Do you choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?
I had an opportunity to speak to a high school wrestling program, and wanted to share the message that I delivered to these athletes. The theme of the message was, “Do you choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?” Allow me to digress. As a former high school wrestling coach, as well as high school and collegiate wrestling official, it became obvious to me that those wrestlers that performed successfully at the highest level (whether high school, college, or Olympic qualified) all shared one common trait. They understood that their success on the mat was solely dependent on discipline: the discipline to train, condition, and sacrifice at a level that would assure them that they never walk off the mat (victorious or not) experiencing the “pain of regret”. My message to those athletes was simple. That decision will not only define you as a wrestler this season and beyond, but it will define you as the person you will be for the rest of your lives!
My love for the sport of wrestling is very straight forward. It is a microcosm of how all of us live our lives. Are we committed to be the best that we can be every hour of every day, every day of every month, every month of every year for the rest of our lives? If we are then we must follow the advice of William Ian Graves, “Winners do things they don’t like to do, average people follow their natural likes and preferences.” It’s simply called discipline! Amateur wrestling adopted a tradition a number of years ago that when they retire from their sport, they leave their shoes in the middle of the mat. Some of you may remember the Olympics when Rhulon Gardner, who had defeated the world champion Russian in the preceding Olympics, won third in the bronze medal round, walked off the mat with tears streaming down his face and his shoes in the middle of the mat! I am fond at asking audiences when I speak, where are your shoes going to be when you leave this earth? If you choose the pain of discipline over the pain of regret, I promise you the last five words out of your mouth will not be “I wish I would have.”