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A horse show lesson: The devotion for Growth and Appreciation

There is no end game in this journey, only growth and opportunities. There is no finish line that, once we reach it, everything flows easily and clicks. I believe the secret is in letting go of the “end game” mindset. But why? Because nothing is promised in this life, and anything can change in a split second.

The daily hustle is for a reason; we should become fearless and appreciative. Fearless about putting ourselves on the line, risking our internal state and external being. Some will call it stepping outside the comfort zone. The fearless ones know they are constantly changing. The previous win is history, and the future is unrevealed yet, but it is being created, one moment, one day at a time.

The fearless are not crazy but curious and brave. They are curious to see what their purpose is in this world. They might fail—actually, they do fail—but they also overcome. They change so fast that the people around them think they are weird or crazy. They can’t quite put their finger on how they became who they are.

The surroundings of the fearless don’t see the motion and the change; all they see are results. But one milestone after another, which is overcome and conquered, forces the public to see the fearless. Some will be impressed, some will say it is luck, and some still won’t believe it is real. But the fearless are exploring new grounds of life, of their craft.

However, it is only halfway to true growth, because discovery means nothing without appreciation. The appreciation of the moment and the achievement, making it to this point in their life. Everybody wants to become the champions, the greatest in their field, mastering their craft. But not many know the secret of “stopping time”—of true appreciative observation of where you are at.

Jo made it to the finals of a major event. It wasn’t a surprise because he is one of the best riders in his field, but the horse he made it in with was a challenging one. Jo did an amazing job of horsemanship, bringing this horse to the top of his physical and mental limit at the right time and the right place. Coming to these finals, Jo wanted to win, but also to enjoy the moment, to experience the rush that goes through our body during finals day, waiting for go time.

He knew that nothing less than perfect would be enough since the best riders and horses were with him in the finals, and his horse, and so is he, were not the favorites. The finals day morning we had a long conversation, and his words developed within me the insight of appreciation. "When you appreciate yourself and the journey you are going through, you allow the world to appreciate you as well."

Therefore, I set a goal for both of us, a goal to appreciate this day, this day that was an outcome of hard work and many sacrifices. But at the same time, appreciate the opportunity for us to present our art to the world, to take the judges and the crowd through a powerful experience of performance. It is not for the win but for the high performance of horsemanship.

We had a plan, but now it was time to apply the right energy to it.

You know why?

Because people can overlook preciseness and even athleticism, but no one can ignore energy—the good or the bad. Energy goes straight forward from one person to another, from the performer to the judges to the crowd. We will make them love us, and they won’t even know why.

Jo ran in through the gate and executed a beautiful performance of high athleticism and finesse. But he encouraged us to appreciate his art, and the judges loved it. Jo scored the highest score this horse ever scored and finished top 5 out of 330 horses. Mission accomplished.

This mission went through the journey of a fearless individual who puts himself on the line every day, practicing ugly, to reach another peak in his career. In the highest moment, he brought us all into his art, appreciating a horseman and his horse working as one, as a team.

Twelve hours later, Jo was driving home, happy about his horse and the final result. However, it wasn't life that changed; it was Jo himself. Each of us undergoes constant change, and it's within our control to decide who we want to become, striving to be better versions of ourselves. Remember to thank your horses, thank your support system, appreciate yourself, and for some, thank God.

Mental Athletics Goal is dedicated to helping you become the best version of yourself. If you're committed to personal growth and success, check out our Peak Performance Mindset course. Feel free to message Gil to learn more about our various programs and how they can benefit you.

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