Jerry Lynch, author of the upcoming The Competitive Buddha, has written a new blog post on how to lively your life courageously every single day, take a look.
Here is an excerpt from my book WIN THE DAY on Courage.
In the words of author Ray Bradbury, First you jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down. It takes courage to jump and trust that you’ll build your wings on the way down. Most people stand at the top waiting endlessly for the wings to be built before they jump. We’re talking about the courage to take that plunge, a risk few are willing to take. Those who do risk are fearful but they go anyway. It’s like the story of the young boy in Paulo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST, who takes the trek across a vast desert trusting that there will be a caravan coming in his direction that will have the supplies he needs to complete the journey.
Life is filled with stories of heroes, risk takers and warriors of indomitable spirit who take the chance they are given to realize something greater than they can imagine. This is what a win the day champion does. A champion has heart. The word courage in French is coeur and in Spanish it is corazon, both when translated mean heart.
It is said that when racing horses die, only the champion receives a burial ceremony. They discard the body and bury the head and the heart – the two parts of anatomy that enabled the horse to never give up, competing all out even in pain. Like horses, champion athletes compete with heart, having courage to give their all.
When I think of courage, I always remember the brilliant words spoken by Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “The Man in the Arena” in 1910:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends
himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Win the day culture athletes and coaches are not timid souls. They are not afraid of failure knowing that loss and setbacks are great teachers. They may fail but do so “daring greatly” and get back up and try it again, wiser and stronger. They show up, which is half the battle. Many in this world never show up. In championship cultures, everyone is “all-in” living the core values and engaging with being authentic and vulnerable. Now, that’s what I call awesome courage.
In Brené Brown’s book, DARING GREATLY, title taken from Roosevelt’s speech, she talks about this great courage. “We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be…with courage. We must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.” So many athletes hold back, fearful of going all out because they may look silly, fail, let their team, coach, parents down, make a mistake or not be good enough. A true champion, I’ve learned, is willing to dare greatly, jump off the cliff, knowing that others will “have my back.” That’s the win the day attitude.
There’s an ancient expression that basically says the arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of a hundred misses. Ultimately, after many attempts, it finds the target. This happens all the time with my work. Sometimes I make 100 calls to get one positive “yes.” I’ve had numerous rejections with my attempts to publish books, yet winding up with some best sellers. I’ve lost more competitive events than I’ve won but courageously came back for more as a wiser competitor.
The University of Maryland women’s field hockey team had just beaten Old Dominion University 3-2 in overtime, gaining a slot in the Final Four in Boston. My work with Maryland throughout the year consistently emphasized the need for athletes to play with their hearts (courage) and the importance of the team over the individual. This is always a challenge with a team of many stars. Following their victory, the Maryland Terps received the highest of compliments and greatest validation for their efforts. The “Old Dominion coach said, “Maryland competed, hustled, and played with their hearts. When a team does that, it is very difficult to beat. Maryland won as a team.”
What did Coach Missy Meharg mean by “they played with their
hearts?” I would define heart as the willingness to take risks to improve, even in the face of potential failure; the courage to go all out and discover your capability at the moment; the freedom to lose, learn from it, and forge ahead; planning with fearlessness, tenacity, and audacity’ being bold as you look at your opponents and dare them to match your intensity.
For champions, this is the spirit of play. Athletes playing only with their heads tend to be too ego involved, smitten with themselves, and overly concerned with outcomes and winning. Courageous athletes and coaches, on the other hand, have a deep desire to win – but if they don’t win, they refuseto measure their self-worth by any outcome. According to Olympian gymnast, Simone Biles, “being a gymnast means having the strength to hold on and the courage to let go.” Letting go and moving on from defeat is a courageous act.
How to Up Your Game in Sports, Leadership and Life
Connect Spirituality to Sports. The Competitive Buddha is about mastery, leadership, and spirituality. Learn what you need to keep, what you need to discard, and what you need to add to your mental, emotional, and spiritual skill set as an athlete, coach, leader, parent, CEO, or any other performer in life. Understand how Buddhism can help you to be better prepared for sports and life, and how sports and life can teach you about Buddhism. Discover how people from all parts of the world have brought together the Buddha and athletics for greater fun, enjoyment, and pleasure during their performances. Dr. Jerry Lynch demonstrates how certain timeless core Buddha values inspire you to embrace and navigate unchartered waters, and understand the Buddha-mind and the Kobe Bryant Mamba Mentality.