Back in the day I was a pretty avid gamer. I’m talking having pretty much every major gaming system all the way up to the Playstation 2 – Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis, Game Boy, Saturn, Dreamcast, N64 – nearly everything except the Virtual Boy, because honestly you were a bonafide buster if you had that. With such a hobby, I naturally found myself scoping out the magazine racks at grocery stores searching for the latest issue of any gaming magazine that was hot off the presses. After scooping up one up, I was flipping straight to the back of the magazine – right to the section that featured all the cheat codes and strategies. I memorized the cheats that I needed to and was on my way back home, feeling wild smug and soon enough, channeling the energy of a champagne soaked, newly crowned championship team’s locker room after beating the game with those memorized cheat codes. I was livin’ it up man. Game after game, won with ease. But suddenly, winning got boring, and I found myself missing The Struggle.
There are those that know how to thrive in success, while there are those who are simply successful people. Two completely different things, I’d say. Thriving during success is merely just one part of being successful. Winning, receiving accolades, easy triumphs, victories that seem like they were practically given to you – all of these occur when the scenario is at its most ideal. But what happens when things don’t necessarily work out? How do you handle the situation and yourself when the odds are stacked against you and you’re suddenly trudging through knee-deep levels of The Struggle? When said struggle is in 3D, do you find yourself stuck in the realness? Thinking about all this reminded me of a recent encounter with a buddy of mine who was an avid rock climber:
“Pain don’t hurt.”
That quote was something that stood out to me as I marveled in half shock and amazement at this dude’s crazy scar that ripped a canyon right through the palm of his hand. It was from a climbing accident, naturally. Cringing, I asked him when he hopped back on a mountain after the accident. “The first chance I got,” was his immediate reply. Which was then followed by the above-mentioned quote. He further pointed out that this little slip up helped him learn from it, thus avoiding the same mishap in the future. Expounding even more, he likened the experience to a boxer being knocked down. One’s heart is usually measured by how willing he is to shake off the noodle legs and the 808’s thumping in their temple in order to get back up off that canvas to give himself a fighting chance at success. At that crossroads, they really do have to decide if pain ultimately should be a factor in that decision. Succumb to it and take the L. Adapt to it, and you have a better chance in learning to either take that hit, or bob and weave to avoid another chin check.
Yes, the moment of success is the good part – the trophies, the popped bottles, the celebration dances, the thrill of victory. This is when the fun comes easy. But I truly believe that being successful starts when the glamor of winning suddenly takes a back seat to the complications of accomplishing that goal – things can go wrong, you won’t like everyone you have to work with, habits and stagnant tendencies begin forming, the process ends up taking longer than expected. These are the worst parts of being successful. However, if you find yourself reveling in the challenges paving the way to success – that realization where using cheat codes and cutting corners take all the fun out of the process – then that’s when you finally understand that flirting with disaster can help lead to a long term relationship with being successful.