I had a crush on a wrestler in high school. He was a wrestler and a top, student-athlete. He was one of the first people who showed me, by example, what a disciplined and GUIDED work ethic can do. It can make you the best or very close to it.
The wrestler ran full marathons before he was even 16. He ran to and from school in one of those plastic suits like the Matthew Modine character in Vision Quest. Feck, this wrestler was almost exactly like that character to a “t,” but without the catering job.
When the wrestler wasn’t working out, he studied. The wrestler studied so much that he would fall asleep on his books.
Back when I was in New York, I went to weekly therapy. For ten, consecutive, years, I met with this lovely, caring, and intelligent therapist once a week. I can not say enough good things about her and the influence she has had on my life. I used to talk to this therapist about “achieving” A LOT. One of the biggest things she impressed upon me (when I felt like a failure, mostly) was how much help super-achievers really have. She swore to it. I would argue. I would say, “What about the kid from the projects that makes good and goes to Harvard.” She would answer, “He had help. Somewhere, somehow, someone helped him.”
An article I read recently talked about a common trait that all overachievers possess: COMMUNITY.
Of course, that idea struck a nerve.
When I think about the wrestler, I remember his older brother. The brother was out of high school at the time that I knew him. He had a blue collar, manual job of some type as I remember it. He had been a champion high school wrestler himself. The wrestler’s brother installed a wrestling mat in the basement for his kid brother. He wrestled and coached him all the time. (Mia Hamm, it’s no surprise, also had an older brother who played soccer.) That’s what usually helps. Someone who is slightly better and bigger than you, but who cares. If they focus attention on you, you will improve at a faster rate. The wrestler had a sister. The sister was a bit of a burn-out, but no dummy. She was a senior when I knew her and I got the sense that she felt as if she had squandered her high school years. When she talked about her little brother, she mainly talked about how much he studied. I got the sense that she encouraged him to study to make up for her missed opportunities.
Is it any surprise that the wrestler went to the wrestling finals AND to an ivy league school? No. It is not.
So, why am I bringing this all up? I think it occurs to me that in order to achieve ANYTHING gargantuan in this life – YOU NEED OTHER PEOPLE.
“No man is an island on to himself,” they say.
And every man would starve on that island if he didn’t work with other people AND use his ingenuity, along with their tutelage and expertise, to get food.
I think I’m also realizing that your “community” can come in many different forms. But, you must cultivate it. You must. It can be made up of your friends, your fans, your family, a therapist, a teacher, a coach, a mentor, or a combination of all of the above.
With it, you can achieve lots.
Without it – there’s a ceiling, there’s a literal cap on what you can do.
This is true of everything, as far as I can see. As always, I’d love to know what you think.
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