“Hard work and togetherness. They go hand in hand. You need hard work because it’s such a tough atmosphere. You need togetherness because you don’t always win and you gotta hang tough together.”
– Tony Dungy, football coach
Mental toughness is never a one-man band. Mental toughness is developed through a consistent and persistent march to self-satisfaction that you are working hard on a daily basis and anything that life throws at you is the best way for you to improve and learn.
In the above quote, Tony Dungy calls to our minds the tough atmosphere. He is not just referring to football, the game he played and coached, and he is also referring to the arena of competition as a tough atmosphere. The Heart of a Competitor views each day as an opportunity to compete against themselves and improve, which takes hard work AND to surround yourselves with other people that have the Heart of a Competitor. This togetherness which Dungy references is this known as the ”Community of Competitors.”
One of the top ways to develop mental toughness is to surround yourself with people of the same competitive drive. In the development of a team with toughness, togetherness will drive the consistent and persistent march toward greatness.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Do individuals that deserve to belong to a “Community of Competitors” surround you?
What can you do to increase the competition of those around you? (This will ultimately increase your mental toughness and competitive drive.)
Over the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak to the competitors at the Adidas Future 500 Soccer ID Camp; the top rated College ID Camp in the USA. The three different camp sessions have included over 1,200 players from around the world. The picture above is of Jed, Gaincarlo, and Gabe with Camp Director, Mark Wagner. These three players traveled from Hong Kong to attend this camp. During the girls session, we met a competitor whose father is in the Marine Corps and is stationed in Germany. She traveled with her mother just to come to this camp. We had competitors at this camp that could speak French, Arabic, Italian, to name a few of the many languages.
The competitors that attended these camps were a diverse group. They were a diverse group based on ethnicity, language, ability, and many other traits. We could learn a lot from those that attended the Adidas Future 500 Camp that could be used in our society today. During one of the most contentious times in the history of the United States, these campers looked past any differences and enjoyed the opportunity to connect and compete at this great event. This is why athletics is an integral part of the development of our young competitors, to come together and look past differences in skin color, nationality, languages, and occupations. Even if this only occurs for a short four days at a soccer camp, we are learning the importance of making connections with other human beings and appreciating life and the endless opportunities it provides.
This is what we can learn from these young competitors, we are all human beings enjoying this life experience. Those with the Heart of a Competitor are called to share these great opportunities in our life, regardless of our differences because when we do, we make connections that open new doors for us. This is what the campers at the Adidas Future 500 Soccer ID Camp were doing, opening new doors for themselves. They opened the door to new friendships to those from around the world, all while opening the door to possible collegiate recruitment.
The challenge for you this week is to open doors. Literally stop and open the door for someone that is different than you, make eye contact with them, and greet them. While you are stepping out and opening this door, you are figuratively connecting with them, creating richness in the human connection. We do not need more friends or followings in a social media world; we need more connections in a human world. Step out of your comfort zone and connect with someone that is different, embrace the diversity that surrounds us.