Before You Can Be A Champion You Must Become A Contender

by Paul Hudson

Who hasn’t seen at least one of the “Rocky” movies? If you haven’t, then stop reading this immediately, go watch the first one, and come on back and join us on Elite Daily. Generation-Yers grew up on such inspirational movies about guys (usually men, unfortunately) that started at the bottom and worked their way up to becoming champions.

I still have a soft spot for such ‘contender’ flicks; I find them to be very motivational and highly entertaining. Most importantly, I enjoy watching them because they remind me of what my own goals are, why I am pursuing them and what I will need to do in order to achieve them. I like being reminded that it’s not just the end that matters, but the journey itself that makes life worth living. Which is weird because…well, being a contender is difficult as sh*t.

“Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.”-Michael Jordan

Living the life of a contender is no walk in the park. If anything it’s an 8-mile run followed by intense weight training, finished off by a 25-mile bike ride and a mile swim — repeated every other day until you hold the belt. The road to success is often said to be more of a marathon than a sprint; I believe it to be different still.

The road to success is not the race itself, but rather the training leading up to the race. Before you can even qualify for the race, you have to first prove yourself worthy — no one is going to let you run with the top dogs until you yourself have the skills and conditioning necessary to pose a threat. Which brings me back to movies like “Rocky”; the beauty of being a contender is that it’s open to anyone of any shape, any size and any capability. If you were born, then you have the ability to become a contender. All it requires is for you to decide to become one — to choose to follow that path. And, of course, to go through and follow it.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”-Ernest Hemingway

Every day that we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to either have a day filled with training and productivity or a day of rest; we decide to either go for the gold or sit back and watch as others achieve their dreams. For some irrational reason, most of us decide to take rest days, day after day. We decide to take things easy, enjoy ourselves and ‘smell the flowers.’

I never could understand why it is that people choose to live such unproductive lives. I understand that laziness is the main factor pushing the masses to give up on self-improvement and stay glued to the TV screen instead, but how is it that we allow laziness to take over our lives? You would think that sooner or later every human being would get bored of being lazy.

You’d think that people would get tired of doing the same pointless things day-in and day-out, never leaving their comfort zone or growing as individuals. However, most people don’t. Most people like to stay inside their comfort bubble and live out their days without ever having to break a sweat.

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” - Madonna

If there is a point to life then it’s this: you are here to improve; improve yourself and by doing so, improve the human race. Not too long ago I read “The Pilgrimage” by one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho. The one concept that stood out the most was the idea that the meaning of life must be something attainable by each and every individual. Think about it logically.

If there is meaning to our lives, if there is a purpose, or a journey that we are to travel, then it must be a journey travelable by each and every single person in the world. You cannot say that those living under horrible conditions, not being able to find food or water are less worthy of fulfilling their purpose than those that were lucky enough to be born in first world countries. We are no better than any other human being and deserve to fulfill our purpose, just as much as anyone else.

Whether you want to look at it from a spiritual perspective, consult your God or gods or whomever you pray to, the fact remains that enlightenment, spiritual salvation, purpose or the meaning of life for you is the same as everyone else’s. The only thing that each person is capable of doing — no matter what their circumstance — is to improve themselves in some way.

“What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.” - Anaïs Nin

Self-improvement is the purpose of life. It is the only thing that matters. You can spend your entire life working to build up a fortune only to have life take it all away from you. Wars break out, natural disasters happen, people die, but your self-improvement stays with you until the end. Could you imagine how much better the world would be if each and every person would spend each day focusing on the things about themselves that they understand need improving?

Imagine the innovations, the relationships and bonding that would become possible were people to focus on their weaknesses. If everyone would take certain ethical standards as truths rather than writings found in ancient texts, imagine how much less violence, hatred and abuse there would be in the world.

If people would focus on becoming healthier, better read, more intelligent, more spiritually grounded and at peace, then the problems of the world would quickly become a thing of the past. It often amazes me how ridiculous the world can sometimes be. Take, for example, the fact that while there are millions of people starving around the world Americans have a problem with obesity.

“She would be a new person, she vowed. They said no matter how far a mule travels it can never come back a horse, but she would show them all.” - Junot Diaz

This is all related. Self-improvement focuses on bettering you as a whole person. Of course, in order to be taken as a serious contender in any field, your focus should primarily be on the skills and abilities necessary to compete with those sitting on top. Yet, there is more to being an entrepreneurial champion then simply being a quick thinker — you need to be a great leader.

The best leaders lead by example. What example are you giving? How well rounded is your character? How well do you understand life and how much love do you have for humanity? I started this article by writing about the self-improvement necessary to become a champion. Then I realized that it isn’t enough to focus on the skillsets necessary to make you a strong contender in your field. The world is changing quickly and we are all become rapidly more connected. We are moving towards the next frontier of humanity, of evolution.

The only way of becoming a champion in the coming years will be not only to master certain skills, but to master yourself as a whole. Our future champions will have improved themselves to the point where they have a better understanding of the world as a whole and will do all they can to share with the rest of us their newfound knowledge. The only way of getting there is through sweat and tears — that’s one thing that will never change.

“The difference between being mediocre and achieving excellence is you.”-Stephen Richards

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