Does Tough Matter? (Part 1)

Does Tough Matter? (Part 1)
Ross Edgley, ultra swimmer and endurance athlete with multiple world records. And perhaps the strongest mental athlete on the planet.

I've re-written this blog post 3 times already! AHHHHH! I just deleted another two hours of writing, because I can't decide how to get this message across – a message I personally believe in very deeply.

Does tough matter? Well, not for everyone. But for competitive athletes; especially young athletes (10 - 17 years old), tough may matter the most.

I wanted to use this post to write about Ross Edgley, the British endurance athlete who, in 2018, spent 157 days swimming 1,780 miles around the island of Great Britain. It was practically impossible to do. However, I can't describe it better than he can. So just read this book, and prepare to have your MIND BLOWN!

The Art of Resilience

I'll keep you for another few paragraphs to state the obvious: Life is hard. If that's not your experience, just wait a while. And toughness and resiliency are the things that allow you to survive and thrive in a harsh environment. Period.

Too many people – especially the youth of today – quit, swipe, cancel, delete, block, unfollow, and mute difficulty and suffering. And the environment we live in cultivates and enables this by providing endless distractions and methods for self-soothing. Nobody wants to be in pain. But some people recognize and leverage the purpose and function of pain. And that's what we are talking about here. Because no matter what, failure, disappointment, struggle, suffering, and pain are coming.

The question is, are you building the skills, the grit, the resiliency and the capacity to endure it? Or are difficult times going to run you over?

I think the true value of toughness and resiliency is found in the way they are acquired. Toughness is forged in the fires of suffering. There is just no other way to get it. And even small, safe, bouts of suffering at a time will teach you how to endure a little more each day.

I think if I posted videos of what I put my athletes through during some of our training sessions, people would try to have me canceled. Whatever that means. But parents are on board. And more importantly, these kids keep coming back, 4 practices a week, 3 hours at a time, asking if we can do it all again. We are called a Performance Climbing Team, but in reality, training for climbing competitions is just the platform. We are training for life. We are building tough, resilient, strong, confident, kind, capable young athletes, who are getting ready for the world.

So in Part 2 (coming soon), I am going to give you detailed workout protocols and challenges – things that I do with my athletes all the time – that will slowly and safely help you build resiliency into your training. In the meantime, try to read that book, I know it will inspire you!

A WORD OF CAUTION: Please know that toughness does NOT mean quietly suffering alone. In fact, just the opposite! One of the first things you will learn in The Art of Resilience, is that you need a team around you. Hugs and tears and talking about the struggle is part of the process. Going though tough times, and enduring bouts of suffering is best - and safest - when done with others. So take good care of yourself, and good care of your friends and your teammates.

See you next time.

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