Success Is Easy–All It Takes Is Hard(er) Work

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Licensed for 21 years

Attorney in Paramus, NJ

Post submitted by Thomas LaGreca of Callagy Law.

Original Post Here: 

Cael Sanderson is currently the head
wrestling coach at Penn State. Since he began coaching there, Penn State has
won 5 National Team Championships in the past 6 years. After winning 4 National Championships his
first 4 years there as head coach, Penn State lost the year before last, and re-gained
the title this past season.

I had heard
stories about Cael Sanderson over the years—how he trained incessantly year
after year–and was struck by one story my son told me when he was wrestling in
high school. My son’s high school coach,
in an attempt to inspire his wrestlers at St. Joseph’s Regional High School in
Montvale, New Jersey,
showed a video about Cael Sanderson. Cael Sanderson was undefeated in college,
with a record of 159-0 and won 4 National Championships. In the video the St. Joseph’s coach showed
his wrestlers, Cael Sanderson, shortly after winning one of his National
Championships, apparently had a bite to eat—well-deserved of course—and then
immediately started training for the next season. I thought to myself, “Relax a little. Go see a movie. Play some video games.” But then I realized, it was no accident or
coincidence, nor was it fate or destiny, nor luck, serendipity, or any other
name for good fortune that brought him the success he achieved, and continues
to achieve. It is pure, unmitigated hard
work and dedication, always beyond even the most dedicated wrestlers around him. He took nothing for granted. He believed he had room for improvement, no
matter how successful he had been, and simply worked, and worked, and worked
some more, and continues to do so, knowing there is always more room for more

So, what are
we to make of this? Okay, Cael Sanderson
was a great wrestler and now a great wrestling coach, and he achieved his
success through a great deal of hard work. We are not all as dedicated as he is or perhaps as crazy to be so obsessed
with something as to dedicate our entire being to it the way did and does. Tell me something that is not obvious!

Well, you
might come away from this with the moral that hard work and dedication pay off
or are important to success. You might
think it is necessary to always strive to improve. And both of those are noble lessons to have
learned from the example of Cael Sanderson.

I have a
slightly different take. I come away
from his example not thinking that success is hard, but that success is
easy! But by easy I am not suggesting
you can be lazy and succeed. Success is
easy because, for the most part, all you need to do is work harder than
everybody else, and, in most instances, that is not difficult to do. I understand that Cael Sanderson had more
going for him with wrestling than simple hard work. So many things go into the level of success
he enjoyed—the very highest level, a level that Sports Illustrated regarded as
the second greatest college athletic achievement in history, behind Jesse Owens who set four world records in
one afternoon. But for the great
majority of us, achieving success among our peers requires simply an increment
over and above their performance. It
need not be a very great increment either. It only needs to be enough to enable us to stand out. We stand out by performing beyond those
around us. Perform over and above and
you will succeed over and above. It
really is that simple.

Too often,
people follow the pack, falling in line with the expectations of their peers,
and succumbing to the pressures not to do too much. That is fine if you do not want to
succeed. In fact, that is a sure-fire formula
for not succeeding. But if you do want
to succeed and, indeed, excel, just raise the bar above the expectations of
your peers and colleagues, not even necessarily by much, and success will come
swifter than you can imagine, perhaps not in the form of 4 National
Championships and an undefeated record, but at least enough to earn a raise or
a promotion or your supervisor’s recognition.

Success is
easy—all it takes is hard(er) work. After
re-capturing the National Championship for Penn State this past season, Cael
Sanderson was quoted as saying, “We’re happy, but we leave here ready to
improve, and build . . . . We’re happy
we won, but we are excited about the future also.” I wonder how many other coaches at his level
say that. My guess is that virtually any other coach would savor the moment,
enjoy the high note he was on, and pay no mind to the next season for
awhile. Not Cael Sanderson.

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