Vision Quest


Above, my high school wrestling coach, Coach Pagach, getting inducted into The National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Yesterday was a very cool day.

I attended The NJ Wrestling Hall of Fame to see my high school wrestling coach get inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. It was GREAT to see my Coach again. The last time I saw Coach Pagach I was 22 years old and was in my 3rd month of teaching, the start of my teaching career.

At age 22, at that time, I had MANY mixed emotions with wrestling and the intense emotional times I had gone through as a wrestler. I was STILL angry with myself for not achieving my goals, for not realizing my potential and now that I understand life a bit better, I was empty in spirit as I had NOT continued my Vision Quest.

I was pissed, to be honest. I committed 4 years of my life towards wrestling. I was a LATE starter, starting wrestling as a freshman in high school. I was pissed that I didn't mature or develop as a wrestler. Rather than being pissed, I am DOING something about it.

Well, here I am..... 20 something years LATE, and now, on a VISION QUEST. Hey, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

Trust me, I have LOTS of people questioning me, 'What the HELL are you doing? You're 36?!"

Only a small few understand what I'm going through right now.

What is a Vision Quest? See this video and then below the video, for a deep er explanation:

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Vision Quest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A vision quest is a rite of passage in some Native American cultures.

In many Native American groups, the vision quest is a turning point in life taken before to find oneself and the intended spiritual and life direction. When an older child is ready, he or she will go on a personal, spiritual quest alone in the wilderness, often in conjunction with a period of fasting.[1] This usually lasts for a number of days while the child is attuned to the spirit world.[1] Usually, a Guardian animal or force of nature will come in a vision or dream, and give guidance for the child's life.[1] The child returns to the tribe, and once the child has grown, will pursue that direction in life. After a vision quest, the child may become an apprentice of an adult in the tribe of the shown direction (Medicine Man, boat-maker and so on).

The vision quest is the learning and initiation process of the apprentice under the guidance of an elders.[1]

The vision quest may be said to make the initiated establish contact with a spirit or force. Psychologically, it may have effected hallucinations.[citation needed] When talking to Yellow Wolf, Lucullus Virgil McWhorter came to believe that the person fasts, and stays awake and concentrates on their quest until their mind becomes "comatose."[1] It was then that their Weyekin (Nez Perce word) revealed itself.[1]

Not just found among American Indians, Inuit peoples also participated in this tradition.[2] For them the technique may be similar to sensory deprivation methods. It may include long periods of walking in uninhabited, mountainous areas (tundra, inland, mountain); fasting; sleep deprivation; or being closed in a small room (e.g. igloo).

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To be honest, it's hard to put into words on a screen everything that I'm going through. I KNOW that you can find this deeper meaning and find yourself along the way though.

Step 1: Ask yourself, "Why?"

Step 2: Repeat Step one, 5 - 10 more times.

As you keep asking yourself, "Why", the REAL truth will come about.

My goals can't be your goals. BUT, I BET you have something to prove to yourself. It shouldn't have anything to do with proving something to others. These are your goals, not their goals. YOU must face your own demons, allowing other people's thoughts about who and what you are will distort your Vision Quest.

Once you begin coming up with the answer(s) you will realize that your training will take on a whole new breed of animal. You'll want to run or ride your bike everywhere. You'll end up doing squats in the shower. Push ups in the bathroom before the shower.

To others, you won't be normal, but, remember this, no one has EVER achieved anything great by being "normal", so don't expect normal actions to get you to where you want to be or who you want to become.

Time to hit a RUN.


Drop a comment with your thoughts & feel free to share with friends on facebook and twitter.

10 Responses

  1. Thaddeus Eshelman says:

    Great post. You do a great job of articulating what I believe. I am excited to share some of your thoughts and comments with the kids I coach.

  2. I feel you about missed potential in high school. I was very good at junior varsitybecause I never cut weight. Ate big before meets and had tons of energy. Once I made varsity I started cutting weight because it was the thing to do. Tough was to cut the most. There would be times I could barely make through the first round and would work myself hard to stick them because I knew I wouldn’t make past that first round. In the service I would find other wrestlers and we would wrestle. I would beat them easily and they were state champs at the same weight class or higher than I competed. But in the service I was eating a lot and training with weights. I remember being so bummed because if I only did this in high school I would enjoyed wrestling more.
    all the naysayers are silent. They use to tell me the same things but at 36yo I keep getting stronger. I still get bummed because if I knew in my 20s what I know now! But I am doing it now and evolving!
    Good stuff! Keep up the good work!

    1. Dustin W – Wrestling is built to teach us lessons for life, my man. A true wrestler carries what he learned from wrestling for the rest of his life.

      You are LIVING it brutha!

      1. The biggest lesson was to never show boat. He hammered respect for other wrestlers and their coaches. Shack hands and look them in the eye. Before every meet we sat in a dark room going over ourmoves in our head. Then he would end with,”if you win or you lose act with respect!”

  3. GREAT POST! Zach Even Esh…I too am 36 and feel better than I have ever felt. Doing things like 1000 KB swings per day for 10 days (on Day 6 btw…4,000 left). On TOP of the Brute Force workouts. Tough Mudder coming up to test my mental and physical toughness. Running when I HATE running….its a journey. I DO understand. Being a parent and owning a business..I can always make excuses….Not for this Coach. Thanks for the Great read and video Z!

  4. Dustin M. says:

    You know there are some folks who were star athletes in High School. There always are. Sometimes they’re just naturally gifted athletes and some of them even busted their asses off.

    Unfortunately, I was one of those guys who did not live up to my potential in HighSchool. I was a 300lb blob and managed to cut about 75lbs from my sophomore year to my senior year. Football: a hulking linemen with flimsy knees. Wrestling: All strength, no technique, no speed, and sure as hell no conditioning. Yeah, I wasn’t the best athlete–

    today…as you said, better late than never! Sure, it would have been awesome to kick-ass in High School—but dudes, we are kicking ass now! No regrets!

    One thing you said, struck me true to the heart. Nobody ever achieved greatness by being normal. Sometimes I get disapproving looks, comments, negatory vibes—“You can’t….you dont have the genetics….you do’t have the size….sorry, you’re not one of the lucky ones….you’re doing too much…” and it goes on and on. That’s when I stand up and roar like a lion–

    That’s when I bend steel to shatter their illusions. That’s when I burned off 110lbs of fat off my body. That’s when I deadlift 3x+ my BW. That’s when I squat for ridicuously high reps to where they cannot catch up to me, That’s when I bench and toss heavy-ass weights overhead.

    Who gives a rat’s ass what other people think! You got one life, one chance to attack your goals, one chance to achieve greatness! You can either be normal…or be great.

    F**k Normal!

  5. Zach,

    I decided about 4 months ago to get up and start training. Lifting 2-3 days a week and running 2-3 days per week. Most recently, a few weeks ago i decided to training for a marathon, averaging 25-27 miles per week and increasing weekly. I’m currently 235lbs and have lost 45lbs. Anyways, yesterday i needed to get in 7 miles and i found myself talking to myself during the first mile. “what are you doing?” “WHY?” “This sucks” “maybe i should train differently” “Who are you trying to impress?”.. on and on… I looked down the dirt road, into the hay fields, and beyond into the mountains. Nobody was watching, nobody cared and not a sole for miles. I realized. I have to continue for me. I made it a goal to run a marathon in November and that’s why I’m doing it. I need to be challenged and accomplish this for me. I’m a 34 and learning something new about myself as the miles increase weekly. STRAIGHT AHEAD! Goal #1 Marathon (lose weight in the process, naturally) #2 …Who knows? Veteran Wrestling nationals? Ironman? Never too late. Thanks for your posts, emails, and videos. Encouraging. Thank YOU!

      1. Thanks. I’ll Keep you posted on my goal, and check the book out. One more thing. I follow you often. My son is 13 and wrestles. Has 9 state titles, a couple regional medals, and a 2 time USAW all-American. One thing i have always questioned is how much i should allow him to train. He has a motor like no one else. He will be in the eighth grade and i’m thinking he within the next year as he approaches high school that is will be time to purchase your material. I ask you, when is the right time for him to start taking it to the next level? Over the last couple years i have allowed him to create him own success without me hovering over him as previous years. It took me a couple years realize this. But now he wants more. He wants me to push and coach him. I just worry about burning him out. One things for sure, he’s done alot of pull ups, squats, and push ups since your one online challenge. Like clock work, i come home and he wants to know what he should do to become bigger, & stronger and i just show him to the pull up bar, have him knock out some push ups and do some squats thrusts/jumps. When should he start with the weights, etc….. He’s put on almost 20 lbs in 6months and is maturing/growing….

  6. Great post! I stressed all summer to mini-man that everyone has a “story”. I told him he needed to look inside himself to find his story, aka his “vision quest”.

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