“If you start doing things for the sake of selling up front, for rewards, then it’s going to catch up with you. The other guys not chasing money are going to outdo you in the end, because real innovation and grit come from loving the process.”
Today my cousin’s son, Jacob, finds out the results of a summer’s worth of soccer practices; does he make the junior varsity team? He has been told by his team mates he was not good enough. He was told he wouldn’t make it. He practiced, suffered, endured, and improved in spite of their discouraging words. Jacob will make the team or not today, and in some cases it is not because he is the best on the field. Other factors, unfortunately, play into the decision. Not to disparage the coaches, but choosing the right players for a team must not be an easy feat. I do not envy the power to make a player’s year while crushing the spirits of another. Jacob, your work on the field is not about the reward of making the team. What you have learned about yourself and your family this summer as you struggled for something difficult- that process, that grit, that determination is your true reward. Regardless of the result, you are not truly measured by outward measured but by those inside.
Rodney Mullen’s quote above comes from a Wired Magazine article on Mullen by Brenden Koerner (@brendan-koerner). Brenden highlights Mullen’s innovation and grit in his desire to make himself better. Mullen noted that much of his truest lessons in life come from his failures, not from his success. Check out his Pop! Tech talk, Getting Back Up.
I recently have started taking students on international travel trips. When travelling with a group of thirty students something is bound to go wrong. You will make wrong turns; get pickpocketed; get nabbed 33 euro a head on the Paris subway (yup); get a terrible bus driver in Munich. But, in all these lesson, the final destination is not the goal. While frustrated beyond belief about some of the wrong turns and diversions on our most recent trip, I remembered to keep my cool. The journey was more important than the destination. If I was a sulky, mad, brooding tour leader, our trip would been miserable though all the destinations would have been the same.
Life is not about the destination but about the journey. Love the journey.
Life is wonderful when the journey leads you where you want to go. Often the unexpected twists and turns bring you to new valleys of opportunity not on you map. Remain open to all these new opportunities. Your life will be better because of them.
Best of luck, Jacob, and all those competing for a spot on a fall sports team. You will not be defined by the results this week; you are defined by how you handle the grit and determination on your journey.