By Charles Jardine
Every single day whether we’re an athlete or not we’re challenged with adversity. Sometimes that adversity is as little as the challenge to get out of bed in the morning to make your 7 a.m. lift or your 8 a.m. class. Yet it can also be quite large when facing a team or an exam that you know you’re not prepared for.
However, if we understand how to face the little adversity then the larger adversities aren’t quite so difficult to face. In a 2014 commencement speech to the students of the University of Texas, Naval Adm. William McRaven gave 10 life lessons that can help us face our adversities, the first five will be presented here.
His first lesson is to make your bed. A seemingly simple task that many of us, including myself, are not bothered to do most of the time. His reasoning here is simple: making your bed is a task you should not fail at; therefore, it is a task you will complete. When you complete a task, no matter how big or small, you feel accomplished and more ready to take on the day.
The second lesson is to work as a team. Especially as Catholics, we have to remember we cannot accomplish things out of our own volition. We rely on God and ought to rely on others as well. God gives us certain talents and strengths so that we can excel at many things, but we are social creatures and need others in our life. So, remember when you struggle in school, sports or just in life to reach out to your friends so they can strengthen you and help you face your adversity.
The third lesson he talks about is how you shouldn’t underestimate your opponents. No matter how well equipped you are to take on some problem or adversity, you have to be ready and prepare for that problem. In the most recent college football season, LSU lost to Texas A&M in late November. LSU on all accounts was the better football team but did not take the Aggies seriously and played their worst game of the season.
The fourth lesson is acknowledging you won’t be perfect but you must keep moving forward. McRaven in his speech shares the story of the Navy’s uniform inspections during the Navy Seals’ basic training. He shared that no matter how perfectly pressed his shirt was, how shiny his crest was or how clean cut his uniform was, there was always something wrong with it. His lesson here is that there will always be that teacher that you feel has it out for you, the coach that hates you, the drill that you just can’t get right. But you cannot let this get you down — you must push forward and continue putting your best foot forward because nothing beats hard work.
The fifth lesson is to not be afraid to fail. The moments in life we learn the most from are our failures. The best athletes, the best soldiers, the best of anything did not get to where they are without failing often. But they did not get to where they are now without pushing through the failure. Failure is not a point where we stop; it’s a point where we take a moment to learn something new and become even better than before.
Take these lessons to heart, take them to prayer and reflect on McRaven’s words. Then I challenge you as well as myself to apply at least one of these lessons into our lives and see how it will benefit us.