Mostly, I’ve been able to resist becoming a sports zombie again. The last time I followed a team with any fervor was back when the Giants won 162 games and got shut out of the World Series with a humiliating final-game loss to the Dodgers. After the angst had eaten a hole through my heart, I vowed to never get so emotionally involved in sports anymore.
I still enjoy the occasional big game, and I still love the pageantry and circus atmosphere… but mostly, I am dispassionate about it.
It’s a game.
And yet… sometimes, I just get caught up in it all over again.
Tonight, Monday Night Football, the Arizona Cardinals (1-5) faced the undefeated Chi-town Bears… and inexplicably were up 17-zip well into the second quarter.
The underdog was winning.
And yet… you could see the panic welling up on the Arizona bench. It’s like landing a lucky punch on the big bruiser… and you’re praying he doesn’t get back up, because you don’t feel you have another lucky punch in you.
The game just ended. Perhaps the most humiliating defeat in NFL history. The Cards did choke, and big time. They didn’t deserve the loss.
But they didn’t do what was needed to win, either.
Ah, the metaphors must be flying all over the joint tonight, as the sports writers send in their stories.
Now, I don’t care what happens to Arizona’s season. I really don’t.
But I feel for those guys. I’ve suffered defeat as great and greater, both personally and as part of a team. I know well the sharp, ice-cold pain in their bellies. It won’t go away anytime soon, either.
Losing is one thing. You do your job the best you can, you are faced with struggle and adversary, and somebody’s gotta lose.
But to choke… that’s something else.
That’s the stuff of nightmares for a lifetime.
Sports really is a metaphor for life. And business. Except you aren’t usually playing with an audience dissecting your every move. Unless your failures are truly spectacular, they will be forgotten soon enough.
Listen carefully: There are NO top marketers in the game who have not tasted defeat at some point. In fact, most of the best can curl your hair with tales of disaster and embarrassment and ruin.
Sometimes, even, they choke. Freeze up, do the absolute wrong thing at the wrong time, fumble away a sure victory.
Life isn’t a video game. You don’t get to hit replay when you don’t like where things are going.
A bad (yet accurate) piece of advice I once received comes to mind: Before you decide to marry someone… see how they act when they’re tired, cold, wet, hungry… and lost.
It’s easy to be charming when things are going well. Real character is revealed, however, when things are headed for the compost pile.
I’ve been advising rookies for years how to act to maximize the success arc of their career. There’s a lot resting on your attitude and your mindset. Winners learn to shove negativity into a closet and slam the door shut tight, and keep moving toward the goal no matter what.
But they also learn how to absorb the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
I hope you live your entire life without choking. Without blowing a sure thing, without being leveled by a tsunami of bad luck and nervous fumbling. Without ever visiting that haunted, chilly space where you can’t meet anyone’s eye, and everything you are and have striven to be is suddenly in doubt.
But if you do choke, I hope you see it for what it is: A very common human experience that doesn’t have to scar you for life.
There are 3 kinds of people in this world: (1) Those who avoid taking any risk at all, and never go after their dream. (2) Those who get after it, but who get stumped by failure and adversary. And…
(3) Those who just dive into the feast and start chewing. Each success and each failure come laden with lessons, and they learn them all.
These “learners” may choke. But they won’t choke twice.
And they’re able to laugh about the time they did. Because every part of this life-long human drama you’re in is just another act in a play that ends only with the final curtain.
The choke is just a plot point. It’s how you react in the next act that counts.
You won’t learn anything about yourself by ignoring reality, or going into denial. You’ll squander amazing chunks of life if you wallow in your agony. And if you allow the crazed vicissitudes of whatever game or business you’re in to define you… you’ll lose your taste for risk, and poison your victories.
Never going for it will not guarantee you a life without pain… and pretty much assigns you a load of remorse. Going for it, but letting the bastards get you down, robs you of life’s true adventure — the endless, completely unpredictable arc of experience that only you are in a position to enjoy. Or ruin, with your negativity.
It can be lonely, when you refuse to give in, and refuse to stop pushing for more. The private tragedies and dramas of everyone around you makes them yearn for company in their misery. They feel comfort in your defeat, and justification for their own reluctance to join the feast.
And guess what? The winners learn to create a cozy corner inside their loneliness. Sooner or later, they will find what they seek, and the loneliness can end anytime they choose. The best use the occasional reclusive moment, though, to gather their wits and think the Big Thoughts.
Because the curtain will rise again… even if they have to pull the rope themselves.
Choking sucks. Don’t get me wrong.
But so does heartache and sickness and reversal of fortune.
Dust yourself off, learn your lesson… and when you’ve caught your breath, get back in the game.
Hey — when you look at it the right way, you’ve got a great story to tell here. And, until that final exit stage right, you’ve got a chance to adjust the way the rest of the script comes out.
Watching someone choke curdles our gut because we intuitively know how easy it is to choke. Playing with the big boys is hard, whether it’s sports or business or life… and there are cruel consequences waiting at every turn.
Arm yourself with allies, friends, back-up and resources… and if you never have to use them to get yourself out of a jam, then you’ve led a lucky life.
Chances are, though, you’ll need them a lot if you’re gonna push hard to attain big things.
P.S. I’m in the process of setting up a mentoring program. It is NOT your imagination that things are moving faster and faster, both online and in real-time — the entire world is lurching through one crossroad after another, and the opportunity to live a good life may pass you by in a wink.
Unless you grab it.
I’ll be giving my subscribers and other customers first shot at this new program, which will be limited and — drum-roll, please — easily the most exciting period of change you’ll ever experience.
All the wealthy, happy veterans I hang out with admit that the greatest time they had was during the “moment of truth”, when they finally wrangled a seat at the feast that life offers. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you haven’t experienced it yet — because when you do experience it, you’ll know exactly what it’s all about.
You can get basic knowledge about business and living well anywhere. But it won’t do you much good until you can apply that knowledge. For most folks, that takes a guide.
I’m not gonna pitch you here about this new program. You’ll hear about it when it happens (very soon now).
But if you’ve been dicking around, and not partaking of the wealth of material I offer (especially the Insider’s Club, which has been the engine of change for many of the top players now operating online)… well, you may be in dire need of a robust kick in the butt.
That’s what I do.
I kicked myself into high gear long ago — and boy, I was a mess at the time, too — and I learned every damn lesson life threw my way.
If you haven’t been to www.marketingrebel.com… and especially if you have refused to come aboard and see what all the fuss is about… then do so now.
The coming year is gonna be a doozy, online, offline, everywhere.
Time to get your game on. Time to stuff your Bag of Tricks with all the best resources you can muster, and build up your network with the amazing advice and mentorship available here.
The wildest ride of your life awaits. In fact, your life is getting damned impatient, waiting for you to make your move.
Here’s the link: www.marketingrebel.com
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I need a kick in the ass John! Sign me up!
Is that a chance to mentor with you one on one?
The infamous “Hot Seat”?
I would certainly like to be a part of that.
Choking – We all do it…
I choke occasionally, Many moons ago I rana? sports information company that supplied information to sports teams, TV, and serious punters (Aussie for a gambler – The UK version of the word is slightly more risque)
We ran a “paper…
The Cardinals will win a championship when hell freezes over.
That franchise was doomed from the start.
I guess at least they found the chinks in the Bears armor.
Now the Bears are VERY beatable.
And they WILL get beat.
NFL aside, you cannot ever give up on your dreams.
You only have one life on this place, so you better use all of your talents to live your dreams and goals.
If you don’t, you’re only hurting yourself.
And that is pretty sad…
…great article John, very inspiring!
A great book comes to mind that I read recently about dealing with our negativity, especially in our thinking. I thought I’d recommend it to folks here if that’s ok, it’s called “The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking” by John Hansard. I think it really can help people to set aside their negative thinking and “go for it!”
Kind Regards to All,
Speaking of choking, I’ve experienced it many times. You’ve just gotta get back up and keep going. It’s not how many times you fall down that counts, but how many times you stand back up again.
I’m already an Insider, and love your stuff. Excited to hear about the mentoring program. I think I could use that about now… to take my game to the next level.