I believe time is something most of us take for granted. In the literal sense, time is something that we can never get back, yet most people don’t seem to realize that until they lose something of value. I’m not saying be anxious all the time and worry about what you’re doing every second of the day but just ask yourself, are you making the most out of your time today?
Every day at 5 A.M, my alarm goes off. Half asleep, I force myself out of bed into the bathroom to start preparing for the day ahead. What’s my first task of the day? Well, it’s to go and workout and perfect my craft. For those who may be wondering, my craft is football. It’s a sport I fell in love with fairly late in my life, since I only started playing in high school.
My story is no different than most athletes, I was just a small town kid with big dreams to play at a big Division 1 school then eventually go to the pros. Funny when I look back, I had my entire life planned out up until I made it to the league. Needless to say, things have not gone according to plan. I’m a junior in college, and at this point of my life I was supposed to have declared early for the draft and be on my way to the NFL. Yet it’s my junior year and I have not even been able to play a single down of college football.
I’ve always felt in life that you could achieve anything you wanted in life as long as you put the work in. No matter what it was, if I worked hard enough, I knew I would be able to achieve any goal. The path to playing college ball has been a tough one for me. I have faced my fair share of obstacles. I had to come to Rutgers University and walk on to the team. I tried out and made the team no problem, but yet was not able to play.
I get my priorities straight and try out again. Once again I make the team, and I was just a couple days away from getting my jersey until it was discovered I would need surgery on my shoulder because of a previous injury years ago in high school. The obstacles drained me almost completely. I barely even worked out at this point. My surgery was the turning point in my life.
The Stockdale Paradox: a concept introduced in the Jim Collins book Good to Great, explains that you must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
In a study done by the International Committee for the Study of Victimization, they looked at people who had suffered serious adversity. The results of the study showed that people generally fell into three groups. Those who let the adversity keep them down, those who get their lives back to normal, and those who take that adversity and grow stronger.
The brutal facts of my situation? Well the biggest one is time. I have two years remaining to play college football. The surgery sparked something in me, and helped me realize that the journey will be hard, but I’m completely capable of doing it.
I have to work every day, and I have to work harder than everybody else to achieve my goal. Just like the good-to-great companies, I understand the brutal facts, and I will not hesitate to face them.