|Jimmy with the champion Kayla Harrison (Image courtesy of https://www.nbcolympics.com)|
Listening to an episode of the podcast “Take It Uneasy” with judo athlete (medalling at the worlds and the Olympics), coach (Kayla Harrison, Travis Stevens...etc) and author (Grip Like A World Champion) Mr Jimmy Pedro, I loved how often he referenced loss as a teacher and not just in the traditional way. He started the podcast talking about his relationship with his first coach, his dad. He mentioned how demanding his father was, and kind of quickly mentioned under his breath that when his father sent him to train with champions and Uber-coaches of that time, one of the reasons was for Jimmy to see these champions fail and observe how they dealt with that. “They’re just human. They fall but they get back up!”
He later on talks about attending his first US OPEN where he competed against “men” (Jimmy was a teenager then). His exact words are:
“I had a great day. I lost against...”
That’s how he chose to start describing his experience at the US OPEN.
“I had a great day” + “I lost ...”
Don’t misunderstand, Jimmy is a very competitive man and I have no doubt that he went in there to win, but as a man now, he looks back at that experience as a fantastic learning opportunity. Here’s the 2nd part of the quote:
“I had a great day. I lost against Eddie who took 3rd in the Olympics in 84 and then I battled back and ...”
That short segment alone to me was invaluable because of both content and context. So often we hear about how to become a lion you need to train with lions and how steel sharpens steel and As a teacher I have always known that these two statements are flawed. We like them because they sound ... easy. If you want to succeed, well you just need to surround yourself with successful people and while there’s some truth to that, it’s not as simple as that. And no amount of spending time with lions will EVER make you a lion. It might make you a lion’s lunch, but never a lion.
Jimmy’s (and by extension, his father’s) views on why training with champions helps you see how they deal with defeat is far more valuable than blind hero worship or some weird notion that aimlessly being through the grind somehow magically sharpens you (operative word being “aimlessly”).
“Really what makes champions is... suck it up, learn from the loss. Dig deeper. Get better. Re-motivate yourself and become a champion. I think that was my mindset throughout my whole career”
I strongly recommend listening to that podcast multiple times and putting Jimmy’s valuable advice to use.
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!
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