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Work While You Wait

Updated: Oct 14, 2019


How far is the Moon from Earth?   ​ Now, I know there are some very smart people out there that may already know that answer.  However, if you are like me, you are probably going to rely on good-old Google for some help.  And with the assistance of our favorite know-it-all, you will have the answer as quickly as you can type.  You don’t even need to type the entire question...in fact, you don’t even need to type AT ALL anymore.  "Alexa..."

Today, everything is literally at our fingertips.  We can ask any question and have an answer almost instantaneously.  It’s truly amazing.

But not that long ago, this wasn’t the case.  In 1999 (the year I graduated high school) if you wanted to know how far the Moon was from Earth, you would have to either own an encyclopedia collection at your house or get in your car, drive to the library, and then hope that the book that contained this information was available.  It took work to find out the answers to even simple questions.  

We rarely have to work for information anymore.  And this same attitude is spilling over to other areas of our lives.  

Today, if we can’t get what we want right now we get agitated.  We get frustrated.  We get angry.  We are so drugged by immediate gratification that we feel entitled to get whatever we want, whenever we want.  And this attitude is reinforced every time we ask Google a question.

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this.  Patience has never been one of my strongest qualities, so I’ve been battling this for as long as I can remember.  Now as a coach, with the benefit of experience and perspective, I can see the incredible value of delaying gratification. Not getting what you want when you want it can truly be a blessing.

It’s all in the way you look at it.

Not getting what you want right away can make you stronger.  Better.  Tougher.  Hungrier.  More resilient.  The earlier you learn to love delayed gratification, the easier you will be able to jump the hurdles life will surely throw in your path.  Learn this as a young child and you will have an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal on your way to a successful and fulfilled life.

As a coach, I purposefully try to get my athletes to fail.  I want them to experience failure as much as possible in practice, in races, in the weight room - especially early in the season.  I want to provide them an opportunity to take risks and make mistakes.  

Every time we fall and get back up, we get stronger.

I hope that these setbacks early in the year will help us be ready for when we want to be operating at our very best later in the year.  When everything is on the line, I want them to know that they’ve failed, but have risen up and become stronger than ever before.  In their biggest moments, I want them to have the confidence to run through a brick wall, thinking nothing can stop them.

And in the bigger picture, I want them to feel like these setbacks at a young age will teach them that they can recover from - better yet, conquer - anything life throws at them.

The best I’ve heard this summed up recently is by Louisiana Head Baseball coach Tony Robichaux.  In a press conference, Coach Robichaux spoke frankly about the value of “working while you wait,” the idea that nothing will be handed to you and when you are sitting the bench you need to work even harder so that you will be ready for the next opportunity that you get.

In other words, when you don’t get what you want are you going to cry about it or let it motivate you to get better?

Is it fun sitting the bench?  No.

Is it tough when your coach tells you that you need to get better in order to see the field?  Of course.

But if it was easy - if it wasn’t challenging - would you appreciate the success when it comes your way?  You get way more enjoyment out of earning something you want, not being given it.

238,900 miles.  Now aren’t you happy you had to work for it?

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