Friday, March 14, 2014

The Power of Choices: Grappling with Choices

By Daniel Kelly

      Every single person reading this article is probably thinking:  "Yeah yeah...good choices lead to good results and poor choices lead to poor results."  Is it that simple, conceptually speaking?  Yes.  Is it black and white in real life?  Absolutely not.  Some people reading this may think:  "You are wrong because sometimes you can make a good choice that leads to a bad result!"  Well, those people are actually correct in their thinking because the bad result more than likely derived from making the choice to adopt a negative attitude and or approach following the uncontrollable end result of a good choice that was made.  Sometimes we make good choices that bring poor outcomes.  Unfortunately, this is a part of life.  Those who cannot swallow this concept will always struggle.  Not accepting this reality can lead these types of individuals to failure in athletics, careers, and personal relationships at every level.  Many wise people have said throughout the course of human history that it is not our successes that define us as individuals, but it is how we overcome our failures.  It all comes down to the basic fundamental decision-making methodologies that we utilize every minute of each and every day of our lives.

I equate my preceding introductory paragraph to wrestling in the following way.  There are wrestlers who do not truly listen to a coach during drills involving basic technique and the fundamentals of wrestling.  We all know at least one of this type of wrestler: thy self.  It is the wrestler who trains hard perhaps; completes the runs, does the physical work involving weightlifting, and even diets properly.  Anyone who knows the sport of wrestling knows this:  Wrestlers who are not true technicians will never win a major title in the sport.  No matter how far a wrestler will progress in the sport, it all goes back to the basic fundamentals of the sport in the end.  Everyone from Jordan Oliver to Dan Gable will tell you the same thing.  As complex as some people attempt to make it, it is not rocket science.  The reality is that anything good in life that brings happiness, success, and pride does not come easy.  There are typically no shortcuts in achieving greatness, and the lucky ones who achieve greatness by putting in less effort are few and far between.  Many of times it simply comes down to acknowledging that the poor choices are the easy road taken, and the good choices come with sacrifice at some level.

One area that many younger people struggle with is assessing risk when making choices at any level.  I have taken advice from various mentors that have guided me in wrestling, business, engineering, music, and my personal life to develop my own way in evaluating the impact of each choice that I make.  I could go on for pages and pages about this,  but instead I have chosen to sum it up very simply by asking anyone reading this article to consider the following analogies.

Making poor choices the majority of the time will make a person feel as if he or she is pushing a boulder up a mountain.  Keep in mind, in order to maintain realism throughout this example, that no one can push a boulder up a mountain.  Perhaps a person can merely hold the boulder in a stagnant position and prevent it from rolling back over and crushing him or her, but only for a period of time.  The boulder stays in a stagnant position, as will his or her progression in life.  Unfortunately regression is inevitable if he or she does not cease from exhibiting the poor decision-making.  Eventually he or she will not be able to hold the weight of the boulder any longer, and he or she will be crushed by the boulder.

Making good choices the majority of the time will make a person feel as if he or she gains momentum in the way that a boulder would when rolling down a mountain.  Of course this takes a lot of hard work and sweat to get the momentum going.  As one can imagine, applying the pressure to cause the boulder to roll the first few feet would be quite difficult.  Once you get in the habit of making good decisions it will become easier as time goes on, just as it becomes easy to keep the boulder rolling down the hill (it takes no effort).  Making good decisions becomes a lifestyle, just as making poor decisions can become a lifestyle.

In the sport of wrestling, as in life, it is all about the system.  The best wrestlers typically have the best coaching, on and off the mat.  Is it because the coaches are the best wrestlers?  No.  It is all about the system that they have adopted to help them make the good choices that lead them down the righteous path.  Does making the right choices always guarantee a good outcome?  No.  Does making the good choices result in a good outcome the majority of the time?  Yes.  One may suffer losses, but he or she will have a winning record in life.