I watched a great clip last week on the Mindset of Will Smith. He caught my attention when he said, “Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”

Immediately I related this to the athletes I work with. Each wrestler is encouraged to keep a daily journal of their thoughts about the previous week’s mindset lesson. As you might imagine it is rare for a wrestler to do this every single day.

I have taken two different approaches:

1. Be realistic, and ask my wrestlers to take notes a couple times a week.

2. Be optimistic, and ask my wrestlers to take notes EACH day.

Without fail, the OPTIMISTIC approach works BETTER! Now that doesn’t mean that each wrestler takes notes each day, but that the optimistic approach always renders better results than the realistic approach.

Another example is when a wrestler is comparing himself to a superior wrestler. When you are too realistic you suck the energy out of yourself: My opponent is better on his feet, he is too good to turn or even hold down, I can’t get off the bottom against him, he is too fast too strong, etc etc.

True or not you are likely to find more energy when you take the optimistic approach. Look at the superior opponent and say, “I’m going to beat this guy in 6 months.” Period. You don’t need to be realistic and justify how you are going to overcome each position. Work your tail off, have faith, and be optimistic that it will happen.

Realism may prevent others from laughing at you or from disappointment, but it will also prevent you from Jumping Levels.

It doesn’t pay to be anything but optimistic. It adds energy to your training and to your life. If you want to Jump Levels in wrestling, school, business or in life start being an optimist today.