Achieving greatness requires visiting places of extreme discomfort over and over again. The more uncomfortable, the greater the potential for growth. 

Sometimes we choose the challenge, other times it selects us. How a human being responds to these situations shapes who we become. 

The picture on the left was taken shortly after my son Mabret’s birth parents both died of tuberculosis within a few months of one another. The picture on the right was taken this week as Mabret practiced for tonight’s game. 

Mabs was almost 5 when he arrived in the US. He didn’t speak a word of English…couldn’t identify a number…He lacked any understanding of our crazy loud, fast-paced society. Mabs was petrified, traumatized, and panic stricken.

Mabs attempted to escape the house, classroom, and moving vehicles seemingly in an effort to find his way back to the only home he’d known. But all the while, he had a grace that allowed him to awake each day with a fresh perspective and smile that lit the room.

Mabret has an aura of calm that I must attribute to the genetics of someone whose ancestors come from the birthplace of humanity. The oldest known full skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia and dates back 3.2 million years. Mabs is hard-wired to confront, embrace, and overcome the most extreme conditions…and to do so without fanfare and recognition, but to survive. 

Mabret would not be left behind…and catching-up wouldn’t satisfy him. He was destined to excel, and do so without seeking external recognition.

To sit in the bleachers during practice this week and watch Mabret bark signals, direct traffic, and scan the defense raises a timeless question that may be without an answer…

What is the recipe for resilience? Is it learned? How much is embedded in our wiring? How do we harness its full power?

It’s a bit of a mystery…one worthy of exploration. 

Have fun tonight, QB1.