All my life as a kid, I was THE fat kid.

People used to call me Chubster. Chubby Webster, webster being the short black actor from the 90′s, because I was short and fat.

taewoo-chubby

Of course, I hated it. I hated the name teasing, even more so, i hated myself for letting myself “go” when everyone in my family was average / fit.

I took that “anger” and instead of beating myself up, I used that energy to better myself.

I remember trying out for high school track and field because I thought:

  • i’ll be fit
  • it’ll look good on my college application
  • girls dig runners

(Ok, #3 turned out to be a TOTAL misconception. Have you ever heard of girls screaming & chasing after runners? Nope, never.)

I remember… on the 3rd tryout (yes… THIRD one in less than 2 years), my coach (whether it was inadvertent or said on purpose) told me…

“Listen, you’re just not cut out for this. You’ve tried your best, and I am glad to see you keep trying. But this is not your thing.”

Imagine a team sport coach telling you and what it does to your psyche.

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That night, i cried all the way home from Bronx to Flushing NY. 2 hours of lonely train ride with people wondering if I got robbed or beaten up.

Of course, I wanted to give up. Sprained ankles, lower back pain, regular muscle spasms, daily runs, gym workouts… why on earth was I doing this when the person I looked up told me I had no potential.

I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. The next 2 days, I didn’t work out, run, or even eat.

Then my grandmother gave me the sweetest words that forever lives inside my heart.

“Why do you care what she thinks? Are you doing this for you or for others?”

That day, i started my most intense workout ever: 5 miles daily run, 2 hours of lifting, and eating nothing but nasty green shake.

Eventually, on my FOURTH tryout, i made the team among the group of 40-50, and came in 4th. 7 min mile cross country style.

Game of Business = Game of Mental Strength

If you’re an entrepreneur, a marketer, or any kind of “dreamer” where you are paid to perform (and perform well) and NEVER for just trying, you know the journey gets tough at times.

That’s when you really have to dig your feet into the ground and say to yourself that it’s possible.

It’s really a MENTAL game that you have to win before you win in the game of business and marketing.

Now imagine if you’re a guy in your retirement age, and you had this vision of entering and completing the US Navy Seal’s training course, which most 19-20 year olds who are the top athletes in the country can’t even finish.

Most (probably even I) would say that it’s impossible.

But is it?

Joe Stumpf, a real estate marketing trainer, did at an age two to three TIMES some of his team members’ age.

willing-warrior

I read his book “The Willing Warrior” and I was so truly inspired.

(Made me even feel bad thinking that I can’t do XYZ because of stupid ABC excuses.)

Here are some of the lessons I got away from Joe’s story on how to train your mind to win:

1) Difference between winner and loser

Winners never quit, and quitters never win.

So what’s the difference between someone who never quits and someone who does?

Simple: they don’t quit.

As stupid as that sounds, that’s the ONLY difference between winning and losing.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, said

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

Now, this is hunky dory and all, when you don’t have anything to worry about, when bills are paid, and there are no troubles.

But what about if you’re broke, 1 bill away from bankruptcy, can’t pay for health insurance (so you just kinda wing it when you get sick), have to move in with your aging parents, and the next “check” is far and in between?

You persevere. Don’t quit. Try something different.

2) 1% to Keep Up, 50% to Catch Up

Joe, when he was running with 19-21 year olds on a 12 mile beach run (which by the way, sounds romantic to some women but is REALLY damn hard), he kept losing pace.

joe-stumpf-kokoro

Everytime he lost pace, his drill instructor would SCREAM at him and tell him to keep up.

The trick? You need to exert only 1% more effort to keep up, but 50% more to catch up to the 1st guy.

If you have team members who are falling off as far as productivity, just know that if you can get them exert 1% more, your team will be in unison.

3) Suffer in Silence

Joe mentions how he tried to carry one of this team members and would complain about how heavy that dude was.

Of course, he would let out moan and groan, and his team member would stop him and ask him to shut up.

Why? The vocal expression of Joe’s pain made the team member

1. THINK that he’s causing the pain
2. Think about his OWN pain… which made the pain even greater.

The common wisdom in modern society is that if you feel any “discomfort” (physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually), you should VERBALIZE it so it doesn’t “turn into cancer”.

Of course, there are no “right” answers, but Buddhists would say

“Gymnasts, lazy people, complainers and successful people have all practiced to be what they are good at. So if you keep practicing being lazy, you will be lazy. If you keep practicing complaining, you will constantly complain. If you practice compassion, generosity, patience, working hard and having a bigger vision, you will become better at it with time because you will create the causes to become better. You are practicing to become better.” – Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Complaining only MAGNIFIES the problem and rarely solves it.

So if you must suffer, suffer in silence.

4) Quitting = Breach of Trust

People often think that team work is a method to increase or to make it easier to get something YOU want.

If that were the case, no team would ever work because everyone in that team has a different direction.

Joe gives the example of being in cold ocean water with a 500 lb. log that’s held above by the guys in his team.

joe-stumpf-kokoro-training

One guy decided to quit.. a guy that was a valuable team member (someone who was ‘big” and gave body heat to others when they came out of that cold ocean water, a.k.a. “bear”).

Of course, if someone from your team quits, it’s like removing a leg from a table. It can stand, but it won’t be very stable.

When Joe asked the instructor why this guy quit, the instructor gave a profoud answer:

“He thought he was doing this for himself. He forgot that he was there for others in the team.”

Wow.

Imagine if someone quits on you during training. Could you trust the guy to be there and stick around when bullets are flying above your head?

When you quit on a team, it sends a clear signal that you are not to be trusted.

Conclusion

The only way to succeed in anything “hard” is to get tough when challenges come.

And remember.. just because you’re not a 21 year old Silicon Valley entrepreneur making some whiz-bang tech stuff doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance.

Just look at Joe at his age:

joe-stumpf-crossfit-training joe-stumpf-kokoro-body-building