Coach’s Note: On Submission

by Craig Hysell

Aristotle once postulated that we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not a matter of luck or act, but a matter of habit. So to then is submission.

There is a philosophy that attends well to The Art of Suffering. It is often quoted as “choose the wrench” and comes from the movie Good Will Hunting. When the protagonist’s abusive foster father presented him with choice of a belt, a stick or a wrench to get beaten with, Will always chose the wrench. Why? Because, fuck his foster father, that’s why.


Life wants to beat you down. Your body wants to be lazy. People may despise you if you break away and go after what you want.

You want to think that success is for the genetically gifted or the lucky few. You are afraid to try, to really try, because your ego will not let you “fail”. Ironically, in the long run, the only way you truly fail is if you never try at all. You are afraid to work because work, true work not just work to get by, is hard and results are never guaranteed. You are afraid of going after your dream because the unknown is a scary place; you have excuses, which you cover up as “reasons” why you “can’t”, and you have no confidence in your ability to succeed.

Your habit is submission.

Your life is a gift and it is for time. Eventually the clock will run out. Will you die full of fear and regret or will you die content and proud? Everybody says they want to be excellent or great. Few have the audacity to try. Even fewer still have the patience, humility and perseverance to succeed. And those that do possess the will to stay humble and learn, as well as suffer and scrap to the end to get what they desire, have earned every right to stand on top of their mountain (whatever that Mountain may be for the individual) while the Others (the weak) point a finger in awe or in criticism of the “impossibility” of such a feat.

You must never submit. You must choose the wrench. You must practice at being great every day. You will fall short time and again, but even still, if you continuously have the audacity to claw at the rubble of what each “failure” brings, you will still climb. One day you will get there. You will be an “overnight success” which took you all your life to become.

Do you want that? Or do you just say you want that? Are you prepared for that? If not, then why try at all? Choose excellence or do not. To merely play at excellence only results in lies and a fragile cover up of mediocrity.

Practice with intelligence and intensity: missing one of these virtues will result in falling short. Like a noble farmer monotonously tending his crop, you must do the hard, unglamorous work of cultivating these virtues with care in your daily practice. Learn from your “failures”; if you have learned how can it be called a failure? Laugh at your critics, your detractors, your band wagon jumping copy artists. They are there for your amusement. They do not understand. How could they? Their lives are that of sheep. Their voices might as well be the bleating of an animal. They are a joke.

All your life people, places and old habits will fight every inch of that which you want to change in the struggle to better yourself. Will you submit?

Every workout you do you will have the choice to better yourself or stay comfortable. Will you submit?

Every day your ego will get in the way of what is best for you in the long term. Will you submit?

When an animal lays on its back and shows its belly, it submits. Will you lay on the floor after your workout or will you will yourself to stand when you don’t want to and walk that shit off? Will you submit?

Will you remain patient when you are upset and listen to what Life is shouting at you or will you give in to your emotion and react? Will you submit?

Will you turn around at The Obstacle or will you find a way around or through? Will you submit?

Will you listen to your heart and have the courage to try? Or will you submit?

Will you have the courage to try intelligently or will you go in with reckless abandon, get mauled and turn away, telling yourself and everybody else you “gave it your best shot”? Will you submit?

Will you be accountable for your own decisions or will you tell yourself and everybody else it is this or that’s fault? Will you submit?

Will you allow yourself to learn that life is not about beating others, it is about bettering yourself? Or will you submit to hubris?

Will you listen to what you do not want to hear? Will you self analyze or will you be too proud, too afraid to look in the mirror? Will you submit?

Will you have the courage to act on your beliefs no matter the cost? Will you submit?

Will you possess the discipline, the fortitude and the wit to do your This for as long as it takes? Or will you submit?

Will you choose comfort? Will you submit? Or will you choose the wrench?


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