Throughout your life no matter how privileged you are, how much money you have, how high your GPA is, what kind of car you drive, or how much real estate you own there are always going to be tribulations.
The amount and circumstances of the tribulations that you face will always vary when compared to someone else. But, the way you should react to these tribulations should always be the same. Whenever you are faced with a hardship in life, you should follow the Stockdale Paradox. The Stockdale Paradox is from a book called Good to Great by Jim Collins.
The book is about how eleven good companies turned themselves into great companies as well as comparing them to other good companies that had similar circumstances but failed to become great. The book is talking about companies because the stock market business is easily measurable but in all reality, you can take the topics in this book and relate it to everyday life. In chapter four of the book there’s a topic called the Stockdale Paradox.
He was not the only one who was imprisoned, but he was one of the very few who survived. He stated that the only reason why he survived was his faith and his acceptance of the brutal facts. Stockdale also stated that the people who did not survive were the ones who were too optimistic. Being too optimistic can harm you because when you tell yourself something is going to happen by a specific time and it doesn’t happen then you set yourself up for failure.
To clearly define the Stockdale Paradox, it is maintaining 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.
The past few years I’ve had to use the Stockdale Paradox and didn’t even realize I was using it until I read this chapter. In high school I excelled in athletics. Don’t get me wrong, my grades were also of high quality but athletics was my thing. It’s funny how it worked out because the sport that I was best in, I had never competed in until freshman year of high school. That sport was track and field.
I made varsity outdoor season of freshman year and sophomore year my head track and field coach convinced the head basketball coach to persuade me to not play basketball anymore and run indoor track and field. Fast forward three years and it ended up being one of the best decision’s I’ve made in life. At one time I was a co-national record holder in the Octathlon as well as a three time All American. I got a scholarship to run Division I track and field at Delaware State University.
Although I was a scholarship athlete I was not happy. I made my decision to attend DSU mainly because they gave me the most money, but DSU did not have the adequate facilities nor coaches to make me the best athlete that I could be. I am a decathlete, which means that I have to train for ten different events. Out of those ten events I did not have a coach for six different events. I was promised by the head coach that a new coach was going to be hired, which a coach was but it was not for my events.
My freshman year of college although I placed in the conference for high jump, I sort of went with the flow and just let things happen. My sophomore year I accepted the brutal facts that I wasn’t going to get a coach so I had to do everything in my power to become better. I put in countless hours of extra practice alone after we finished regular practice, extra time in the weight room with the weight training coach, watched videos online, and even recorded myself and attempted to critique what I was doing wrong.
I started to make a list of colleges that I would like to transfer to. My final decision ended up being the school in my home state, Rutgers University. I began emailing the coach at Rutgers and we were in contact for about six months with me sending him results from my season. Towards the middle of May, the coach from Rutgers emailed me and told me that because of a university mandate I would not be able to be apart of the team the upcoming season.
That truth hurt and I was dismayed for a number of weeks, but then I began to have unwavering faith that although I could not be a member of the team my junior year I would become a member my senior and graduate years. I accepted the brutal facts of my reality and knew that I would have to train myself harder than ever before to be given a shot as a senior with only two years of eligibility left.
Currently I am receiving workouts from my high school coach and working out on my own until I am given a shot to make the team. Even though my story is unfinished I still practice the Stockdale Paradox by have unwavering faith that I will not only be apart of the team here at Rutgers but I will also make contributions to the team. I have accepted the brutal facts that it won’t be easy and I need to train myself to compete against the best athletes in the country but it wont be something that I’ve never done before.