This idea takes me back to when “The Secret” was all the rage. As someone chasing after his dreams, I was constantly gifted the book. I was told it would change my life, and that visualization could and most probably would determine my fate. I can say from personal experience that if you are committed to something, whether it be a marriage, the Olympics, becoming a managing partner at your firm, or even a home owner, it is possible to achieve because you work hard for it. But I have also grown enough to know that the idea that the ability all lies within you is a load of crap.
We rely on people for everything. I’ll choose from my own examples here and discuss home ownership. Unless you’re paying cash that you’ve earned yourself, you rely on others to get you into the home of your dreams. You rely on a cunning real estate agent to get you into the home and neighborhood of your choice. You rely on the bank to officiate your mortgage and loans. You rely on credit score companies, who I still don’t think even exist, to make sure your numbers are all okay. You rely on movers to carry your couch from one place to another. And, of course, you rely on other people to sell you their home, build you a home, and have the whole process that you’re going through to go equally sublimely for them.
Going to the Olympics is a tough job that not many people will ever fully understand or experience. It is also a job that relies on other people, no matter how perfectly you perform. I am an Olympic hopeful for one year from now, and due to my own choices, I am sitting on a couch while my countrymen are competing at the World Figure Skating Championships, which is the event that decides the amount of spots each country will have for next February’s games. The maximum number of entries is three, the minimum is zero, and I am sitting here banking on two less experienced American men placing between places one and 12 or 12 and 25 to determine whether we have one, two, or three placements. If we do only achieve one spot for the Olympics, which is a possibility, that means that next January during our Olympic qualification event, the entire United States community of men’s skaters will be fighting for one spot. I rely on these guys to ensure that I even have the option of competing in my third Olympics, let alone sporting politics, judges, training costs, possible death, or Jesus striking me down for some horrible sin I have yet to commit.
I often write about the necessity for a strong team of people around you, whatever your life’s direction. Your team can stretch from one to a billion people (if you’re Lady Gaga), but the simple fact that as a community, humans can achieve very little on their own is slightly discouraging. We all want to believe that anything is possible, but without standing on someone else’s shoulders or believing in another human’s conviction, talents or ability, you go inches instead of miles. If you have cancer, do you diagnose and treat yourself, or rely on a medical professional to save you? If you are on trial, do you not have to trust a lawyer to fight for you regardless of your personal guilt?
I am a believer in God, Chanel, and, above all, myself, but I never forget who I’ve had to rely on, overpower or step on to become everything I could be and will be. A good Russian friend of mine said to me once, while discussing a powerful man both in Russia and the Soviet Union, “He is happy and powerful, but for him to become happy and powerful, imagine the amount of dead bodies he had to walk over.” Believe in yourself, but expect some help along the way.