Searching for Greatness
So often it feels as though we view success as the product of a math equation. We are told which steps to follow, how to execute those steps, and we come to believe that if we complete that roadmap, success is the destination. The idea that success will come to us if we act exactly according to some predetermined grand plan can be both appealing and frustrating. On the one hand, it is easy for us as human beings to attempt to quantify an abstract entity so ubiquitously coveted as success. We desire to be successful, to rise to the top of our field, to be proud of our talents. A clear set of rules and prescribed actions makes the idea of success seem much more attainable. On the other hand, following the same pattern of behavior as every other person attempting to achieve the same goal can also be extremely frustrating or even stifling.
In the film In Search of Greatness, top athletes such as Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, and Jerry Rice discuss their individual journeys that brought them to success in their respective fields. The film emphasizes that each journey was just that, individual; individuality is what makes creativity possible. The film highlights that human beings are not robots and we cannot attempt to quantify everything that we do. As a major fan of hockey, I was particularly interested in Wayne Gretzky's story. Gretzky emphasizes that along his journey there were times when coaches would attempt to control every aspect of his game, to make him play according to the cookie-cutter prescription of what would theoretically create a great hockey player. But, as Gretzky notes, he wasn't the fastest or the strongest, and there were many players who would score better in the combine fitness tests. Yet, he is the player whose name we all remember. The best athlete is not always the tennis player who hits the ball the hardest, the dancer who can jump the highest, or the gymnast who can bench the heaviest weights. Gretzky and all of the other athletes in the film emphasize their artistry and creativity alongside their athleticism. Gretzky left behind those coaches and teams that he felt stifled his creativity within the sport he was so passionate about, and he attributes his great success to this fearless decision to push the boundaries and carve his own path.
Often we can feel boxed in by our desire to be successful. We try to emulate the paths that others have taken before us or try to match the efforts and practices of others in our field. But we must remember that we are not machines, nor would our efforts be fruitful if we were. We crave success because it is the fruition of our personal journeys. Enjoy the childlike spirit of exploration, artistic creativity, and discovery, and don't be afraid to think outside the rink.
Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT
Editor-in-Chief • email@example.com