Doubt is Cancer: Mental Keys to High Achievement and Athletic Improvement

By: Luke Kurtz

Doubt in an individual’s mind is the cancer that kills dreams and prevents individuals pursuing and achieving their ambitious goals.

Dream big.  Starting quarterback.  All-State. College scholarship.  Professional career.  Go ahead and do it.  Set big scary goals!

Now that you have permission to have mountain sized goals, let me share the secret sauce to even have a chance to achieve that goal.  Don’t focus on the goal that inevitably compares your ability to your competition.  Instead focus on what you CAN control.  Focus on maximizing our own individual potential.  By focusing on maximizing your own potential you accomplish something that is counter intuitive.  Maximizing your potential doesn’t limit yourself to a set number or destination or ceiling (you may have the potential to be a hall of famer instead of just another pro).  Equally important, being the best you can be affords you with a realistic daily goal to do as much as you can to get better that day.  This will allow you to enjoy the process of practice and sacrifice and also allow you to live with no regrets so long as you can look back on your athletic career and know that you did everything you could to maximize your potential.

Below are my rules for success and achievement:

  1. Chase your dreams and pursue your passions.  Make sure your goals align with daily activities that you enjoy and care about deeply.  If not passionate about your craft and determined to pursue your goals, then best case scenario is that you will quit.  Worst case scenario is that you spend years of hard work pursuing a goal only to obtain it and realize that you don’t really want that thing or life.
  2. Surround yourself with people you want to be like.  Jim Rohn tells us, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  If you need to improve your work ethic, surround yourself with friends who are highly motivated. If you need to be more positive, find someone who is happy go lucky.
  3. Focus on what you control. You control the following (1) How hard you work; (2) Your attitude; and (3) How you treat others.  Don’t stress about what you don’t control.
  4. Set big goals, but focus on maximizing your own individual potential.  The end goal is a by product of the daily work necessary to reach the end goal.
  5. Embrace discomfort.  Comfort is the enemy of growth.
  6. Don’t share your goals with people who aren’t going to support, encourage and help you reach your goals.  Sharing goals is an intimate thing and should not share them unless you know the person will support you or are determined enough to not care when people tell you your goal is impossible. The vast majority of people have given up on their dreams and many of them don’t want to see you achieve your dream.
  7. Repeat rule number one. Chase your dreams and pursue your passions. By learning how to chase your dream and pursue your passions, you will continuously succeed on a daily basis and you will repeatedly find success in your life.  Your athletic and academic career will definitely come to an end at some point, but if you know how to chase your dreams, you will be ready to succeed in whatever excites you next in life.

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The Athlete Maker Team:

Micah Kurtz, MS, CSCS*D, RSCC*D, USAW, FMS, NASE, serves as Strength and Conditioning Consultant Coach to nine-time high school basketball national champion Oak Hill Academy, which won the Dick’s High School National Basketball Tournament in 2016.  He is in his eighth year as Director of Strength and Conditioning at AC Flora High School., which has won 14 state championships in the past five years, including the 2016 boys’ basketball state championship. Kurtz was named the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Strength Coach of the Year in 2016. He was also named the South Carolina High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year in both 2013 and 2014 and is part of the NSCA’s Subject Matter Expert Committee. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @KurtzM3.

Bryan Meagher is currently the Associate Head Coach of the 2016 Dick’s High School National Basketball Championship team Oak Hill Academy.  During his coaching career he has coached numerous NBA players that have included Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Ben McLemore.  In Coach Meagher’s tenure, he has been a part of five high school basketball National Championships.  You can follow him on Instagram for workout tips @Bmeagher22.

Andy Hallett, MS is entering his 21st season as the head coach at A.C. Flora High School. Over the past 20 seasons his Falcons have compiled a 441-170 record for a 722 winning percentage. During his tenure at Flora his Falcons have won:

14 Region Championships
13 District Championships
4 AAA Lower State Championships
4 AAA Upper State Championships
6 AAA State Championships 

Luke Kurtz, JD is the Vice President of Legal Affairs for US Sugar and passionate about helping students maximize their full athletic, academic and professional potential. He played free safety and was named captain of the State University of New York- Albany football team where he won two conference titles and earned the nickname “DB9” for being a team player and aggressive hitter. He played and coached professional football for the Corinthians football club in São Paulo, Brazil. He is an active writer and has delivered speeches and presentations throughout the United States, Brazil, China and Hong Kong.