Happiness is Pursuing the Personal Record “PR”

Probably one of the greatest football speeches ever is made by Coach D’Amato (Played by Al Pachino) in Any Given Sunday. “We’re in hell right now gentlemen… and we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell one inch at a time”… “You find out, life’s this game of inches” … “The inches we need are everywhere around us”…. “On this team, we fight for that inch”… “because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing”. “Between living and dying”

Watch the whole speech here. Even if you don’t like football, just watch.

Inches do not have to be in a football game, a gym or a playing field. The inches in life are all around us. They are in every facet of life if we stop and look for them. The inches we speak of make us better, more productive but most important happier and more satisfied people! Go get your inches every day!

Now….. I ask you….. what are YOU going to do? What inches are YOU going to strive for? Because when you add up all those inches they quickly start to make a happier and more fulfilling life.

Goals are great! They are an essential component to a successful life. Reaching goals makes us happy! But imagine a lifestyle where we truly derive satisfaction from and celebrate every inch of the way to the goal! Where each successful “step in the right direction” make us just a little bit better, a little bit stronger, a little bit more unstoppable, and a little bit happier.

I’ll use martial arts as an example. 

White Belt Number 1 – “My goal is to be a 10th degree Black Belt”

White Belt Number 2 – “My goal is to be the best martial artist I can be and to get better and better every day”

Who is going to be the better martial artist? Who is going to get more out of their training? Who is going to have the drive to get out of bed and fight for greatness every day? Who is going to go further in their martial arts career? Which of these martial artists do you think will make it to the tiny percentage of people that start training in martial arts to an actual 10th degree black belt? But most importantly, who is going to be the happier martial artist?

It took me 4 years to get a college degree with a double major. It took me 6 years to become a Black Belt (and not even an awesome one at that!)

The first day I set foot on the mats at Newport Martial Arts I was 35, smoked, drank too much on a weekly basis, carried too much weight and stress as I have most of my life and was uninclined to do anything particularly aerobic. About seven years of hard work and baby steps later, I became a Black Belt.

As a martial artist, it took me a long time to understand that the true joy, where the true satisfaction comes from is not in the goal, it is in the journey. When I kneeled on the mats, sweaty and bruised after a long weekend of early mornings of hell testing for my 1st Degree Black Belt and our Grandmaster told us we would, in fact, be moving up in rank, nothing happened. No confetti fell from the ceiling. No fireworks shot from the sidelines. There was silence. Deafening silence. There didn’t need to be any commotion. The Black Belt, although it was a goal, was just a belt. The journey to achieve that rank was what was important. Each kick, each kata, each sparring match along the way were where the celebration should have taken place in my heart and in my mind. Those are the celebrations that make us happier people!

There is nothing that you can not achieve if you can embrace the concept of enjoying the journey and celebrating each personal record along the way. Enjoy the journey. Get the most out of the journey. But most importantly, live the journey in the moment not just for the end goal because as Coach D’Amato said “Life is this game of inches”.

Every PR is another inch in life. It’s an inch on whatever path you are on. They are worth celebrating. They get me up every morning. They keep me fighting every day. They make me… unstoppable.

A PR does not have to take place in the gym. Gym enthusiasts also use the term “Life PR”…. It is the Life PR that we strive for here. Both in and out of the gym.

PRs can apply to anything. Sure, an easy to define PR is a new maximum bench press. But the number of life PRs is endless. Maybe it is something as simple as going an entire day without eating candy, then two days, then three days. Maybe it has to do with exercise, maybe not. It may have to do with work, home, family, friends, it doesn’t really matter. What matter is that we set, strive for and enjoy the life PR!

Happiness comes from the PR. Don’t wait for the end goal to be happy. Celebrate the PR! Seek out new PRs all the time! Each inch brings you closer to being the best human being you can be. Each inch makes you a better person. Each inch brings more happiness and satisfaction!

What inch are you going to gain today? What is your next PR? What are your next 5 PRs?

Kent Dresser


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