The Startup Life: 3 Ways to Start Winning

Mr. Mullet

3 Ways to Start Winning

A pro athlete’s secret on how to bounce back faster
Ricky Carter Unsplash
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."~ John F. Kennedy

Winning at the highest level really takes self-awareness of how one should handle external pressure. It’s gonna be there, no matter what. To succeed, you have to learn how you deal with it-- how you train, how you work out, how you coach, how you lead, or how you make a system for your goals.

Losing should never linger for too long. The best athletes in the world bounce back quickly. They don't linger on losses. They don't stay stuck in the muck of bad feelings. They start competing again, as soon as they can!

The moment they can start working again. The moment they can control something about what they do, they do it. They handle the pressure. Take the big shot. Invite the challenge.

That’s how you become a champion.

I’ve lost thousands of games before realizing my dream of playing professional basketball. Bouncing back is about applying virtuous values like self-awareness, grit, resilience, and passion, healthy habits, work ethic, and dedication. Living aware of what your values are and how to live in accordance with them is one of the most important qualities successful athletes, startups, humans, and/or parents can do to start cultivating better results.

The three things I did to bounce back and start winning:

  1. Give up if you don’t love it or aren’t insatiably curious about it. Motivation is different than love, or passion, or purpose. There were things I hated about improving at basketball, but they were usually the things that made me much better. With anything that requires extreme motivation, the system of habits is more important than the daily “passion” or “purpose” you feel.
  2. Find someone that challenges you. This is the champion of your craft. Keep challenging them to whatever you want to compete in. Competition isn’t bad, it’s the growth mindset in full effect. Chase them until you beat them, and then start looking for the next champion to challenge.
“Competition holds the promise to bring out the very best in us, and that’s why we should seek it out. The word comes from the Latin root peto, which means ‘to go out and seek.’ The prefix com means ‘with’ or ‘together.’ Thus, competition is a social process that requires others. You can’t do it by yourself.” — Brian Johnson

3. Obsess over your comebacks and the habits you’ll need for success. If failing your high school dream crushes the magic, realize, you are still the magic. You are the one that lights the wick. You are the motor. The clock. The bomb. The jet fuel starts on the inside. Stop looking for validation and start learning how to make a smarter comeback.

Losing can create motivation (so can winning, so can tying, so can a lot of things, so use whatever it is that inspires you). Remember, competition is good. Use competition to improve.

In the Stoic sense, your struggle will define who you ultimately become.

The truth is, I’d probably not have reached the heights of a 12-year professional basketball player without my parent’s divorce and numerous injuries and setbacks throughout my career. It taught me how to respond to something I had no control over, to grow through even what I thought maybe the worst thing to ever happen to me.

Would I have been able to answer life’s constant new challenges if I’d never learned how to respond to the earlier unfortunate events of my life?
Would I be happier if I’d never had adversity, pain, or suffering?

Stoicism has a way of showing us how to live and choose our attitudes better. And this is what I typically write about: how to improve our lives, how to learn from sports failures and turn them into life lessons through figuring out how to gain more of what we value most.

This Stoic awareness is one that many successful athletes learn on their journey. They take something away from failure, struggle, and suffering — that effort, attitude, and grit persevere.

That’s the secret to how you bounce back faster and start winning again — the right way.

To be Stoic in startup life, parents, teachers, athletes, and mentors must approach the challenges, setbacks, and smallest of problems in a certain way.

Seneca said, “There is no easy way from Earth to the stars.”

Consequently, some of the greatest minds and leaders to ever walk our Earth — Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, even Viktor Frankl — have practiced the old wisdom of Stoicism, which was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. Over time, the words of Aurelius and Seneca, of George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin stopped being talked about in our classrooms.

What if we aren’t learning or teaching our kids how to deal with challenges and adversity? And the truth is, we (the adults, parents, coaches, and mentors), may be able to teach our kids something infinitely more powerful than any classroom could.

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” — Seneca

If Stoicism’s aim is to help people live a better life, why did we stop studying it in our schools? Why did parents, coaches, and teachers stop learning about their valued principles? Most people would agree on living and giving our kids a better life is always a good goal. A better marriage, better health, a better mind, and a better job would be desirable right? So wouldn’t it be wise to practice the principles of philosophy that taught you how?

“Of all the people only those are at leisure who make time
for philosophy, only they truly live. Not satisfied to merely keep good watch over their own days, they annex every age to their own. All the harvest of the past is added to their store. Only an ingrate would fail to see that these great architects of venerable thoughts were born for us and have designed a way of life for us.” — Seneca

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Mr. Mullet tells us European how pro sports, love to life lessons, wild travel experiences, and awakening the dreams of those stuck in the American Matrix are connected. Most importantly, Mr. Mullet lives his life like a mullet.

Chicago, IL

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