12.02.2009

Dear Naysayers Part II: "We Won't Give Up. We Accept The Challenge. Do You?"

by Jesse Muhammad

It's Wednesday morning. It's the middle of the week. You made it.

You jumped out of the blocks, from a holiday weekend, ready tackle the tasks of this week. Nothing too big for you to handle.

You're a giant yourself.

You have your game face on. You're prepared to dominate your opponent no matter who or what it is. Everything seems to be going your way. You can't seem to "miss a shot" like Reggie Miller in a zone against the Knicks. You're knocking out goals like Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao.

Then it happens.

You make a mistake, you drop the ball, you miss a deadline or you fall short of your goal. Soon your confident demeanor is shaken. Your countenance has fallen. You become a different person in an instance because instead of embracing the opportunity in the adversity, you become paralyzed by internal fear and insecurity.

Wait! This is a critical moment and decision you have to make. I've been at this juncture before.

When I was trying out for the high school basketball team at Forest Brook High School in Houston as a freshman, I knew I had the skills. I was a basketball junkie. Watching, recording and studying countless televised games. Before my mother bought me a real goal, I was practicing all day on a milk crate nailed to a tree.

The first day of tryouts came. I stepped on the court. I was ready.

Then it happened. I missed every shot I put up. My defense was wack. I was on the verge of losing an opportunity to make the team. There was only one more day left to show what I could do. But my mind was disturbed. I started doubting my abilities. I didn't share my fears with anyone, not even my family members. It was over, right?

Well almost.

That night I was going to the gym to workout with my older brother Deric Muhammad. He was playing an audio tape of a man that was speaking about how we as human beings always give up when things get a little hard. I asked my brother,"Is that Martin Luther King?"

He said," No sir, that's Minister Farrakhan".

I didn't know much about him, but what I heard on that audio tape was just what I needed at that moment. "Most of you want something given to you on a silver platter. You do not want to struggle to achieve greatness," said Min. Farrakhan.

I said to myself, "Dang, is that me?"

Then his voice got real thunderous as he said,"When I accept the challenge, I prepare to whip my enemy. I have never lost no kind of contest. Because when I accept the challenge, I do not intend to punk out."

I said to myself, "I'm making that team tomorrow."

Suffice it to say I made the freshman team. I went on to become a starter on the varsity team for the next three years. All because of that one tape, which I actually listened to before most of my high school games from then on. True story

Don't let the adversity of striving for greatness, mastery or perfection stop you. The adversity is what makes it worth doing. Roll over the roadblocks. Internalize what you need to combat the naysayers.

So again, we would like to dedicate this blog to all of the naysayers. We can't hear you because we're too busy achieving greatness and leaving our mark.

We won't give up. We accept the challenge.

Will you join us naysayers?