It has been over a quarter century since I graduated high school, yet a few of those experiences seem permanently ingrained in me.  I still have nightmares about writing Chemistry lab reports. I also can still hear my cross-country coach, Joe Newton’s voice clearly in my head.  At that time Coach Newton was 65 years old, and even more “old school” than old. Despite having one of the greatest winning records of all time (28 State titles), his real passion was raising young men of character.  Today I am reminded of one phrase he always loved to tell us, “Adversity makes the man!”

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I would characterize Manic Training as hard.  There is plenty of adversity that we all encounter just trying to get to the end of the hour. For many of us there is a great deal of adversity just getting to the gym, even when we really want to make it.  Even when we practice exercising in the safest possible ways , we are at some point going to face the adversity of an injury. Life happens, work happens, vacations, illness, and many other forms of adversity will step in to try and sideline your progress and momentum.  I can attest that everyone I have seen achieve the great benefits of Manic Training have persevered through such adversity.  So how is it that some people can persevere while others succumb and resign themselves to thoughts of “I tried” or “It’s not meant to be”?  After talking to many of you in person, I have compiled some thoughts for you all.

Winners have a clear understanding of their purpose.  They keep the notion of what they are working for and why in the forefront of their minds.  When things start to get difficult they are able to understand that this moment will pass and the rewards will be worth it.  Those that do not know their “why” will inevitably quit.  

-What is your “why”?

Winners believe that their hard work will bring them the results they seek.  They are able to delay gratification and see themselves as worthy of receiving the great rewards that lie ahead.  Some people see others achieving their goals and think that those people are somehow better or different than themselves.  Those that feel unworthy of success will use an obstacle or setback as justification for the belief that they should just give up. 

Are you worthy of having the life of your dreams?

Winners seek out opportunities to test their limits.  There is no failure other than the failure to give your very best.  Those that live in fear of failure often give up long before real progress can be made.  Fear of failure is tied to fear of judgment. At Manic, and in life, people are not near as concerned about you as you think.  Everyone is in their own head doing whatever they can to survive.  

-Are you brave enough to do your best and let go of the judgments of yourself or others?

Winners understand that today’s efforts are part of a continuum of incremental progress towards betterment.  Your best effort today is going to be different then your best effort yesterday or tomorrow, but your commitment and consistency will be rewarded in the long run.  Perfectionism is linked with all-or-nothing thinking and leads to the unravelling of progress once any bit of adversity is experienced.  

-Are you willing to give your best today and accept the results as they are?

Self esteem and self confidence are the byproduct of directed action.  Winners establish core values and principles that they can rely on to help direct their actions independent of their conditions.  Esteemable acts breed more confidence and self esteem, providing the winner with the inner resolve to champion forth through challenging times.  –What are the core values and principles you will not compromise?

Winners strive for greatness, but thrive through humility and realism.  Few things can derail progress quite like false beliefs and expectations.  Working towards a goal, expecting that it can be done, is quite different than demanding success.  While winners do set goals that are measurable and time sensitive, they understand that the journey and the process are truly rewards in and of  themselves. Hard work and dedication will always yield results. Taking a realistic appraisal of how the needle has moved on one’s journey is imperative to staying the course during adverse times.  

-What are your expectations for yourself?

The last piece that I am absolutely certain about is that positive people live with an attitude of gratitude.  Everyone has the opportunity to choose their own perspective.  It truly is up to you whether or not you choose to focus on the blessings you have been given or your demands that have not been met.  Some days it is most certainly harder than others to stay in gratitude, but make no mistake, it is a choice that you get to make. Another one of Coach Newton’s favorite phrases was, “Talent doesn’t mead D!@k!  Attitude means D!@k!” (I told you he was “old-school”)… Here are 29 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.  

-What are you grateful for?