Ben Jackson was born with cerebral palsy. At the time, doctors questioned whether he would ever walk or have the opportunity to experience and enjoy life. Many assumed he would be confined to a wheelchair and unable to interact with the world around him. Fortunately, Ben chose not to listen.
In the video below, you can hear from Ben and see what he has been able to accomplish.
What I like most about this story is how Ben refused to quit after failing countless times. He did not win a single wrestling match his entire first season. No one would have blamed him if he stopped wrestling at that time. Just getting out there to compete was already a victory. Ben had already accomplished more than anyone could have initially imagined.
That was not good enough for Ben however. He wasn’t on the mats to please others. He wanted to win and was not going to stop until it happened. He knew that it would not be easy, but he also recognized that nothing worth having is easy to acquire. Consequently, Ben trained harder than ever. He stayed up late to study video and refused to give up no matter how many times he failed.
Ben was also cognizant of his smaller victories. For instance, he mentioned that lasting a few extra seconds in a match was an early sign of progress. I think it is safe to say that we could all learn from this example. Instant gratification is a myth. If you want to accomplish something significant, you must recognize that failure is inevitable. Whether you succeed will almost always depend on how well you deal with failure. You can either hang your head low or stand up and learn from each step of your journey.
Each loss provided Ben with a valuable learning experience. If he had not endured that first challenging season, he would have never learned what was necessary to win. Fortunately, Ben exhibited the type of perseverance that is rarely found in today’s world. It is much more common for ordinary people to make excuses when they fail. Some people just cannot accept that more work needs to be done. It is much easier to give up and assume that it isn’t meant to be.
These people fail to realize that nothing is meant to be. Things happen based on what you do. No one is owed anything, nor is anyone guaranteed anything. You need to repeatedly show up and earn what you desire. Ben Jackson proved this harsh, but truthful reality on the wrestling mat, and now hopes to do the same in the weight room.
I certainly would not bet against him. I look forward to seeing Ben Jackson compete in 2016.
“In every match I would get closer to success, even if that meant being on the mat for an extra second than I was in my previous match.” – Ben Jackson