I have written many times over the years on this topic and it is something that I am very passionate about. Success and being a champion seem to go hand-in-hand in most peoples minds when they think of any winner of any competition or anyone who is victorious in just about any en-devour. However I challenge you to re-define your notions of what it means to be a champion or what is means to be successful. For me being a champion is all about your attitude toward yourself and others. It is easy to define champions by who is elected into a position or one who wins a title, but does that mean there is only one champion or victor that day? I can not speak for anyone else but myself when I say that I know being a champion means knowing my own sense of self worth, my need to continually strive for excellence in everything that I do, and most importantly my sense of compassion toward others who are on this similar journey.
I have personally competed in bodybuilding since 1989 and I can remember the feelings of dread and failure throughout my career each time I didn’t win a competition. For me everything seemingly was held in the balance on each win or loss. If I won or was victorious, I felt powerful, confident and I felt like I was making my life exactly what I wanted it to be. But the times I lost (which was more than I won), I can remember my feelings of disappointment, despair, and my incredible sense of failure. After some years of this kind of extreme yo-yo emotional roller-coaster ride, I came to a point in my life where I had to re-evaluate and analyze what I was doing to myself. Was there a better way for me to ensure that I could be a success? And was there a way for me to ensure that I was the champion that I knew I was on the inside.
What I came up with was a new definition that fit into my own life and one in which I feel equalizes the playing field of genetics, money and anything else that creates that sense of unfairness when you compete against others who may have advantages over you. There are only two things in life that you can control when it comes to physique competing; your attitude and the work that you do. Almost everything that you will encounter in the competition that will influence your ability to win or lose at a contest will be out of your control. Who you compete against, what the judges think of you, and how your body expresses itself genetically is all out of your hands. The only factors that can sway your own sense of victory is your own attitude and your work ethic.
What’s in the Attitude of a Champion?
The attitude of a champion sees competition as the playground for work that has been done. What I mean by this is that competition isn’t the test of a champion or the way in which champions are revealed, as most see it. The champions have already been created, the forum of competition is just where we, the spectators, get to see a kind of comparative analysis or aggregate of excellence. Winning and losing competitions are the consequences of champions but they aren’t the only consequences nor are all the champions rewarded by a first place trophy. I contend that anyone who applies them selves in earnest, and with conviction, not giving up, dedicating to themselves to being better than they are, and holding others who want this same endeavor with compassion and honor to be a champion.
Champions compete because it is the most natural expression of the competitors need to exhibit all the hard work and effort that has been applied toward the pursuit of excellence. Additionally, competition is the forum where this kind of comparative exhibition exists. Someone is rewarded for rising above but this doesn’t mean that every competitor can’t be seen as a champion or have the sense of value that comes with being excellent at something. What matters most in this case is how you hold your attitude and what effort you have put into your pursuit.
What kind of effort makes a champion?
Everybody who competes tries, but this doesn’t make them a champion necessarily. Aside from the attitude of the competitor, it is the raw effort that makes a champion who he or she is. The kind of effort that I am talking about is the kind that didn’t give up when it got hard. With continual obstacles being thrown in front of them they still persevered. When everyone around them seemed to say they couldn’t do it, they plugged on. When their own self-doubt poked its ugly head up and said you can’t do this, they did it anyway. And when they fell flat on their face after giving everything they thought they had into something, they got up and tried again. This is the effort of a champion.
This kind of effort is special because it assumes that there will be challenges and obstacles that will cross your path. This kind of effort is special because it doesn’t listen to anyone but the voice inside you that tells you that “… this can be done!” Most importantly, it is the kind of effort that simply doesn’t give in or give up in spite of anything that comes its way. It is a wonderfully ignorant kind of effort that only knows what it needs to do.
Champions are people who understand that being a champion might result in holding the 1st place trophy but not necessarily. Champions define themselves by their own meter and know that the value in being a champion comes from your own unique perspective. Only you know where you came from, what emotional obstacles you have overcome, what things you had to conquer and how hard it was to do it. Only you have been present every moment of every day that you have been on this journey. And only you know how hard it has been, how much you had to learn, overcome, and ignore just to step on stage. This is a champion, and it is possible every time YOU step on stage, go to the gym or do anything everyday, you simply have to know it and feel it.