WIN ARTICLE #125 Dealing with Impossible Demands
Dealing with Impossible Demands by Ben Peterson
There are days we all face challenges that can greatly discourage and even bury us. How we face these tough even impossible situations makes a huge difference. Wrestlers face such things, so lets discuss practical ways to deal with our impossible challenges, like an undefeated opponent. This thinking helped drive me to the heights of Olympic wrestling as well as each day through life. Some have told me my thinking came from my rural American background. But this positive thinking can be seen and developed anywhere. Take note of 3 elements:
I. Responsibility –
For anyone to deal with life they must handle the responsibilities of life. To the farmers I watched while growing up it was often like a game, a tough game but nonetheless a game. In some ways they saw it as an enjoyable, winnable, challenging competition.
Cows had to be milked two times a day. Fields had to be prepared and planted. Patience and waiting was needed as the crops grew. Harvest was intense and timely to get the best and most crops. Preparing for cold and bleak winters is serious business in northern Wisconsin.
I saw the results of taking responsibility and I also saw the results when we avoided responsibility. Things failed. It was a matter of time for me to see this and transfer it to my high school studies and my senior year of wrestling. I remember taking full control of my wrestling season. Lifting, running, weight, sleeping, technique, and more, I took full responsibility of all aspects of preparing for state level competition. I love to see young men do the same today.
II. Privilege and Opportunity –
A child is given privileges. They need help, they can’t do everything themselves. Then as they develop they find opportunities. I clearly remember seeing privileges given to me as a child when I was unable to carry out responsibilities older brothers had to do. A middle school broken leg clearly taught me that a second time as our family came to my aid.
But then opportunities develop. First they are small but as we use them they grow. Opportunities usually start slowly and small but than get bigger if we prove worthy of them. Coaches love seeing us win and prove we can go against tougher competition in bigger events. As we prove ourselves and gain confidence in ourselves and others gain confidence in us they can help open even more opportunities.
As an American I see such a contrast in our privilege and opportunity compared to the third world counties of poverty, the control shackles of communism and socialism and the suppression of dictator leadership. We have so many more opportunities than almost any other country. The privileges of America have motivated me greatly throughout my life. I love to see wrestlers use their opportunities and stretch themselves further and further while straining to see how far they can go in a wrestling event. You can do the same!
III. Thankfulness –
As a middle school boy I learned to appreciate my family and church community. I understood what Jesus Christ had provided for me. Gratefulness has grown as I have learned more about Him.
Thankfulness coming out of privilege and opportunity, no matter how small, can be great motivators to complete our responsibilities. But if we wait to carry out responsibilities until we see privileges, we may never fully experience bigger opportunities. Daily faithfully carrying out our responsibilities causes others to have greater confidence in us.
We may also miss many opportunities because we are unsure and avoid them. As a coach I see this all the time. We may avoid the best opportunities in a match, a class, or in our career because we did not build confidence while carrying out earlier responsibilities.
From the beginning America has run best when we as a people have taken on responsibilities and then used the privileges and opportunities to care for our own families. When thankfulness, and not just a tax break, drives us to be generous we are always better.
Patriotism and loyalty that develops out of a grateful American heart is a glorious thing. And the privilege of being responsible for myself and my family is unique in America. Our founding fathers envisioned us as caring for ourselves without the limitations and shackles of government control. It has been a continual battle for the American people to keep government limited, but when we have succeeded, we the people are always better off. My personal belief is that America works best not with programs that provide something for us as Americans, but when we are given the freedom to care fully for ourselves. And that is the thinking that wrestlers need. No handouts or free wins, just the opportunity to prepare, stretch ourselves on the mat, and find ways to score points and win.
My 16 years as a competitor and 36+ years as a coach have always worked best with these 3 elements strong and working together. Balance these 3 elements in all aspects of life and you will be happier and more successful.
1. Don’t short-circuit your privileges by avoiding responsibilities. Maximize your privileges by carrying out responsibilities.
2. Don’t limit your joy by avoiding opportunities. Maximize your joy by wisely using your opportunities.
3. Don’t limit your motivation by ignoring all the blessings you have received or maybe need to fully accept yet. Maximize your motivation by always being grateful!!
A diligent heart willing to face responsibilities will be ready to use opportunities that are driven by a grateful heart.