A couple of days ago, I was thinking about lessons from wrestling, economics of comparative advantage and business. In a conversation over the phone with my son, Sammy, last night (business travel sucks), I realized that he is already applying these strategies to his life.
Sammy is great. He is an exuberant, extroverted, bright, fun, caring, and sensitive kid. What I think is truly special about him, is his enthusiasm and willingness to work fiercely as the underdog to “take his healthy bite”. It is easiest to see in athletics. Sammy loves sports and teams, but is not a natural athlete. He has never been the fastest kid on the field. He never picked up a ball, racquet, bat, stick, glove or skate that came easy. He does not instinctively “read the field” and anticipate where he should be. But he does hustle hard, smile the most, celebrate his friends and he does work.
In an earlier post, I described how Sammy and I drill tennis. Our hitting sessions are fun. He is focused on improving his game. He works hard on the “basics”; moving his feet, preparing his racquet, adjusting his swing and following through. He does not shy away from the repetition and he does not get (too) frustrated when it does not “click”. I admire his effort and focus, especially when it does not come easily. I love the fact that he has so much fun, and that his hours are paying off.
Sammy and I have experienced the same lesson of the underdog when we stated running. My wife, Tracey, is a tireless runner. She gets up ridiculously early each morning to go run 5 or 6 miles. When she gets back, Sammy and I go run 2 miles together (when my travel schedule permits). We started running at Sammy’s suggestion. He wanted to get faster, so we started. He now runs in the dark, in the rain and in the cold. Again, it does not come easily – just getting to two miles was hard, getting faster has been harder. He loves the John Irving quote and has tremendous heart and takes great pride in his improvements.
For Sammy, focus is about happiness, joy and enthusiasm. It is his core strength and his comparative advantage and he seems to know it. He seems to understand that true enjoyment and enthusiasm is contagious – it makes him a great part of a team, of a classroom and makes him a great friend. It comes naturally from his core – but that I try my best to foster it.
I guess the punch line is that I am proud of my son; that he is unafraid of his deficiencies and is aware of his assets and does not shy away from things that are enjoyable but challenging. He is about to be 10 years old and I think he is developing great strategies for his life.