Success is a Choice?

Posted by Latif Thomas

Today is the one day of the year I like to take some time to reflect on where I’ve been, where I’m at and where I’m going.

Because I believe, fundamentally, that our external reality is the mirror image of our internal reality. The physical manifestation of our thoughts, beliefs and expectations.

(I know, I know. When am I going to get to the speed training workouts?…. Not today.)

So, if you’re one of those people that likes to think, take 10 minutes, read this article and watch the video that follows.

Think about this for a minute:

The difference between success and failure, in anything, comes down to one simple word.


You have the ability to choose the way your life is going to be.

Your situation, right now, is the sum of the choices you have made in the present moment.

And the choices you continue to make in the present moment directly dictate your level of success.

Because nothing exists but this moment. There is no ‘later’. No ‘future’. No ‘next season’. No ‘when I have more free time’. No ‘if I had better talent.’ No ‘if I had a bigger team’. No ‘if I had a bigger budget’.

Success is a choice.

The only difference between you and the coaches/teams/athletes/trainers you want to be like is simple:

They’re not a afraid to die on a treadmill.

Why not?

Because they made a *choice*. They decided who they wanted to be. What they wanted their life and their program to be like. And they made a choice to do it.

They didn’t make the choice in some undefined ‘later’. Or ‘tomorrow‘. Those things don’t exist. They never will. Ever. Because when 5:00pm tomorrow gets here, it won’t be 5:00pm tomorrow. It will be right now.

When I was a broke young coach and wanted Loren Seagrave’s (at the time) expensive Speed Dynamics Series, I could have said, “I don’t have enough money. Times are tough. I can get by on free information.”

Instead, I stopped ordering out, going to clubs and buying beer until I saved enough money to buy the videos.

I made a Choice.

I could have said, “I don’t have an exercise science degree, so I can never be a great coach”.

Instead, I study my ass off. Ask questions. Never stop learning. When I first started coaching, my athletes got real nasty, real fast. I was voted MA State Coach of the Year at 26. I’ve sold many thousands of programs to every US state and over 100 different countries.

I’m not any smarter than anyone else. I’m not particularly gifted or talented. And I sure wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

I simply made a *choice* to be successful. I didn’t listen to the haters (and there are many). I ignored the doubters (and there are many). I made no excuses for why I wasn’t smart enough or talented or connected enough to do what I wanted to do. I’m just willing to hustle harder than most other people. That’s the difference that makes the difference.

I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill.

And my athletes aren’t either. Like anything else, it takes practice to develop this mindset as our default. So, in my programs, I simply don’t allow kids to say:

“I can’t”. Sure you can. And you will as long as you hustle harder than the next guy (or girl).

“If I…” Not if. When. Saying ‘if’ just gives you an out. I don’t believe in outs. When you don’t give power to the possibility of not meeting the expectation, you will meet the expectation.

“I hope.” Don’t hope. Demand. ‘I hope’ means “I don’t really think I can do it”. I don’t accept that possibility.

So it’s not a part of our discussions. Not a part of our collective consciousness.

“My goal is….” I don’t believe in goals. I only believe in Expectations. So we don’t set goals. We only set expectations. Goals are for daydreamers and hippies. Expectations are for people who make things happen.

I don’t ever want to hear an athlete say:

“If I qualify for the state meet, I hope I run a PR because my goal is to make the final.”

What?? The athlete who talks like this A) won’t qualify for the state meet, B) won’t PR and C) won’t make the final. Because this wishy-washy language does not lead to success. Because the athlete is choosing not to be successful. And so the only possible outcome is… to not be successful. Instead, I expect the same athlete to say:

“When I get to the state meet, I will place Top 6”. Period.

My athletes succeed beyond their initial expectations because I demand that they demand excellence. From themselves. From their teammates. From their coaches. That is the energy I project at practice because your athletes will take on your personality.

Remember: Like begets Like.

Coaches without clearly defined expectations breed athletes without clearly defined expectations. Coaches who lack confidence in their knowledge breed athletes who lack confidence in their ability to execute.

Which type of athlete do you want to populate your team with? What type of standard do you set with your athletes? With your program? In your life?

Now, you might be asking, “What is this treadmill business you’re talking about?”

You should watch this entire video. And think about it. I watch it almost every single day. Because, if you’ll expand your current level of consciousness, you’ll realize just how powerful the message is. It’s a constant reminder of the importance of consistently making the *choice* to be successful.


To your success,

Latif Thomas


Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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