A little while back, I mentioned a young countryman athlete that I root for. I believe he was able to fend off quite a few bogeymen this time but seems to have succumbed to the same one that has been chasing him forever. I wish him all the best in facing it squarely and taking the time to really get to know it – then I am sure he will find out that the fear is not real, there is nothing to be apprehensive about, no demons to demolish.
Well, today, I would like to introduce another young countryman athlete who is about to embark on his season opener in the Golden State. The two play different sports, but I think they are alike in many ways: they are both very gifted, extremely hard working, already having success in fields other countrymen could only dream of. They are unquestionably “the Next Big Things.” But still a couple of shots short of becoming the actual Big Things.
So, what is different about the latter from the former that is worth scribbling? For one, he got me to watch a sport I never had any interest in – the game had a Bear, a Shark, and a Tiger, but nah, did not get me excited. To be honest, I still am not interested in it (I much rather like fast-action, bodies-flying-everywhere, foul-mouthing-from-time-to-time kinda games), but I can appreciate so much more the artistry in it. I now find it a sport full of beautiful moments.
And the reason for such deep admiration is the athlete I mention today. I hear him often saying that he would like to train to a point where he can be confident [my translation]. And people often take it to mean he trains on enhancing techniques of his shots to gain confidence to win. No doubt that is a large part of his statement. But I feel there might be a little more to it than that.
Maybe he is looking to train to a point where he can reassure himself the comfort of having multiple options to choose from in any given situation.
Maybe he is looking to train to a point where he can be certain of his boundaries, and make better decisions on whether to stay away from or stretch them.
Maybe he is looking to train to a point where he can trust his body to react in the way he wants it to even when his mind wanders astray.
I think he does not train his body and mind separately but in interconnected ways. His mind is not trained to hold abstract beliefs that he can win. Rather, the mind is trained through physical training to build up concrete beliefs that he can rely on, that he can depend on, that would not betray him.
So, the two young countrymen of mine seem to be on different paths to success – one through destruction of doubts, the other through construction of beliefs. I am very optimistic they will come through atop in their own ways. Now then, where is my road to success…?