In 2014, I drove seventeen hours and eleven minutes to Houston, Texas, to do a New Japan Pro Wrestling tryout.
Eager to make a good impression, I was the first to volunteer for every drill and asked to go first in the tryout matches; thinking that you either want to go first or last, because that is what tends to stick out in people’s memory.
I had a good tryout match with Chase Owens, that I was very satisfied with...until a guy that I had never heard of, that looked like a champion bodybuilder, capped off a great tryout match with a 630° Splash (double rotation front flip from the top rope).
“Oh, I f___ed up. I played it too safe.” I thought to myself, as I watched several Japanese wrestling legends react favorably to Peter Kassa’s impressive athleticism.
Kaasa and my own regret taught me a valuable lesson that day; if you want to evolve to the next level you had better have the kintama to take your performance to the next level
Better to be told to tone it down than to turn it up, it seems.
Want to get better at anything?
It’s easy; be more than willing to f___ up.
Step 3: Try to evolve, by surrendering to the overwhelming odds of success.
Success in undeniable, but people sacrifice their dreams to the fear of failure because they try to deny it.
Everyone reading these words spends most of their lives succeeding. We succeed so much that it spoils us; so much that when we fail it hurts, bad, because it’s really difficult to build up a nice, thick failure callus with all of the damn succeeding we do. We all suffer from the blessing of success.
“I call bull___! Maybe for you, but I can’t win for losing!”
I call bull___ on your calling bull___, my friend.
Starting with your conception, where you successfully beat out roughly 250,000,000 other wiggly tailed cells, all the way up to sucessfully reading this, your existence requires a streak of success that defies all odds and logic.
Just today: I successfully got my formerly lazy ass out of my comfy ass bed at 7 am, I successfully got my formerly coldness-averse ass to take a cold ass shower, I got my formerly meat loving ass to thoroughly enjoy a vegan ass breakfast, and I got my formerly illiterate ass to write this literate ass article.
So, you can get your formerly failure fearing ass motivated to do some brave ass sh__, like evolving into the person you know you’re supposed to be; by trusting yourself to do the most natural thing in life: succeeding!
In August, 2016, I traveled to Joppa, Maryland to an EVOLVE tryout.
I had every intention of succeeding, as per usual, but I was open to the wonderfully novel feeling of failure. With that in mind, I was willing to take many risks and accept any results.
After introductions and handshakes with seventy-five-ish people, including my old teacher from Texas, the now EVOLVE-signed Peter Kaasa, it was time to start doing some in-ring drills.
Once the opening drills were explained, I liked my odds of success; rolls and body control exercises. I wake my wife up almost daily doing rolls and body control exercises in our wrestling mat covered livingroom floor.
Success as predicted; I blew through those drills and stood out in doing so.
The next drill was chain wrestling (putting together “chains” of wrestling holds and counters). Once again, I liked my odds; my wife rolls her eyes at me almost daily as I ask nicely to practice escaping from the holds I have taught her.
This exercise was interestingly different in the fact that it was conducted with all the tryout participants on the apron and formated like a tag-match; when the trainers yelled “tag’ you had to tag someone else in and it was their turn. The two people in the ring had to decide which one of them, or if both, were going to tag out, and who they were going to tag.
I recognized quickly that this meant not everyone was going to get equal ring time, and decided that since someone had to get the most ring time, it might as well be me. So, when the trainers yelled “tag” when I was on the apron, and the person in the ring was trying to decide who, amongst the forty-eight-ish other EVOLVE hopefuls, to tag, I took the initiative to yell, “TAG ME!”. It worked, and kept working.
Success as predicted; I took up a much larger portion of the drill time than the other participants and was able to show off my fancy schmancy reversals and holds in the process.
Finally, it was time for the big one; actual tryout matches, the real determining factor of whether or not I might be worth the company getting behind.
Looking around at the quality of talent that I was competing against, I didn’t quite like my odds as much as before, but still trusted in them.
Unlike back in Texas, in 2014, I did not volunteer to go first. Instead I took the time to mentally prepare and to watch the other matches; ready to adjust my game plan, if necessary.
When it was my turn, I was ready, willing, and able to put everything I had out there and accept whatever results were to come with gratitude.
I went in and successfully nailed a bunch of the creative moves that make me special. I successfully expressed my unique personality. Then, near the very end, I unsuccessfully attempted my signature ring-wide “Coast-To-Coast...And-Then-Some” dropkick; coming up about a quarter inch short, because I had decided to go for it despite my inability to jump high in the low-ceilinged building.
“Well, that was a fail.” I explained to myself.
“But, at least you tried. Maybe they couldn’t tell.” I compassionately added.
I looked over toward where the trainers and matchmaker Gabe Sapolsky were watching from and made eye contact.
“Yeah, they could definitely tell.” I informed myself.
“Wow. That hurts.” I added unpityingly.
I hit the next few moves more successfully than I probably would have had I not been feeling the wonderful sting of failure, and finished the tryout match strongly.
With no certainty of ultimate success or failure, I was ready for, what might be the most difficult and important step, Step Four:
KEEP Trying To EVOLVE