Yesterday was my 8 year anniversary. I can’t believe how fast time flies by. I can still remember my wedding like it was not that long ago. I won’t say that it was just like it was yesterday because I just finished yesterday and it wasn’t anything like my wedding.
Weddings are a great time and a great experience, but they are so stressful. I just went to a friend’s wedding this past weekend, and watching him and his bride reminded me of the stress that is involved on the wedding day. The bride has thought about the wedding since she is old enough to understand that people get married and she can get married someday. She has visualized it thousands of times and wants it to be perfect. If anything starts to seem like it isn’t going to be perfect, then it is very likely that she is going to cry. Then the groom is stressed out because his future wife is crying, and he has to fix everything so that the day runs just like she has planned for the last two decades.
Another interesting thing about marriages is that they all don’t last. This last week has been all about relationships for me. I recently talked to a friend who’s marriage is most likely ending. Things were going badly, they got worse, now they are separated. I would like to say that I hope things work out, but if things work out to where they are in a bad relationship again, that doesn’t make anyone happy. I think a better thing to say is that I hope they are both happy, whether that means that they are in each others’ lives, only time will tell.
I also talked with a woman on a plane on my way to my friend’s wedding. Her marriage is ending. Same story of things were bad and then got worse, and now they are separated. This couple has kids so it makes it more complicated. The other couple doesn’t have kids so there will be less broken hearts.
These stories, however, don’t have much to do with my relationship with my wife, other than the fact that they can serve as learning experiences for me so that I can work on having a strong marriage and not having to move out of the house and have my wife and kids hate me. My wife is the best on the planet, and here are five reasons why.
1. My wife supports me in whatever I choose to do. It is hard for me to believe that my wife has been so supportive of me throughout all of these years. For years I was a professional athlete, in the sense that I was training and competing full time and getting paid a little bit to do it. Unfortunately though, it didn’t pay anywhere near what most professional athletes get paid. I was gone a lot out of the country, and we pretty much put our lives on hold for years so I could wrestle and train for the Olympics. She never complained, she came to all of the meets that she could, and she never said stop screwing around and get a real job. She even supported me in my decision to coach wrestling despite the fact that I had a job offer that would have paid me twice as much as my current salary.
2. My wife loves me even though I am crazy. I am crazy. I have already given one example of why I am crazy in the fact that I turned down a job that offered me double my current salary, but there are plenty of other reasons why I am crazy too. I am very obsessive compulsive about a few things, especially when it comes to food. I just have some weird habits. One time my wife had made dinner, and instead of just thanking her and enjoying the delicious meal, I asked her if the next time that she made it if she could cut the vegetables in strips and cut the meat up in cubes instead of cutting the meat in strips and the vegetables in cubes. I also have a habit of thinking that I can save money on some things by either trying to do it myself or making it myself. I think in every instance when I have tried to do that, it has been more expensive for me to do it myself or make my own. She laughs at my craziness and lets me do my thing.
3. My wife has taught me how to communicate (kind of). When I was attending college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do professionally other than wrestle and coach. One of the other guys on my team was a communication studies major, and I looked up to him. I decided that I wasn’t much of a communicator anyway so I decided to study communication. Even though I graduated with a major in communication studies, I don’t feel like I am an expert at communication by any stretch of the imagination. There were many times that my wife knew I was upset, angry, or frustrated, and she would ask me what was wrong. I would almost always tell her that nothing was wrong and continue to be upset. I felt like I had to just suffer through things the same way that I would just suffer through an intense training session. She wouldn’t let me not communicate though. Over the years, I have opened up more and more until now I feel very comfortable talking to her about anything. I still feel like I have a long way to go in this area, but I feel like my wife has helped me tremendously to be able to become a better communicator.
4. My wife is my best friend. I have experienced a lot of things in my life ranging from traveling all over the world, winning championships, losing championships, making money, losing money, friends being awesome, friends betraying me, loved ones dying, etc… Through all of these things my wife has been my best friend. I feel like she would do anything that she could possibly do to make me happy and make my life better. She is not above sacrificing anything for my happiness, and I feel like no matter what I tell her, she will listen without judging or degrading me. She loves me and respects me, just like best friends do.
5. My wife is hot and has given me some beautiful children. I am really lucky that my wife being as pretty as she is loves a guy with as gnarled ears as mine are. I have scars, funny looking ears, a bald head, a hairy back, and a growing waist line. Despite my ugliness, my wife decided that I was worth keeping around. Everyday I look at how pretty she is, and I am fortunate that she continues to stay with me. I have some of the cutest daughters around, and I know that their good looks were definitely inherited from my wife.
These five reasons aren’t the only reasons why my wife is the best on the planet, but it is a start. I am so lucky that she has stayed with me for 8 years, and after 2 kids and another one on the way, I am glad to say that we are still going strong. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to share my life with.
I am pretty confident that I am like most other people on this planet. I do the things that I do in large part because of genetics and social conditioning. However with that being said, I still recognize the fact that every human being has agency to choose what they will. One thing most people do, including myself, is to hold myself back from doing things that I really want to do.
Last night I went to the wedding of a close friend. I was really happy for the bride and groom. They make a great couple and I wish them the very best. At the post reception party, I witnessed a lip synching competition. It sounded like fun, but I didn’t want to go out and embarrass myself in front of people. I just sat on the side and watched the brave few, or crazy few depending on how you would like to categorize them, lip synch and dance the night away. I had mixed emotions. On one hand I felt superior for not doing such silly things, but on the other hand I wished that I would be brave enough to calm the fear of getting in front of the crowd and dancing away. I was stuck in the midst of an emotional paradox. In the end, the fear of looking foolish in front of others won out, and I let a small piece of me die because I stifled and suffocated the desire to express myself and share a human moment with other beings.
Fear is such a liar, such a fraud. How many times do we let fear govern our decisions? Fear has been a constant in my life and at each stage of life another one comes up. When I was an awkward teenager in middle school I was afraid to ask girls to dance. I was afraid to try out for the choir because I thought my friends would tease me. During wrestling,there were plenty of times I was afraid of losing and I did all I could to avoid losing. Sure there were times when I wrestled to win, but I held myself back so much. Now I look at my fears from earlier stages of life and realize that I had nothing to be afraid of. If I had asked the girl to dance, the worst she could have said was no, and then there was probably someone else who I could have asked who would have said yes. If no girl would have said yes, I could always have just started to dance by myself, and maybe then a girl would see how cool I was and said “yes” to dance. As far as the wrestling goes, who cares if I would have lost? I still won more than I lost, and many of those smaller matches meant less to me than many of the bigger matches that I wanted to win but lost anyway.
So do I have anything to really fear today? My fears have changed now. I am afraid that I won’t make enough money to take care of my family. I am afraid that I won’t ever be as successful at anything else like I was at wrestling. I’m afraid that I won’t teach my kids well enough to make good choices in life and they will make choices that cause them great pain just like some of my choices caused me. I’m afraid that I will waste my human potential.
In my heart, one of the things that I would like to do is to eradicate fear. I would like to do things because I want to and I can. I want to be able to recognize the fear and not let it deter me from doing what I really want to do. I want to stop living a life of regrets and to start living a life of adventure. I want to be one of the great explorers who was willing to put everything on the line to try new things and have new experiences. I don’t need to discover a new piece of undiscovered land, but rather discover unexplored regions of my soul and character. I want to see what I am really made of. I want to go on an adventure and bring the ones that I love the most to come with me. I want to overcome fear of everything. I think that there is a saying that instructs to face your fears and the death of fear is certain. In this moment I feel ready to kill my fears.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I don’t know who said this for sure. I looked around online, and it appears as if the quote is attributed to Dr. Seuss, but I read that it was really Bernard Mannes Baruch who said “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I guess he was using it in reference to a dinner party when someone asked him about the seating arrangements for the party. I guess both of them are dead so they probably aren’t too concerned about who is getting the credit for the quote.
I was laying in bed last night eating a slice of pizza and drinking a glass full of root beer. It was delicious, but as I sat there eating and drinking, I started to think about goals. For years I had one huge life purpose, I was training everyday to become an Olympic champion. I put all of my eggs in that one basket, and it didn’t work out. That’s life though right? Sometimes you have something that you really want to work out, and then BAM life says “No.” Life doesn’t even tell you sorry as you are struggling. It just keeps going along in the same way that you keep going down the highway if a bug splats on your windshield.
Anyway the whole point is that we need goals to keep us going. We need a huge life purpose to keep us waking up every morning and striving to get better. Without goals we drift, settle, and eventually die unfulfilled. I know that sounds pretty dark and harsh, but that is reality. All of these thoughts were going through my mind as I sat in bed eating pizza and drinking soda pop. So the first thing that I did this morning is wake up and write some new goals. I am excited about them, and if I am persistent with them, I will have some great results. If I don’t persist, I will probably be eating pizza and drinking soda in the middle of the night while I waste time on facebook in another hundred days from now.
If anyone wants to set some goals and write about them for the next 100 days, please let me know. I would love to hear about them.
This fall, I am starting a new wrestling club. The name of the club is Fortius Wrestling, and I am very excited to get the ball rolling. One of the reasons why I am so excited is because I have teamed up with fellow UVU assistant coach and friend Erkin Tadzhimetov. Erkin is a freestyle wrestler from Uzbekistan. He won a junior world silver medal and was also a senior Uzbekistan national champion as well as a multiple time national champion as a youth. He brings a lot of training experience from the former Soviet wrestling system. He has a lot of experience working with youth and college level athletes.
Together we will be striving to help young wrestlers set goals, train correctly, and compete with tenacity. We would like the youth that we work with to continue to hone their skills and broaden their horizons. It is one of my personal goals to continue to train athletes and prepare them for the world championships. This year I worked year round with two athletes who made the FILA cadet world team that recently competed in Serbia at the FILA cadet world championships. I remember what an impact wrestling in my first world championship had on me, and I would like to help other athletes compete on the world stage as well. Of course we will also be focusing on preparing athletes for their state tournaments and national tournaments. We want our wrestlers to be the very best regardless of the level that they decide to compete at.
To kick of our new club and to answer any questions that parents of participants may have, we will be holding a parents meeting in the UVU wrestling room tomorrow August 29th at 5:30pm. If you would like to attend the meeting, the wrestling room is located on the corner of 800 s. and 1200 w. in Orem, Utah. Please feel free to invite your friends and spread the word about this great opportunity.
It isn’t often that youth have the opportunity to train under two world medalists, national champions, and former NCAA Div 1 wrestlers. I would highly encourage all parents to attend this meeting and learn more about how we can help your child reach their wrestling goals. Thank you for all of your support, and I hope to see you at the meeting. However, if you don’t live in the area and would like great training tips and updates on Fortius Wrestling, stay tuned as we will be setting up a site in the future.
Fortius wrestling: Stronger. Don’t think, just throw!
I remember my high school coach talking to the team and putting a lot of emphasis on “finding a way to win”. I was always confused as to what he meant by that. The way my mind worked at the time, (and still does a lot for that matter), was to think “if you do A then you get B”. So if he couldn’t give specific instructions as to how to do something, I felt a little bit lost. I won most of my matches in high school, but there weren’t a whole lot of them where I feel like I had to find a way to win. I just did what I knew how to do, and I ended up winning my matches. It seemed simple enough.
Years later, now as I reflect on what he said, it makes a little more sense to me. As I wrestled various international matches, I felt like I was not in complete control of the match, and I had to just keep wrestling and trying things in order to win. There were matches that I was down with very little time left that seemed like I was going to lose, and then somehow someway I would find a way to win. I never thought much about it during those times. Now as a coach, a father, and husband with a myriad of responsibilities that I feel resting on my shoulders, I do think about what it means to find a way to win. Whether or not I have come up with the right answer, I don’t know, but I at least have an idea of what I think and feel that it means now.
To me “finding a way to win” means not giving up. As long as you keep trying to do something, you are still in the match. As long as you make attempts regardless of the possibility of failure, you are still in the match. As long as you keep believing in yourself and working toward your goal regardless of what other people think, do, or say, then you are still in the match. As long as you don’t give up, you are still in the match. As soon as you mentally break and give up, you are no longer in the match.
Don’t give up. Stay in the match. Find a way to win.
When I first started wrestling, I learned three wrestling moves and used them almost exclusively throughout my first year of competition. The moves were: a double leg, a stand up, and a barbed wire turn. I wrestled less than 20 matches that year, but in all of my matches, I stuck to those three moves. I didn’t know any other moves, and I didn’t know if the moves that I was using were any good. All that I knew that what I was doing was working so I stuck with it. Due to my lack of knowledge, I was forced to do the best I could with what I had.
Years later, I traveled throughout the world to various wrestling competitions. I set foot on five different continents. I got to see how the rest of the world lives. One of the places that I had the opportunity to visit was the island of Cuba. I really loved going to Cuba because I speak Spanish and was able to connect with the athletes there because I was able to communicate with them. I was also fascinated by how they were able to do so much with so little. Their training facilities and conditions were very spartan, but they consistently produce world and Olympic medalists and champions. Despite their tough circumstances, thy find a way to win.
The ability to make due with what they have didn’t just exist in the wrestling room, it flowed out throughout their society. I have never seen so many cars from the 1950′s as I have when I was in Cuba. The people were able to do whatever it took to make their cars last or repair or rebuild them. They were able to make the best of a tough situation.
It is easy to fall into the “if only” attitude about being able to find success. “If only I had more resources.” “If only I had better people.” “If only I had more time.” “If only I had more…” I’m guilty of falling into this trap. There are plenty of times when I have thought “if only”. The problem with that is that nothing changes with “if only”. Change and success comes through hard work, persistence, and consistency.
I’m looking to challenge myself, and if you’d like to join me, I’d love it. This is the challenge: anytime I’m frustrated with trying to do more with less, I’ll turn that frustration into gratitude because if I can become an expert and master things with less, imagine what I’ll be able to do with more.
The physical world that we live in doesn’t care about should, but so many people that live in this world, including myself, care a whole lot about should. The really unfortunate part about it is that people that we don’t even know or care about are the ones who are telling us what we should do. The media, marketers, and advertisers largely are the ones who tell us how we should live our lives. Don’t forget the Joneses either. Nobody knows them, but too many are trying to keep up with them. You should buy this, you should buy that, you should look like this, you should like that, you should watch this, you should, should, should, should!
So this is one of my observations. Should doesn’t matter. The physical world doesn’t care at all how it should be, it is just what it is. So really things are exactly the way that they are supposed to be based on a cause and effect equation. As soon as we accept ourselves for who we are, we can find peace in that and bless not only our own life but others as well.
I also am not saying that we don’t need to improve ourselves and work to improve our lives and others. If you don’t like who you are and want to be someone else, you can always change. You are the only person that you really have any control of, and as soon as you change yourself, everything else will change for you.
So I am trying to do better, a little bit everyday. I am trying to not give a should anymore and to just change what I can about myself. It’s all I can do.
The first time that you are doing anything that has a degree of risk to it, your brain freezes a little bit and tries to scare you out of doing it. You can’t blame your brain. Our ancestors sense of fear is what helped them to survive. However, this caution can also hinder your performance when it comes to wrestling or to life in general.
I remember when I was first learning how to throw people in greco roman wrestling. I was afraid that it was going to hurt me if I threw somebody else. Despite wrestling on soft wrestling mats, there was something that scared me about picking somebody up and throwing them backwards. I thought that it was going to hurt. However, after I was taught proper technique and had some practice and repetitions picking someone up and throwing them, I loved it! To me there was no better feeling in a wrestling match than picking someone else up off of the ground and being able to hurl them through the air. One thing I learned while training to lift and throw people was that you couldn’t go about it with a half effort, otherwise the throw would end sloppy, and those were the times that you could get hurt because of landing incorrectly. To have a successful throw, you have to commit 100% to the move. After you get your opponent up in the air, you can’t just start to throw and then chicken out and still be able to get the results that you want. You can’t over think it.
Over thinking is something that can hurt you in everything that you do. Obviously you don’t want to go out and make wild, crazy, and poor decisions that will negatively affect your life, but after you have done your research, you don’t want to sit around twiddling your thumbs about whether to move forward or not either. When you start to think too much, it is quite common that the whatif monster will show up. The whatif monster is a creature that comes around every now and then when we are looking to take a chance, even if the chance is one that will greatly enhance our lives if we succeed. The problem with the whatif monster is that it is always so negative. It asks you questions like “What if you aren’t any good? What if people say mean things about you? What if you fail? What if this decision ruins you and you end up sleeping on a cardboard box in the gutter?” A lot of these questions are ridiculous, but the whatif monster doesn’t know that or even care that they are ridiculous. It is just trying to help you to avoid pain.
So it is up to you to work things out with this whatif monster and teach him a new way of thinking. You start asking him different questions like: “What if I am great at it? What if a lot of people love and support me in this? What if I succeed beyond anything that I even thought was possible? What if this decision is the best decision that I could ever make in my life? What if I have a ton of fun and love it?” Then you are putting yourself in a position to have some great success or at least to learn some great lessons through experience.
So the next time that you are trying to lift and throw in wrestling or other areas of life, do your due diligence, but don’t over think it. Don’t think, just throw.
P.S. If you like this post, take the time to read Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster
One of the benefits of having been in the wrestling world for so long is that you get to meet a lot of people. Over the course of my wrestling career, I was able to meet so many great people from all across the world, and they all had experiences that I was able to learn from. One of my college wrestling coaches was Matt Lindland. He wrestled for the University of Nebraska and as a senior was undefeated all the way up to the NCAA national tournament. Unfortunately he lost his first match of the tournament, and at that time, if you lost in the first round of the tournament, the opponent that beat you had to win their next match in order to pull you back into the consolation bracket. Matt’s opponent lost the next round and thus eliminated him from the competition. However, after his collegiate wrestling career, he was able to garner world and Olympic silver medals in greco roman wrestling. He also went on to have a very successful career in the UFC, and now coaches other wrestlers and fighters who are working hard for their dreams to come true.
There was time when Matt was in town in Colorado Springs for a training camp that we had at the Olympic training center. He showed some great technique, and I was able to have some great training sessions with him while he was out at our camp. As we were talking with some of his old team mates, who were also out in Colorado Springs, they began talking about one of their old friends. This friend had gone through a divorce and was with quite a younger woman. Matt and his friends were lamenting that their old friend had wrecked his previous marriage and that it was too bad for his ex wife and kids because they really liked them. During the conversation it came up that I was getting married in the upcoming fall. He gave me some marriage advice that I will never forget. It was very direct, and it actually caught me off guard and made me laugh a little. He said, “Oh you’re getting married? Let me give you some advice. Don’t bang whores.” It was simple, but apparently there are plenty of people who have a hard time with that. Infidelity causes plenty of divorces and break ups every year. I’m not judging anybody for the way that they choose to live their life. I know what my marriage commitment means to me, and as long as I focus on how I can treat my wife with love and respect, I think that we will be okay.
I have followed Matt’s advice and it has worked out well for me. I have been married to an amazing woman for 7 years who has given me two amazing daughters, and I hope that she sticks around for plenty more. She has been with me through all of the ups and downs and never complained about me being an athlete who was chasing my dreams around the world. She even flew half way across the world to see me wrestle in one of my last competitions, but that is a whole different story that I will have to tell another time.
We all have routines. Just think about it, whether the things that you do right when you wake up are positive or negative, you still have a routine. It’s like we can’t help ourselves but to do the same things over and over and over again. When you are able to recognize that you do have routines, that is when you are able to shape them to your liking. This is something that I have really tried to work on lately with myself and a little bit with my kids.
This is what my morning routine has looked like in the recent past: I wake up at 5am, use the bathroom, look at facebook (I know in a previous post I said I wasn’t going to waste time on FB, but its tough) in the bathroom, find some workout clothes, drive to work. I didn’t realize that this was my routine until I read an article on being intentional about your routine. Then I realized, wow, there is probably something better to be looking at every morning. So this is my new routine: wake up at 5am, read some inspirational reading material, kneel down and pray, review my goals, find some workout clothes, drive to work. I know that the change isn’t huge, but I feel like it has made a significant difference in my life. I like my routine and its manageable.
Sure there are times when I catch myself drifting back into my old routine, but I am doing my best to stay on track. My next challenge to mastering my routine is finding a way to blog more frequently. I love blogging. It’s fun and it is amazing some of the people who you end up coming in contact with all because of a blog. This post will be post number 189 so I see that post number 200 is within reach. I would like to get to post number 1000 some day, but one step at a time just like everything else.
Thanks for reading. Good luck with your routine. I hope it is one that you are consciously choosing and are happy with.