Life Lessons #1: The Power of Persistence

Persistence.

What does it mean to me? Never giving up, not taking no for an answer. Through blood, sweat, and tears. Sacrificing sleep, sacrificing going out, sacrificing eating.

I’ve always admired Kobe Bryant. The stories of his work ethic are legendary. Practice would be at 8am. People would come in at around 7:30am and see him dripping in sweat already. They ask how long you been here Kobe. Kobe responds 3am. He’s already got 2 workouts in and then some. He’s lifted, and done his own routine and then practices with the team. After practice he ices down, gets a massage and watches game film. There really is no break for him.

Not only for basketball. Kobe recently retired and wanted to pursue venture capitalism. He met with a guy, and the guy really didn’t take him seriously. He gave him a bunch of homework such as podcasts, articles, books, and etc. The guy didn’t expect Kobe to do it all, but then he starts receiving texts and calls from Kobe at 2am commenting on one of the articles, or asking questions. The guy then starts to realize Kobe is for real.

Now I admire that Kobe’s drive isn’t limited to just Basketball. I want to apply the same drive Kobe has to everything that is important to me in my life. Apply it to all the things I have to do, the enjoyable and unenjoyable in order to reach my goals.

So here I am today to share 3 stories of Persistence (2 about myself, and 1 short story about a historical figure).

Story #1: Second Year Part Time Summer Job Search

There I was during my Second Year summer during University. Broke, not doing anything, and looking for a part time job. At the time I was training to make the basketball team. But the body has it’s physical limits, I could only workout for 2 hours a day, and play/practice basketball for 3-4. I know NBA players do that and then some, but I’m not an NBA player.

My house didn’t have Internet, and for a while the  hot water was shut off. Blackouts occurred and I was left sitting in the dark some days. Ah the memories.

I needed money, and to do something more productive with my time outside of basketball. This wasn’t going to be First year summer again where I spent it playing League of Legends all day.

So the search for a part time job began. In reality it began in April, a month before school ended, but I didn’t find a job until June-ish.

I started off applying to jobs near my University and around the area I lived. I walked up and down the streets. I got excited when the Wendy’s said they were hiring. But I didn’t receive a call back, I probably should’ve followed up looking back in hindsight. My resume was also straight trash. I think I had 2 things on there. Newspaper Boy, and Intramural Referee.

No luck.

So I bussed to the downtown area of Hamilton. I covered different malls and streets. I think the A&W was also hiring.

Nothing.

So I went to a job agency or something of the sort, filled out a couple of applications. There was this posting for a restaurant called Baranga’s on the Beach. In Stoney Creek. At the time I didn’t know that it was an hour and a half bus commute from my house. I applied. I got an interview.

Alright, so I go to the interview and I walk in. So I’m waiting, then I see 5 girls walk in who were also going to be interviewed. In my head I’m thinking alright.. not looking good. But then I was like alright I’m just going to do this interview, and then at the end I’m going to promise to work my ass off, and that they wouldn’t regret hiring me.

I spent 2 months looking for a job, finally got an interview and I wasn’t going to leave without a fight. I interviewed with one of the managers, she was very kind. I’m not sure she would’ve hired me if I didn’t have the big spiel at the end of doing any job that was available. She also was hesitant when I said I didn’t have a car. But my persistence paid off. She seemed to like me enough. I got a job as a bar back, then switched into a Food Expediter role (I just took out people’s food to them). Only god knows how I didn’t manage to burn off my fingers holding those plates. I honestly lost some nerves in my fingers probably. You’d have customers moving stuff on the table, or saying hold on, meanwhile you’re holding on to the burning sun trying not to drop their plate of food all over their head. Good times.

I remember when I got off of work at 10pm. I would have to use my friend’s longboard to get to the bus stop by 10:15pm or something. Get on the bus. Make it to this stop by like 10:45pm and transfer. Finally get home at like 11:30pm. Wake up, go train, play basketball, go to work, repeat. I would sleep on the bus.

(On my off days from work, I would download movies from the University Student Centre and after basketball go home at night and watch them. I got into Tarantino. I watched Pulp Fiction, inglorious bastards, reservoir dogs, and a bunch of other movies. Tarantino producing movies is like an artist on a canvas. Absolutely brilliant.)

Whatever. I needed money. It was a good first real job experience, and it helped me land a job at Taco Del Mar, a fast food restaurant near my University during my 3rd year. So my persistence paid off in dividends.

I remember making these insane creations at Taco Del Mar, filling up the whole plate with meat, rice, beans, veggies. Then I would take it home and eat it,It was amazing. My co-worker showed me the way.

Side Story: One time we went clubbing, this same co-worker and I met these 2 girls. So we started talking, exchanged information all that. After a while I lost interest. But then these girls started stalking me. Literally. To the library, to the basketball courts. One time I was playing basketball and I look up to the track on the second floor and I see them staring. That shit was craaazy. Funny thing now is that’s not the craziest shit I’ve experienced presently. But we’ll save that story for another day.

Story #2: How I went from not making any sports team in middle school to becoming Junior Athlete of the Year in High School

I always loved basketball. I’d play outside on my driveway every day. I remember the tryouts in Grade Six. One of my best friends in Grade  5, made this crazy almost 360, flip shot behind the head and it went in. It was not looking good at that point, as the coach was only taking 1 or 2 grade 6’s. My friend made the team. I didn’t. I tried out for Volleyball once or twice too, didn’t make it. Same thing in Grade 7 and 8.

I joined House league in Grade 8, there were invitations to try out for this rep team, so I decided to go. I somehow made the team. My skills improved drastically. But that wasn’t the catalyst for my success in high school.

It all changed when my persistence to improve led me to finding Vertical Jump Bible online. A training guide to improve your explosiveness, vertical jump, and overall strength as an athlete. It was only 2-3 sessions a week, around an hour. But the thing was you had to hold yourself accountable. I was what? 13 years old, if I slacked no one would reprimand me.

I completed the beginner training program which took around 2-3 months. I remember the first time one of the exercises asked you to do 3×100 body weight squats. My legs were screaming after 50 reps, after the 100th I collapsed. Only 2 more sets to go.

I didn’t have any fancy equipment, so I used my piano bench, my steps, different sorts of things as substitutes. It was a crazy summer. My vertical went up by almost 10 inches. I was almost touching rim, from barely being able to touch the backboard.

So I go into Grade 9, volleyball season was first followed by basketball. I have literally 0 skills at Volleyball at this point. But I could jump high, I was probably the most athletic person at the tryout at the time. That summer of training was what differentiated me. There was no guarantee of success.

I remember at one of the tryouts, I got invited to the grade 10 one. When we did the vertical jump test, everyone oo’d and awe’d when I jumped. Alula one of my very good friends was stunned, because I had small calves, which he thought was the main component of the vertical jump. I would later share with him the Holy Grail of Vertical Jump Bible, to enlighten him on the matter. (Secret: The  glutes)

I was just flying, and not hitting the ball, but kind of tapping it over the net. But the coaches at the time saw my athleticism and put me on the team. I was a work in progress. I was extremely happy. I remember the first time I attended the District Championships for the Senior team, it was our school against our rival. I have never been in a gym that was so loud. Moms brought out pans and pots. That moment will be forever stuck in my head, the years after never compared. The gym was packed. I was on rookie duties managing the snack bar, but it was still crazy. There was this one guy who could fly and hit the ball so hard it would hit the ceiling. The volleyball team was treated very well.

The summer of hard work after grade 8 payed off.

I remember in middle school when I would check to see if I made the first cut for Basketball, my name was never on the list. I was devastated. Not even good enough for first cut.

I would go on to make the Basketball team, and Badminton team (I had prior training) in high school. Eventually winning the Junior Athlete of the year award in grade 10. What a drastic change from middle school. Persistence.

 

Story #3: How Abraham Lincoln became President of the United States of America

Abraham Lincoln one of the most beloved figures in United States of America lore. He is most famously known for the emancipation proclamation. Standing at 6’3 he was a very tall man. However he wasn’t always one of the most beloved men in the country. When he was 22 he ran for State Legislator. He lost. He tried at business two times at the ages of 21 and 24/25. Both businesses failed. His second business he opened up a store in Illinois. He had to pay off the whole debt for the failed business. He lost a congressional race at the age of 34, and a senatorial position at the age of 45. He also failed to secure a Vice President nomination at the age of 47. However throughout this time he had a successful law firm that he opened up, he was involved in congress. He never gave up, he persisted. At the fine age of 52 he finally was elected the President of The United States of America.

Despite many setbacks, he kept pushing forward. That is the lesson of the day.