolidge (Wrestler and 30th U.S. President)

“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten then he who continues the attack wins.”

Ulysses S. Grant (Wrestler and Former General)

“I think the discipline of wrestling has given me the discipline I have to write.”

John Irving (Wrestler and Author; The World According to Garp)

 

You have to break before you can have a breakthrough.

A loud crash woke me up in the middle of another 4-hour sleep. I was in a dorm room at the University of Montana, but I was still in high school—and it wasn’t a crash, it was a bang on the door and it kept happening until I put my running shoes on and answered it. My roommate and I didn’t even look at each other as we got up. We just put our shoes on and ran out to the quad and got in our line.

There were 8 lines with about 30 kids in each line. The counselors, who were all college wrestlers, circled us like sharks and yelled at us in tongues, shouting our first names, which were written on the back of our shirts, and threatening to put us through tougher workout than the one we were about to do if we didn’t hurry up and get in line. I remember the kids who went to camp last year telling me about this night. But after 5 days of 4 daily workouts starting at 6am and ending at midnight—I forgot. Now, I was scrambling to wake up and figure out what was going on. The coaches came out of the dorm and started running. The counselors yelled, “Follow the coaches—keep up and stay together—or pay for it later.” I started running, working my way through the giant mass of confused wrestlers, trying to get close enough to the front to see where we were going. As I broke through the front line, I saw—we were headed to the foot of a large mountain.

I knew we weren’t going to stop at the foot of the mountain. We were going to climb it. I knew this because I had already climbed the mountain 6 times during camp. This sucks I thought. I was tired and didn’t feel like running up a mile-long mountain let alone running back down it. The incline was steep and there were 11 different switchbacks. Oh, and the trail covered with mud because it rained yesterday. I was miserable but my body was so sore and tired from the previous 5 days that I couldn’t entertain the thought of being miserable for very long. I stopped thinking and just ran. And breathed. The mountain and the campus below was silent. All you could hear was our heavy breathing, which slowly synchronized and turned into an eerie chant. We reached the big white “M” at the top of the mountain a little after 2AM. Everyone caught their breath and looked quietly out over the city below. One of the coaches spoke up, “Sleeping—that’s what everyone else is doing right now. Very few people are willing to sacrifice temporary comfort for longterm success. Champions do it all the time” Things were quiet for a few more minutes. Then we ran back down the mountain.

Wait …How Did He Break His Fingers? 

The summer before my senior year of high school, I went to world’s toughest wrestling camp—the 28-day J. Robinson Intensive camp. I decided that I was going to do everything I could that summer to be a State champion the following year. The summer before my Sophomore year, I went to the 6-day Washington Intensive camp. Before my Junior year, I went to the Washington Intensive and a 14-day J. Rob. But this summer, I was going to the Washington Intensive, a 10-day Kenny Chertow wrestling camp, and the 28-day J. Rob.

I made it through the first camp but then, right at the beginning of the second one—the Kenny Chertow camp—I got sick. Brutally sick. I had the flu, which turned into pneumonia. I lost my voice and couldn’t even talk to my girlfriend on the phone. Luckily, I was rooming with my best friend. We flew all the way from Washington to Virginia to do the camp together. When I got sick, he’d talk to my parents (and girlfriend) to let them know I was okay. I was so sick that I started to worry I wouldn’t get better in time for the J. Rob. camp. But I did.

By the second day of the 28-day J. Rob. camp, I wish I would’ve stayed sick. The camp was insanely tough. Over 300 kids started the camp and 100 of them quit by the first week. The number would have been higher but some of the kids’ parents refused to fly them home early. So these kids had to stay. One kid—we called him Big Red because he was 250 pounds and had clown-like orange hair—begged his parents to fly him home. He begged them every day and every night between practices. Then, one day, he was gone. I asked his roommate what happened and he told me that Big Red had purposely broken two of his fingers by slamming his dorm room door on them.

Wrestling Camps

23 Leadership Lessons From Wrestling Camp 

Leadership is developed through competition. Studies show that former athletes who competed in individual sports exhibit increased levels of discipline, communication, and accomplishment-based skills. Other studies show that these athletes have higher levels of emotional intelligence, higher levels of self-esteem, and are better at managing other people. This is especially true of wrestlers.

Over 25% of all U.S. Presidents have wrestled. The list includes Chester Arthur, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Zachary Taylor, John Tyler, and George Washington. Numerous CEOs, Fortune 500 Founders, and business leaders have also wrestled, including Rocky Aoki (Benihana Restaurants), Scott Beck (Boston Market), James Bigger (Nestle), Ben Bishop (Bethlehem Steel), Dan Cathy (Chick-fil-a), Stephen Friedman (Goldman Sachs), Ron McGruder (Olive Garden), David Pottruck (Charles Schwab), Edward Rust (State Farm), and Arthur Rutzen (Wells Fargo).

Wrestling and other individual sports, above all else, teach leadership. But leadership isn’t something that’s learned all at once. It’s learned slowly, over the course of many years, through numerous lessons that seem small at the time. Eventually, these lessons gel, giving you the tools you need to lead others. The key is that growing as a leader never stops. There’s always more to learn. When it comes to leadership, I’ve learned that the biggest gains are developed during adversity and struggle. This is why I kept going back to wrestling camps that made me miserable. I knew they would help me become a leader. Here are 23 leadership lessons I learned by going to summer wrestling camps:

1. No one on the outside will ever understand (or care about) how hard you work.

I wanted to give up on the second day of the first intensive wrestling camp I went to. I kept thinking, “This is so hard, I can’t do this anymore.” My first instinct was to call all of my friends, my girlfriend, and my parents and tell everyone how hard the camp was. A few days later I started feeling stronger and more confident and I wanted to call everyone again to tell them how hard I was working—in a good way this time. As I talked to everyone on the phone, I could tell that they were listening to me but they weren’t hearing me. No matter how much time I spent explaining things to them, they just didn’t seem to get it, which was really frustrating. Eventually, I realized that no one will ever understand how hard I worked at those camps, unless they went through one themselves.

The same is true in life. People have their own problems and challenges to deal with—they don’t have time to be incredibly impressed with how hard you’re working. Plus, everyone thinks they work hard, even people who don’t. If you’re really working hard, you don’t need other people to validate you. Just keep working hard and let your achievements speak for themselves.

2. You can’t make other people want what you want.

There was this one kid at the first J. Rob. camp I went to who was in trouble from day one. I could tell he was about to quit and go home so I started encouraging him to stay. To be honest, I didn’t do this because I was a nice guy. I thought the counselors would notice me encouraging him and give me extra points. But after a few days of encouraging him I became emotionally invested and really started to care. I let him borrow my motivational quote book, talked with him about his goals—he really didn’t have any—and gave him wrestling tips. Then he quit and went home. This was when I realized that not everyone wants what I want. And, I can’t make them want what I want either.

If you’re the kind of person who is very driven to make big things happen in your life—news flash—not everyone is like you. In fact, most people are just the opposite—they have small goals or no goals at all and just want to live life. Studies show that 80% of the population does not have goals. Think about that the next time you’re trying really hard to make something happen and not understanding why nobody else seems to care. Don’t waste your time trying to motivate unmotivated people. You can fan someone else’s fire but you can’t give them your spark.

3. Sometimes it’s better to turn off your brain and just grind it out.

There were numerous times at each camp when I was so tired and my body was so sore that I didn’t even have the energy to consider how much pain I was in. I just had to turn my brain off and workout on autopilot like a zombie. Later, I realized that this was a smart thing to do. The kids who let themselves run on autopilot were the ones who ended up graduating from camp. On the other hand, the kids who were constantly thinking about how tired they were and constantly trying to avoid pain never graduated. They quit.

Sometimes life just sucks. There will be times when everything will come against you at once—people will stop supporting you, you’ll run out of money, you’ll run out of time, you’ll catch a bad break—whatever. Don’t try to find a way around the pain, go through it. Maybe you found a great opportunity, took action, and started experiencing a sense of growth and fulfillment from it. But now you’ve hit a plateau. Now things are really hard. This is where you need to lower your shoulder and plow forward. Turn off your brain and grind. Don’t think about it. Just do it.

4. Do whatever it takes to win, except take shortcuts.

There was this kid at the 28-day J. Rob. who crushed everyone at everything. We was the best wrestler at the entire camp, was one of the strongest kids there, and was one of the best runners. He dominated everything. I really looked up to him. Then, during the third week of camp, we were placed in the same morning running group and had to do a series of stair workouts. In the middle of one workout, I was running down a circular flight of stairs and he was running up.

There was only one counselor with us that morning and he was at the top of the stairs. The stairs were so long and windy that the counselor couldn’t see all the way to the bottom. As I was running down the stairs, the kid—the one I looked up to—stopped about 100 stairs from the bottom, turned around early, and started running back up. No wonder he was beating everyone. I lost all respect for him immediately. Not because I was perfect or never took a shortcut in my life, but because he didn’t respect himself. Skipping the last 100 stairs was only hurting him and he didn’t get that.

Rules are meant to be broken, but your reputation isn’t. Find better ways of doing things, search for loopholes, seize opportunities that no one else sees, but don’t take shortcuts that are just going to hold you back in the long run. You should never cut corners when it comes to your reputation and growth.

5. The halfway point is the hardest point—prepare for it.

I remember thinking that the last few days of camp would be the hardest. If the first day was hard then the 14th day of the 14-day camp or the 28th day of 28-day camp would be the hardest. I was wrong. The last several days were always the easiest. In fact, it was during those days that I felt invincible. Like I can handle anything. The end was near and nothing was going to stop me from finishing. The halfway point, on the other hand, was a disaster. The middle was death …it was maddening …it was when most people quit.

The halfway point is always the hardest. You look back and see how far you had to come only to look forward and see that you have to go exactly that far to go again. At the 28-day J. Rob., days 12 through 16 were the absolute pits. The only reason I got through it is because I knew it was coming. I experienced the pain of the halfway point at previous camps so this time I was ready for it. I expected it.

When you’re going through a tough period in your life, figure out what’s making it tough and when it will be over. Then, find the halfway point. Once you know where the middle is, prepare for it because that’s going to be where you want to quit the most. Make sure you surround yourself with supportive people during these times—people who will keep you motivated, healthy, and mindful of the reasons why you took on this challenge in the first place.

6. Quit crying to your girlfriend and family about your problems. 

A lot of campers, including myself, spent hours on the phone at night talking to their girlfriends and parents about how hard camp was. Poor us—we said—this is not fair. We whined and complained and we were weaker for it. Not only that, but our whining made the camp itself weaker. Most parents, like mine, told me to buck up and deal with it. But some parents called the camp coaches and complained. They said the camp was too hard and that the counselors were too mean. Some would even call the local police or fire department to go check on their kids.

These parents would act as if they didn’t know how hard the camp was going to be, even though the camps’ websites and fliers explained everything about the camp in complete detail. The truth is, they knew how hard it was, they just couldn’t imagine their kids not being able to handle something in the real world. It couldn’t possibly be that their darling little angels weren’t tough enough to graduate from camp.

Over the years, as a result of these complaints, some of these camps have had to tone down the intensity of their workouts. This is what whining does to the world. It weakens it. When you whine and complain, you not only weaken (and embarrass) yourself, you make the world a weaker place to live in. You reduce the number of opportunities people have to develop themselves into leaders.

7. Crazy and gross things happen in life but you can’t let them distract you.

About halfway through the 14-day J. Rob. camp, this kid went berserk. I was walking back from eating lunch when one of the toughest kids at the camp went running by me in just his underwear with a huge crap stain on the back. Two counselors were chasing him and tackled him 10 yards in front of me. The kid started taking swings at the counselors and screaming that he wanted to die. Then he threw up on everyone and peed himself. Two more counselors came running up and restrained him until an ambulance came. I found out later that the kid had some genetic condition, which he didn’t know about at the time. For whatever reason, this condition, coupled with being severely dehydrated, made him hallucinate and have a psychotic episode.

No one was sure how the kid became so dehydrated because our hydration levels and bodyweight were monitored every morning and afternoon and we were forced to drink a gallon of water and electrolytes daily. What happened was crazy but honestly I was too tired to make a big deal about it. After I saw him freak out, I went back to my dorm room to take a quick nap before the next intense workout. Nothing changed.

Horrible things happen in life, some will happen to you and some will happen to other people. The key is to stay on your own course no matter what happens. Too many people experience something different or scary—like getting diagnosed with a disease, getting divorced or breaking up with someone, losing a family member, or losing a job—and then start to question everything. They lose faith in themselves and their mission. Don’t let this happen to you. Realize that bad things happen but, like everything, they will pass. No matter what happens, keep moving forward.

8. Some people will hate you for working hard—forget them.

There were a lot of kids at camp who would put down the kids who worked hard. They would hate on them and make excuses for why the hardworking kids were successful. They’d see a kid working hard and say  “he’s a suck up” or “he’s weird and nobody likes him” or “he’s a show off.”

I could see where these haters were coming from though. Sometimes, when I saw a kid working harder than me, I would come up with an excuse as to why they were able to work harder or why they were more successful. But eventually I realized that hating on people only holds me back, not them. I also realized that I should get rid of other haters in my life.

If you have haters or negative people in your life—get rid of them. If they’re old friends or family members, keep them at a distance. There’s no room in your life for negative people who want to hold you back.

9. A 15-mile run seems hard until a blind kid passes you on the left.

At the end of the 14-day J. Rob., we had to run 15 miles in a set amount of time to graduate. My legs felt like jelly at mile 7 and I was about to start walking. Right then a blind kid who came to the camp and wrestled in special matches passed me on the left with his guide. I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly, my legs felt a lot stronger and I started running faster. I went from feeling sorry for myself to feeling confident that I could do anything.

Managing your perspective is the key to keeping everything from your confidence levels to your energy levels on blast. No matter what you’re going through, someone has it worse and someone has probably done it before. Keep that in mind because it will keep your mindset strong.

10. You have to break before you can have a breakthrough.

On the 20th day of the 28-day J. Rob. camp I broke down and cried like a little girl. One of the counselors had decided to break me that day. He pulled me off to the side during practice and wrestled live with me for over an hour, beating me to a pulp in the process. Then, with about 20 minutes of practice left, he put me in a group with three other wrestlers as shark bait and had them take shots on me. I did my best to fend them off but I was useless at that point. Next, with 5 minutes left, he had me hold a 45lb weight plate over my head and told me that if I lowered it at all he would send me home. With 3 minutes left I started crying uncontrollably. I remember it happening without wanting it to happen. Like something just snapped and I cried. I wasn’t sad or anything, it was just a biological response to the stress I was under.

After the practice, the counselor talked to me, told me I did a great job, and then explained what just happened. I went to bed that night more exhausted than I had ever been but woke up more confident than I had ever been. I knew from that moment on that I could make it through anything.

Breakthroughs only come after intense moments of frustration and pain. It’s impossible to grow without this pain. You have to be willing to push yourself, or let other people push you past your own breaking points. There’s no other way to get to the next level.

11. There’s a battle mindset and an after battle mindset and you need both.

The best wrestlers at camp were the ones who had a very clear on/off switch. They were always really relaxed before and after practicing—taking naps, laughing, and talking with their teammates—but, when practice started, they were animals. It was like something clicked and they turned into ruthless assassins. Then, once practice was over, they were relaxed again. I was the opposite. I was always thinking about the next practice and preparing for it. This made me feel like I was in control. In reality, it made me lose control. It also drained my energy levels.

The best performers at anything have both a battle mindset and an after battle mindset. It’s impossible to perform at 100% if you never drop below 50%. Most people make the mistake keeping their switch stuck at 75%. They’re always stressed, worried, and thinking about work. As a result, they always feel drained and slightly behind. A better strategy is to give everything during set times and then to shut off completely outside of those times. 

12. Encouraging others is the best energy boost.

I was only worried about one person at the first intensive camp I went to—me. I thought that isolating myself and focusing on just me was the only way to survive. Something was always missing though. And keeping to myself wasn’t conserving my energy levels as much as I thought it would. At the second camp I went to, I started encouraging other people. I was amazed at how much this energized me. The more I built others up, the more I built myself up. The key was being sincere in my efforts. Empty platitudes weren’t energizing. But real encouragement—the kind that I meant deep down—drove me forward too.

13. Mischief is energizing.

During one of the Washington Intensive wrestling camps, the coaches and counselors broke the routine and divided us up into groups to compete with each other in games that were fun but had nothing to do with wrestling. Likewise, halfway through the 14-day J. Rob., we were given an evening off and shuttled to an amusement park. I rode the park’s roller coaster 12 times and then played video games inside the arcade with some of the other wrestlers. At the 28-day J. Rob., the counselors played a joke on J. Robinson for his Birthday. They told us to start running around and moving the mats and destroying everything so J. would think that we had overrun the camp. Then, right when he walked into the room and started to blow up, we broke into singing Happy Birthday.

All of these things—games, going somewhere new, playing practical jokes—energized me. They turned my focus outward and helped me remember that there was more to the world than just grinding it out. This kind of mischief is important, but it doesn’t just happen. You have to make time for it. Schedule some mischief in your life—but make it the exception, not the rule. It will help you achieve your goals faster.    

14. Everything starts with a decision to be a champion.  

At every wrestling camp I went to, the first questions that the coaches asked us was do you want to be a State champion? If not, you should just go home now. That’s what they said. And they were right. If we didn’t have a strong reason to be at camp, we’d never make it through. We’d give up as soon as things got tough. Making a decision gives you a reason why—a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. Because you made a decision. Because you committed yourself.

You can’t just try to do things. People who are trying to win, trying to be a better person, trying to make a relationship work, trying to get a promotion, or trying to do whatever, will always fail. Trying is weak. Trying is what quitters and losers do. You have to decide to do things. Decide to win. Decide to be a champion.

15. Looks deceive but actions never lie.

Some of the kids at camp were stacked. They were giant and ripped and looked like they could power clean a truck. Then you’d wrestle against them at the end of a tough practice and they’d feel like jelly—weak and sloppy. Other kids came in and looked like studs and superstars, they had the newest wrestling shoes on and the most expensive gear and looked like they had been wrestling since birth. Then they’d quite after the first day.

When it comes to how tough someone is, looks don’t matter. The only way to tell how tough someone is—the only way to tell who they really are—is to watch what they do. How do they respond under pressure? Who do they hang out with? How do they treat other people? Forget what people say and watch what they do.

16. Take on the toughest kid in the room and everything else will seem easy.

I was always amazed by how easy the rest of a practice seemed after wrestling with one of the college counselors. When I first started wrestling, I would always look for the easiest kids to wrestle against so I would win and look good. Then I wondered why I never got any better. One day I decided to change things up—I decided to wrestle the toughest kids in the room. This had a weird effect on my perspective. Whenever I was done wrestling with one of the tougher kids, the rest of my matches seemed easy. Wrestling tougher kids also had a weird effect on my performance— it made me much better much faster. The more I challenged myself—the more painful I made practice—the more I improved. Life is the same way. Putting yourself in challenging situations day in and day out fast tracks your performance and development as a leader.

17. Your girlfriend cheating on you is sometimes the best thing that can happen.

After the Kenny Chertow camp was over, I went to the 28-day J. Robinson camp and my best friend went home. About a week into camp my girlfriend broke up with me to date him. I remember being devastated at the time. I was 2,000 miles from home, alone, and helpless. None of my teammates came with me to the camp. I didn’t know anyone. And now my girlfriend was dating my best friend. Woe, is me.

In retrospect, it was my fault. After all, I left her. I chose to be gone for most of the summer and, when you’re in high school, one day can seem like an entire year. Of course she was going to get lonely and look for someone else to date. My friend and I were a lot alike and she was comfortable with him, which made him the obvious choice. And he did fun things like go jet skiing and hang out at the lake. All I did was train.

This breakup ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to me. I used it as motivation to place at the State tournament the next year and I dodged a bullet because her and I would’ve never lasted anyway. Problems are gifts. Sometimes, the thing that seems like the end of the world at the time is the same thing that makes your world a thousand times better in the long run.

18. Enjoy where you are now because the next level is always harder.

I used to hate the counselors at these summer wrestling camps. They were jerks who just showed up to yell at us and make our lives miserable. “What a great life they must have!” That’s what I thought. I imagined them playing video games and eating candy bars and the strolling to practice and cracking jokes about how much they were going to beat us up. Then, I became a counselor.

After I graduated high school, I worked as a counselor at intensive camps for 7 years straight. That’s when I realized that counselors and coaches had it way harder than the campers. For starters, they did all the same workouts that the campers did plus extra counselor-only workouts. And they didn’t sleep in between practices—they prepared workout plans and motivational speeches.

It’s easy in life to think that getting to the next level is going to make everything fall into place. You might think, “If I could just arrive, life would be a cakewalk.” Wrong. The next level is always harder and more time consuming. Too many people work insanely hard at something they hate to get promoted to a position that requires them to work even harder at something they hate more. Enjoy where you are now. Keep moving forward but realize that there is no arrival. There’s just right now.

19. Silence is way scarier than someone yelling at you.

A lot of counselors would bark at campers nonstop. They would yell and yell and yell until their voices gave out. I was one of those counselors. The problem was that, over time, the campers stopped paying attention to the yellers. They became desensitized. The counselors who always got respect, on the other hand, were those who were silent. These counselors would lose their cool on purpose only once or twice during camp and then never have to say anything again to get the campers’ attention.

Barking orders is like crying wolf. Eventually, people will stop listening. Choose your battles wisely. Everything can’t be an emergency. When it’s time to fight, go all in. Otherwise, stay silent.

20. You always have more gas in the tank—always.

It’s amazing how strong the mind is compared to the body. During one of the Washington Intensive camps we were woken up in the middle of the night to do the annual midnight run. We woke up, ran up a mountain, looked over the city, and then went back to bed. But then something different happened. Right as we fell back asleep, the counselors banged on our doors again to wake us up. Yes. They woke us up again.

I remember being completely confused, like I was dreaming but not really dreaming. The counselors lined us up again and then took us out onto the University’s football field. Then they told us that we were going to workout of the rest of the night—”Until the sun comes up over those mountains.” We did sprints on the track, ran stairs, did bear crawls and buddy-carries, pummeling, live matches in the grass, on and on. From 2am to 6am we trained. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I remember being so tired that I couldn’t even stand up. I’d fall down and stay down and then a counselor would pull to my feet and I’d keep going. Finally, the sun came up over the mountains and we were sent back to bed. I still can’t believe I made it through that night.

There’s no limit to what your body can do. It’s your mind that you have to convince. You might need help or more knowledge or more motivation, but there are no limits. Once you realize this—once you know that there’s always more gas in the tank—you’ll start taking on more risks. You’ll push yourself harder and harder because you’ll know that you always have more to give.

21. Success is the result of holding everything together perfectly and all at once.

A lot of wrestlers would go to an intensive camp, make it through, and think “I’ve made it.” So, they’d stop training for the rest of the summer and even take it easy during next season’s practices. Then, once competition started, they’d lose like they did before and wonder why.

Nothing happens automatically. Just because you make it to a new level, doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to stay at that next level. As soon as you let go—as soon as you stop growing—you’re going to go backwards.

People get dull by default. If you’re not sharpening yourself, you’re blunting yourself. Greatness is one big puzzle. The only way to experience the full picture is to find every piece, put it perfectly in place, and keep all the pieces together. If one piece falls out of place, everything will crumble.

22. People lie about who they are but they can’t lie about who they hang out with.

A lot of wrestlers would kiss up to the coaches and counselors, telling them all about how hard they’re going to work, how much they love wrestling, on and on. Then they would go hang out with the laziest wrestlers at camp. As soon as their lazy friends quit, they quit. If you want to know who someone is, look at who they hangout with. If you want to know who you are, look at the people you hang out with. Everyone becomes the average of the five people they hang out with the most.

23. Find a way to get the job done because results are all that matter.

All of the J. Rob. camps I went to worked on a point system. You got a certain number of point for every practice you went to and you lost points for any practice you missed, no matter the reason. You could earn more points by getting a “positive” at the end of a practice or you could lose more points by getting a “negative.” If you lost too many points, you didn’t graduate. It didn’t matter if you got injured, got sick, became dehydrated and were held out of practice by a doctor—whatever. Either you had enough points to graduate or you didn’t. The end.

I used to think this was unfair. How could you not let a kid graduate if they got sick or were held out by a doctor? It seemed cruel. But now I realize that being in this environment was the best thing to ever happen to me. Life isn’t fair. When it comes to anything, you either get the right result or you don’t. Most people spend their lives trying to ignore this fact but it’s always there. A is A and B is B. Success requires no explanations. Failure permits no alibis. The sooner you accept this, the better off and more free your life will be. You’ll be free because you’ll have taken responsibility for your own life and where you are in it. Now, you can move forward and accomplish anything.

Which of the above lessons have you learned in your life? How did you learn them? 

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