Wrestling with Myself 2: I Thought I was Better than This!
I've been wrestling a lot with my choices lately. That's a really polite way of saying that I've been fucking up.
My priorities have been very different from what I've been telling people that they are. It's the reason I've been feeling unsettled. When the walk doesn't match the talk, it's time to shut up and get your steps in order.
So often we know in our hearts what's right for us, what will actually push us forward; but that push isn't always comfortable. Who am I kidding? It's never comfortable.
It's been relatively easy for me to reach a certain level of success on the sheer strength of my talent. Let's face it, I'm hilarious. And my story and style are unique enough to get me some attention. That's why I have a successful live comedy album (listen here!) and have performed on some of the dopest stages across the country.
But without a proper system of discipline, follow-up, commitment to my dreams, and willingness to sacrifice, that level of success quickly turns into a plateau of pretty good.
I know I'm not alone. There are plenty of really talented people looking around like, "What the hell happened? Why am I still at [insert the job you hate or your parents' address if you're living at home or the address of your lame-ass life partner and their 13 roommates]?"
Spoiler alert: talent matters -- but not as much as the decisions you make along the way to your alleged dreams.
What do you truly value?
Do you want to be a household name?
Do you want to get laid all the time?
Do you want to be high all the time?
Do you want to have a comfortable home life?
Do you want to party like a rockstar?
Do you want to earn millions?
Do you want to be comfortable?
The bitch of it all is that there's no right answer to any of these hard questions. None of them is more valid than the other, but they don't all play nice with each other.
We must make choices. And not choosing is a choice in itself. It's OK to not reach the top of whatever mountain you start to climb; but it's not OK to claim you want to reach the summit then spend zero time actually hiking.
I don't feel like I've been hiking lately. What I say I want and what the record shows I've been doing are too often two different things. The choices I'm (not) making about how to spend my time and whom to spend it with are not congruent with the goals I claim to have for myself. So which one is the lie -- me or my claims?
Wrestling this question is like facing an opponent who knows me like I know myself. (If I had actually seen Will Smith's Gemini Man I totally would've used it as a reference here, but 🤷♂️).
I can't lie to this opponent; that's pointless. I cannot out run it. It will show no mercy. It will not shake my hand after a loss. It's finishing move is a truth powerbomb.
You really want to work that club? How many emails have you sent the booker?
You really want to be a headliner? How many fans are you engaging with and bringing to your shows?
You really want to write a book or a screenplay that actually gets sold? But are you writing every day?
You really want a chiseled body? But you're gonna sit here and eat all those fries though?
The beauty of pro-wrestling is that the outcomes are predetermined. "Winning and losing" aren't really about who pins who, but how you get yourself over -- how you connect with your audience. In fact, the path to almost any success in virtually any compelling wrestling storyline involves walking that hero's journey full of almosts and close calls before finally breaking through and grabbing the brass ring. (For classic example, google Shawn Michaels' boyhood dream).
So if winning fans not matches is what makes a superstar a superstar, how do we do that? Some wrestlers get shitty material to work with. Some of us get shitty life circumstances to work with. Many times in both cases the people making decisions don't recognize how valuable we are even though it's been in plain sight for years. It's so easy to get bitter. But to win, we've got to get better instead.
I've been wrestling with the fact that I need to raise my game several levels even though I feel like it's already better than most. It's a hard, nasty pill to swallow, but sometimes you'll have to be more than better than someone else to get to the same place in life. You may have to be doubly or triply good. Or you may have to make a new place that hasn't been made altogether.
Getting over, in wrestling and in life, requires consistent effort and reevaluation of skills. It takes sacrifice - shunning other equally valid or meaningful priorities in pursuit of your goal. It demands to be #1 in your life or it will frustrate you with how close yet so far it is until you either give up or give up everything ranked higher on the list.
I've been wrestling with how much I want what I say I want, with how much I value my dreams over the Facebook/instagram/porn loop or or smoking (too much) weed or actually putting hard work in or watching wrestling live 3x a week. The odds of success are so low; it's easy to feel defeated and give in to patterns that keep me trapped where I am.
But today I choose to pick myself up off the mat, dramatically at a 2-count of course. I choose to be confident, based on the fact that I've won before. I choose to put in hard work, based on the fact that I've seen it pay off before. I choose to keep fighting, based on the fact that boyhood dreams can come true not just for sweaty white guys with mullets at Wrestlemania - but for us too.
What are you wrestling with today and what are you doing to kick that thing's ass?
Share your struggles and successes with me in the comments. And please share this your friends who are wrestling with their own stuff. Let's grow stronger together!