When I looked up the word “paradox” I found several definitions. This is the one I liked the best:
A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded and true.
When I speak to student-athletes, I tell them that they are in a state of paradox in their life…they are young, thus they have many many years left to live. However, their athletic careers are near the end…maybe 3 more seasons, 2 more months, or maybe even 1 more game and it’s all over. See the paradox there?…Two opposite forces colliding together at one point in time. I stress the importance of SEIZING THE MOMENT, to not waste a single day or even a single play! The pain of regret hurts more than the pain of effort and hard work.
But that is not the point of this message. I do believe that life is short and we need to take action and give it all we got, but that was never MY problem. I’ve never had an effort problem. I was always the first to show up and the last to leave. One time my junior year playing football at WSU, Coach Mike Price told me to quit running extra routes after practice because I was looking slower at practice and film. The reason I was taking extra reps was because I wasn’t getting the rock…my catches were down from the previous 2 seasons and working extra hard was my only way to cope with the frustration and disappointment of my lack of production…unfortunately it was wearing my body down and my effort was counterproductive.
So if effort wasn’t my problem…then was is attitude? No, definitely not attitude. I’ve always been an up beat positive guy, full of energy and enthusiasm. I was usually a leader and a team captain in any sport I played. So what was my problem? Here it is:
I cared too much of what people thought of me.
I’ve always been a pleaser by nature and cared about my image, which up until this point of my life it has come to my detriment. I was confident in many settings, but was really insecure about always having a perfect image, not upsetting anyone, not showing my flaws, basically I was a robot – programmed to win and look good while doing it.
This approach brought results, but at what cost? I was always really good, but not the best…largely because my mind was filled with judging thoughts of my every move. I’d be envisioning what people in the crowd were thinking, my parents, my peers, my teammates, my coaches, my manager, co-workers, basically EVERYONE! I always had achievement, but the psychological warfare I put on myself always took its toll.
If I had a presentation for work and did a great job, but messed up on one spot, I’d obsess over that one hiccup and ponder, “They had to have seen me screw up there. They probably think I’m not as talented as they may have once thought.” I think back now at how absurd that thinking was, but that was my reality. I’d even avoid many situations in sports and professionally because I was afraid of failure and the feelings and embarrassment of that let down. I was the definition of a “fixed mindset”…avoiding failure and needing constant validation.
I’ve come a long way since then. Through several years of studying successful people…reading about them, their strategies, their stories; listening to podcasts, audio books, and videos on YouTube; and applying many of these approaches and reflecting on my life. I think I’m on to something and I’d like to share it with you. This powerful paradox that if understood, utilized, and practiced, will change your life, the way it has changed mine (I’m still a work in progress by the way…striving to have a “growth mindset”). If you can master and trust this phrase, I see big things in your horizon:
CARE / DON’T CARE
STEP #1, CARE
Here’s the thing, you NEED TO CARE about yourself, your craft, your effort/attitude, and final product – check (where’s that check emoticon when you need it?). YOU NEED TO CARE about the people around you, your team, organization, the amount of time you put in your preparation – check. YOU NEED TO CARE and have passion in whatever it is you do and take pride in your preparation, habits, and discipline – check. CARE, love, be generous, and serve others. Yes, this I know is true. All of that is step # 1, YOU NEED TO CARE. You CARE by having an INTERNAL INVESTMENT with EXTERNAL EXECUTION. However, you MUST and I mean MUST, have step #2.
STEP #2, DON’T CARE
In order to go places where no man’s gone before, you basically can’t give a flying F&%# about what others think about you…its that simple. You should care about what your friends and family think about your core values, integrity, and character, but any and all things other than that…SCREW ‘EM!
I’ve been taking a deep dive into sales trainer extraordinaire, Grant Cardone, who has written multiple NY Times best selling books, including the 10x Rule and most recently, Be Obsessed or Be Average. Cardone shares his 4 Steps to Success of what you must get and need in the 10x Rule:
I was always all in on number 1 and 4, but 2 and 3? I was too soft and sensitive. But, now I’m working on my blinders…staying laser focus on just doing me…not worrying for one second what others think. Listen, HATERS ARE GOOD! It means you are either doing something different or unique, or you are CRUSHING IT…these people are trying to pull you down because of their lack of accomplishment. They want to bring you down to their level! Forget about it! CRITICISM is also good, it means you have an audience and people are watching. Unfortunately, social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, provide people a forum to showcase their HaterAid. Do what Jay-Z preaches and “Go ahead brush your shoulders off!”
Come on, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift have the most adoring fans in the world…they both are also ridiculously rich. But guess what else they have…a legion of HATERS and criticizers. The Biebs has the most unliked video in the history of YouTube for his jam “Baby.” Multimillionaire Mr. Cardone shared his 4 Steps to Success. They are good, yes, but here are mine 5 Keys to help you get off of CARE about EVERYTHING train, and get on the CARE/DON’T CARE Express to being the best version of you…
5 Keys to Care // Don’t Care:
1. Have the courage to JUST BE YOU! Remember, everyone else is taken.
2. Know your CORE VALUES…write them down, live them daily, and do not comprise them for anybody.
3. DO WHAT YOU LOVE! If you are doing what you are passionate about, really what else matters?
4. Know that OPINIONS ARE NOT FACTS…they’re just someone’s opinion!
5. Understand that YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE…if you try to please everyone else, you will please no one…including yourself!
Please take my advice to CARE/DON’T CARE. That approach works 99% of the time when attracting a date (why do they like you more when you seem not interested?). Try it in life and watch this paradox bring you passion, performance, and prosperity (I love alliteration!).