So once again we are gearing up for cheerleading nationals. This means hours and hours or practicing the same routine over and over again with the intention to hit it perfectly on the nationals mat in just about one month from now. Each day is its own little test, but then again so is life. Each day we can do what we need to do to move forward in the areas that we want to, or we can make decisions that get us nowhere or possible take us farther from our goals.
The Illusion of Choice
When it comes to winning or should I really say “being as successful as you possibly can” you have very few choices. If you want to do better at anything you need to practice. If you want to perform better you need to get your rest and your need to eat right. This requires you to consistently make the right choice in order to be your best. However, in order to lose you simply need to only make a few poor decisions. Maybe you practice hard, but you drink hard at night. Maybe you eat right, but you don’t get enough sleep.
This is where I like to bring up the paradox of choice. Now this isn’t a reference to the book (but I do hear it is good), but there are a small number of defined choices you need to make to be successful, there are a multiple number of ways to fail. You can choose to fail because you never practiced hard, you can choose to fail because you don’t take care of your body. You can choose to fail because you refused to learn or listen to instruction. There are a huge number of possible ways to short cut how great of a performance you could have attained.
So for my athletes and my students think of you work in this way: you have a number of choices you can make, however, if you only give yourself the options that will make you better how can you ever be anything less than your best? At the end of the day you control your own outcomes. Yes, some people might be more talented than you are at a variety of things, but if you make the right choices you can be your best. I’ll be the first to admit that this does require discipline but the payoff is great. Cheering at Missouri state we as a team made the decision that we would all work our hardest on the national routine and not go out and party (we might have allegedly been known as a drinking team with a cheering problem at this point) for all of our nationals prep. We went down to nationals and hit that routine. I could care less about what place we got, but I will always cherish that moment on the nationals mat with my teammates and the exuberance of hitting that routine together (maybe going out and enjoying an adult beverage or baker’s dozen later).
We make decisions each day, but really the number of decisions that we can make that will make our lives better are few. In order to be the best you can possibly be, you have to walk that simple line. Does it require discipline, yes, but the results from walking this line if even for a month of your life, will make quite a difference. Thanks for reading this, and good luck out there.