Denial is NOT a River in Egypt - by Ron Wolforth
I wish I had a dime for every young athlete who complained to me about working hard and yet… is underachieving in some way… velocity, command, pain/recovery/durability, and/or consistency, etc.
They are frustrated. They are discouraged. They are sad. They are melancholy. They are despondent. They are at their wits end.
Coach Gary Ward referred to it as the ‘ain’t it awful’ mindset.
We’ve all been there. Most of us with maturity, experience and perspective move on from what I refer to as the ‘spoiled child syndrome’.
Some of us never graduated from there. I have a family member who is like that. She is exhausting.
Not too long ago I listened to Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell discuss this phenomena of complaining and his response was “compared to what?”. I thought his response was both genius and instructive.
The major problem I see with my young athletes succumbing to the ‘ain’t it awful’ mindset is that almost always the primary reason they are stuck or underachieving is because they are in denial about SOMETHING.
They gloss over, deny or ignore some flaw or shortcoming they have. Their thinking almost has to be: “If I simply don’t give this shortcoming credence…THEN somehow… some way… it will magically go away or cease to have or be in effect.”
Sometimes this denial is primarily the belief that skill development in and of itself is somehow faster, easier, and simpler than it actually is.
Regardless… this is still ‘denial’. And denial… if held onto long enough, almost always comes with a price.
For me personally, this rang especially true not long ago.
For nearly 10 years I had lived with significant pain in my right hip. It negatively affected everything. First, I said it was a lack of flexibility. Next, I labeled it as an imbalance. Then I labeled it as weakness.
After countless friends and family members pleaded with me to get it looked at… my wife and daughter simply intervened and forced an examination.
The result of the examination was that my right hip socket was totally destroyed. The doctor couldn’t believe I could even walk.
I got hip replacement surgery and I was pain free for the first time in years.
The cost of my denial? How about the significant reduction in the quality of my life for 10 years. (In truth, it might have even been more than 10 years). Prior to the surgery, I literally couldn’t recall a time when I didn’t have pain.
Most of us CHOOSE denial because we convince ourselves that the current pain is preferable to the unknown OR to the known where we are clearly incompetent, inadequate or ill-prepared.
I chose to put up with the pain because I thought the problem was my poor mobility and I didn’t want to work hard at improving my flexibility/ mobility. Rather than dealing with the issue head on, I danced around the truth for years. In this specific case, I didn’t choose denial because my fear of the unknown, I chose it because I thought I knew what the problem was and the pain of correction was almost as bad, in my opinion, as the pain itself.
At the Ranch, our teaching tenet which counteracts denial is what we call… “Cultivating the skill of accurate thinking.”
So my question to those that are frustrated, discouraged, underachieving and/or inconsistent in some way… How does this specific issue fit your life?
What in your mindset, habits or behavior could be possibly constraining you? Limiting you?
What first steps or decisions must you make to turn this ship around?
Who are you going to need support from or assistance from to accelerate this change? Have you reached out to them? If not, do so immediately.
What action must you take NOW… today… to change the momentum and begin your break through?
Edison once quipped… “Frustration is a focus on the problem. As soon as you become completely consumed with finding the solution, frustration melts away.”
Every single one of those athletes I talked about initially chose frustration and discouragement in my opinion. It is easy to live in denial and play the victim. Unfortunately, there is very little future in it.
Choose to be the effect! Take charge of your life! Refuse to be the victim. Watch out for behavior which moves towards denial. Learn to cultivate the skill of accurate thinking. Learn to say…compared to what?
**Come take charge of your training with us at any of our available Elite Pitcher’s Boot Camps this Fall!