It’s crazy how belief in yourself really is the true defining factor in all of success. I was just watching a video of pro skateboarders doing challenges related to skating while simultaneously doing traditional ball and stick sports and these guys were accomplishing some incredible shit, let me tell ya. It really just got me thinking about how quitting something is truly the only way to not accomplish something, and how many different ways this scene plays out.
In the show “King of the Road”, professional skateboarders, assembled with their respective sponsored team, go out on the road across the country with a list of challenges to accomplish. One of the challenges I witnessed was they had to shoot a half court shot while doing a “360 flip” on their skateboard. Literally, land this incredibly difficult trick and make a super far shot with a basketball. From the first shot they showed him take, it looked as if this would be an impossible task. Doing two separate things that, on their own, would cause most of the people on this planet to quit before succeeding. Someone had to do both of these simultaneously, which makes the challenge EXPONENTIALLY more difficult. However, the man who got the job done, was none other than Nyjah Huston. This man is the best skateboarder on the planet. What’s generated his success is his ability to never give up and always believe he can get whatever he wants accomplished, no matter if it’s grinding massive rails in the streets or beating this incredible challenge. This was played out over the course of the shots they showed him taking where he was progressively getting closer and closer to landing the trick and making the shot. He started out and by the first couple attempts you would’ve thought this was truly impossible. Nyjah never got discouraged though, he just kept trying and changing his approach and trying again and then he finally saw that ball go through the hoop and his feet land on the board and they won the challenge. They didn’t show anyone from the opposite team do this challenge so I’m going to assume that they tried to do it but couldn’t get close and they gave up. Nyjah never gave up, despite how poorly the first few tries were, he recognized the little improvements in the task each try and knew that after enough tries he would have to do it. This belief, without that sense of doubt when things weren’t looking so positive for the outcome, is a powerful tool for anyone that truly trusts their ability to work through the rough spots in any journey and get shit done.
This Isn’t as easy as Nyjah makes it out to be though. This process is played out in every person in the world throughout every day. Some people have done certain things enough times to where they have zero doubt in their ability to do it. They may have had doubt in the beginning, but through repetitions over time, their doubt faded, and their confidence rose, and the activity became almost second nature. To get to that point though, you have to really want to do something. People are able to more easily exhibit this when it’s what they have to do to get money, but are less likely when it comes to learning a new language or an instrument. If you told me I would get paid to learn the guitar, I wouldn’t care how much time I was spending on it, failing to put together quality music, because I was getting paid. Same thing goes for people learning skilled trades; It may be a difficult thing to do, but because the learning results in a financial gain in the end, there is a larger motivation to fight through the failure and just keep improving. When you get a job and are forced to show up every day, there’s no choice but to get better at whatever it is you’re doing. On the other hand, when we’re writing a book that we won’t get paid for until people actually purchase the finished product, it’s easy to not believe in your ability to finish an ENTIRE book, so you just give up. However, if we cultivate the toughness to fight through that forest of doubt on our journey to achieving our goals, and recognize the small improvements in the process, we will be able to realize any dream we have.
Every process grows incrementally. We won’t see the plants in our garden growing 50% in a couple days; the growth happens in small pieces over time, resulting in massive changes, given proper duration. When I am injured and looking to get better, having the belief I can get better helps my peace of mind through this journey of healing. Every day I run myself through a series of movements to determine if I’ve made an improvement. Even if it’s the slightest change in doing something that hurt the day before and now hurts less, I try to take that as a positive and allow that to propel my momentum forward in the healing/improvement process. Whereas if I was just focused on the negative and thinking I wasn’t going to get better, I wouldn’t be focused on the little improvements I’ve made since the day before and maybe put less focus into the next days treatment and extended the length of my injury, rather than shortened it. When I was really focused on improving my ability to play basketball, a few years ago, I would make sure that even if I lost a game, If I gave my best effort, than I would try to remember the positive things I did in the game, rather than only focus on the fact that the team lost. Recognizing these little victories and improvements through the process of achieving goals, is paramount to our belief over the long term, and ultimately our success. Recognizing the growth process is natural, will allow us to be more calm when things aren’t looking so great, because we’ll realize that it’s all apart of the process of growth.
Believing in a successful mission effort not only is seen through the lens of accomplishing a long term goal as well as in little challenges and tasks, but it is really witnessed in preparation; particularly in sports. Everybody wants to win, but not everyone wants to prepare to win. Credit to Bob Knight for that quote. In sports, there is direct resistance in your efforts to accomplish a goal. When we’re playing basketball, the defense is stopping us from getting the ball in the hoop. Therefore, we have to be better at offense, than the other team is at defense, to score on them more than they can stop us. For this to result, we also have to practice and train harder and more intently than the opponent. With the amount of people on the planet that play basketball, and the talent level across the globe, we really need to focus all our energy on being a better basketball player so that when the game comes, no matter who we’re playing we know we did all we possibly could to play our best. This will result in a confidence and belief in our ability to score on our defender and stop them, so that, ultimately our belief is stronger than theirs and our score is bigger as a by-product. If we didn’t believe in our self, we wouldn’t be as motivated to spend the time training and practicing and preparing for competition so that when time to compete with your opponent comes around, their preparation plays out in the game and they beat you which causes us to lose more belief and continue the cycle of doubt until we either get better and start believing, quit, or just get lost in the sea of people around you getting better and end up losing all playing time. The one thing that will keep us from losing that confidence and motivation to prepare is the belief we have in our ability to keep improving. We don’t truly know how much we can accomplish unless we keep improving.
Sometimes, all it takes is one big loss or negative event to ruin a person’s belief to where they are never the same again. Tiger Woods used to be on top of the world; a young, rich, dominant athlete with the world at his fingers. Then it all came crashing down in front of him. Tiger got caught up in relationship woes and people found out about him and his off the course sexual habits and the media took it and ran with it and Tiger took a hit as a result. Side note: This wouldn’t have been a big deal if he wasn’t married, but he was and then it became a “cheating” thing instead of just a “having fun” thing. As a result, Tiger was perceived completely differently be the world, he even lost a bunch of his major sponsors due to public perception of him negatively impacting companies public brand perception. All of this negatively impacted Tiger’s performance on the golf course. He went from being one of the best golfers in the world to dropping heavily in the world rankings. A Subsequent series of physical ailments and injuries caused Tiger to be forced away from the game for a large portion of time. When he returned to golf after significant time off, he was obviously not at the top of his game, but his competence in how he handles the coming failures on the course, would determine if he were able to get back to old Tiger form. From around 2009-2010 when the initial media storm hit about Tiger woods sex scandal, until now, 2018, Tiger hasn’t really shown his strongest stuff yet on the course. Until last weekend, August 12, 2018, At the PGA Championships in St.Louis, Missouri, when the whole world got to see a vintage Tiger Woods golf performance. The crowd was electric, the Internet was buzzing, and Tiger looked great. Tiger has to relearn how to win, he has to believe every shot he hits is going to be better than the last and that he is only getting better. This whole scandal and time away from the game could potentially make Tiger a better golfer, if he allows himself to stay confident and believe in himself. Sometimes, you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone, and maybe Tiger just forgot about the belief in himself he used to have, and now that he’s almost got it back, look out PGA.
Whether we’re fixing a broken gadget at home, or trying to win a Superbowl, our ability to believe in ourselves whether in the short term, or the long term, will propel anyone who uses the immense power of belief to great heights. If you believe, you can achieve, just keep improving.