Thinking a lot about the sport of wrestling lately. It’s a topic that comes to mind often for me, truth be told.
Though I only wrestled for six years, the sport had a profound and lasting affect on who I am. Clearly that must be the case, because more than three decades on, my heart still quickens when I think about the time I spent rolling on the mat, near and far.
At the core, I learned a lot about mental toughness while I wrestled. I learned what it was, I worked to strengthen that trait in myself. It was personal test every time you hit the mat. Learning to push yourself further and further, to never give up, to keep going.
Sure I learned a lot of moves, learned and developed my physical conditioning, but most important for me, the thing that stayed with me above everything else, was the concept of and goal to maximize my mental toughness.
The wrestler learns not to panic under stressful situations – i.e. when your opponent is trying to wrench on one of your limbs, or grinding at your face. You develop an ability to think and act while in uncomfortable situations.
How does that carry forward?
Throughout life we have times when are down and getting grinder on. Plenty of struggle and failure lurk, waiting to take us down.
The key is in the response: when you go down, GET BACK UP.
My heart quickens now when I think about all those hours of practice and matches and struggles, but not because I’m reliving my wrestling years. Rather, it’s because I’m still trying to be mentally tough during difficult times. And more important for me now as a parent, it’s because I want to teach my kids to be strong, to persevere, to never give up but rather, to get back up.
And I know in the end it’s up to each of them to learn these lessons.
GET BACK UP. Stay after it.