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How I Learned to Love the Friction that Comes With Goal Achievement

“My legs were on fire, dragging limp behind the upper half of my body. I was physically shaking.”

“YOU LOVE THIS SH*T!” my former coach roared as loads of saliva spouted from his mouth, dried dip spit staining his chin.

There were about nine of us out there on our old high school’s football field. It was the offseason — the Summer between my freshmen and sophomore years of college. I had rounded up a group of other college football players to get some offseason training in.

We all agreed it’d be a good idea to call one of our high school coaches to facilitate our workout session. As expected, he jumped on the opportunity to yell at a bunch of his former players — strictly out of love, of course.

The agenda? Prowler pushes — that is, pushing 630 lbs (285.7+ kg) across 100 yards (91.5 meters) of hot-as-shit turf.

The sun was beaming, the humidity unbearable

I most certainly did NOT “love this sh*t.”

I actually freaking hated every step of it.

It was towards the end of the session and I was absolutely drenched in sweat, as were the others. My legs were on fire, dragging limp behind the upper half of my body. I was physically shaking.

I kinda wanted to tell my coach to go get some cleats and try to push this damn weight himself, but then again, it was my idea to call him up in the first place.


“Think you boys could do one more? asked our coach.

This wasn’t a question. Oh, no. This was a command:

Do one more.

I swear I didn’t hear myself, but I apparently the words “No shot in hell”slipped out from under my breath.

And coach heard it.

Uh oh…

“I thought you loved football, Jack?”

“I — ”

“You what? You ‘do love football’ but you hate prowler pushes?”

He stole the words from out of my mouth.

“That’s exactly the attitude that’ll get you no where.”

I felt a speech coming on and by the looks on everyone else’s face, so did they.

“Let me paint a picture for you, Jack. You want some playing time as a sophomore next season, don’t you?”

I nodded. My goal was to make a spot for myself on the varsity roster.

“Okay.” he continued.

“So get this: You’ve just won the National Championship. Good for you. After the initial hoorays and hoorahs of everybody in the stadium, you take a moment to close your eyes and soak it all up. How do you feel at that moment?”

“Accomplished.” I said without hesitation.

“Oh you do? Well, how come?” he asked innocently.

“Because all of my hard work finally paid off?” I responded, with one of those half-statement, half-question, absolutely no confidence-type answers.

“Good! And what hard work was rewarded?” He prodded.

“Seriously?” I said, noticeably more annoyed.

“Answer the question, Jack.” His tone changed. I straightened up.

“What hard work was rewarded?”

“ALL OF IT.” I said sternly. “All of my time lifting and running and studying the playbook and diet and every other freaking thing I’ve done for the past 8 mo — ”

“EXACTLY” He cut me off.

“All of those things — the late nights, the intense training — all of it got you to where you are. Everything that you hated doing made you a National Champion. Why? Because they taught you that nothing comes easy. They taught you how to grow. They taught you how to handle adversity and how to learn from your mistakes.”

His point was becoming clear to me. He continued:

“Everything you want to accomplish in life, every goal you want to achieve, comes with an impossible list of challenges.”

“Learn to love prowler pushes, Jack. Learn to love 6 A.M. meetings. Love max-out weeks in the weight room. Love sprints. Love sleepless nights before games. Love pushing your body to the ultimate limit, both mentally and physically.”

“Love and embrace every challenge you face on the way to reaching your goals — you wouldn’t make it there without them.”

I didn’t say anything in response. How could I?

The other guys were just as quiet as I was.

He blew the whistle and I began to push.

Only this time, loving every step of it.

Love the friction that comes along with goal achievement. That friction is the essence of accomplishment.

Thanks for reading :)



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Jack Martin

Jack Martin


Writer, marketer, and semi-famous on TikTok || contact: || Published in @FastCompany, @AppleNews, @BusinessInsider