TED商业:麦克·金尼:职业摔跤手的信心指南

发表时间:2018-10-12内容来源:VOA英语学习网

TED商业:Mike Kinney: A pro wrestler's guide to confidence

Picture it: a big, sweaty, tattooed manin a cowboy hat and chaps,is in the ringas the arena full of fans cheer him on.Their hero:"Cowboy" Gator Magraw.Gator bounces off the ropesand is quickly body-slammed to the mat.His wild opponent leaps into the air,crashing down onto Gator's rib cage.Gator struggles to breathe, wondering:"Is this really what my fatherwanted for me?"

(Laughter)

That wild man in the chaps ...was me.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

(Cheers)

And the answerto the question, surprisingly,is yes.

(Laughter)

I grew up watching professional wrestlingwith my dad.And like him, I loved everything about it:the showmanship, the athletic skill,the drama.I'd be this little boy, bouncingall over our living room,pretending to be my favoritewrestlers from TV.My dad actually reminded mea little bit of Hulk Hogan,but I was Hulk Hoganand he was Andre the Giant.I'd get all serious on himand say things like, "Dad ...someday I am going to beworld heavyweight champion."And he would usually smileand very calmly say,"OK, then I guess I can count on youto be my retirement fund."

(Laughter)

When I was 16,a small wrestling show cameto my little town in Minnesota.I couldn't believe it.Nothing like that had evercome to my town before.So I got to the arenaearly in the morning the day of the show,waiting out in the parking lotto see if I could spot some wrestlerspulling up in their cars.It wasn't as creepy as it sounds.But I could definitely tellwho the wrestlers were,just the way they walked.They were tall and confidentand intimidating,with their tank topsand Zubaz and fanny packs.Why wouldn't I want to be them?

(Laughter)

All I could think aboutwas who are these people,and what are they like?How did they become wrestlers?So before the show started,I walked into this tiny arena —more like a gymnasium —and I asked them if I could helpset up the wrestling ring."Sure, kid. No problem."And then I pleaded with themto show me some wrestling moves."Sure, kid. No problem."Man, they would just punchand kick me — hard!But I never complained.They would come to my town for one nightevery couple of months that year,and then — poof! —next day, they were gone.

By the next year,they finally told me about an actualwrestling training campthat one of the wrestlers was running,and I begged my parents to sign me up.Next thing I knew,I was a high school senior by dayand wrestling in front of liveaudiences by night.I had this giant poster of an alligatorhanging on my bedroom wall.So when I needed to come up witha wrestling name at the last minuteand Jesse "The Body" Venturawas already taken —

(Laughter)

I went with "Gator."I also wrestled in a t-shirtand camouflage pantsbecause that's what I had in my closet.I hadn't quite figured outhow to develop my own persona yet,but I was learning.It was sort of like an apprenticeship.But I was a wrestler.And my dad would come to all my matcheswearing a t-shirt that said,"Papa Gator" across the front.

(Laughter)

And he'd brag to his friendsabout how his son was going to payfor his retirement someday.

(Laughter)

And I would've.

Not long after I started wrestling,my dad unexpectedly passed away.And as you can imagine,especially as a teenage boy,it destroyed me.If you've ever lost someone,you know what a difficulttime that can be.Your mind — it's not working right.The whole thing is just so surreal.I wanted to feel normal again,even if it was for just a second,so I went back to wrestlingalmost immediately.Wrestling belonged to meand my dad, you know?So there I was,sitting in the locker room,getting ready for a match within daysof my dad passing away.He was gone.And sitting there alone —it felt like I was hiding.But it also felt likeI needed to be there.

One of the wrestlers who'd beenon the scene a long timeknew what I was going through,and he came over to seehow I was holding up.I couldn't get the words out.I just said, "I don't knowwhat I'm doing."And then we just sat there in silence —just ... silence.Before he got up to get readyfor his own match,he gave me this piece of advicethat would change the entiredirection of my life.He told me the best wrestlersare just themselves, but "turned up."He said successful wrestlersfind the traits within themselvesthey're the strongest atand make those the focusof who they become in the ring.

So there I sat —a scared teenagerwho didn't know who he wasor why he was even wrestling anymore.I looked around the locker roomat some of the other wrestlers,and I thought,"I look so different.How can I ever be like them?"And then it hit me.That's the moment I realizedI didn't have to be like them.What I did have to do was find out:What did it mean to be me?What made me unique,and how could I use it to my advantage?I knew I wasn't a chiseled athletelike some of these guys,but I really didn't care.So the first thing I thought was,"How can I amplify something as simpleas: comfortable with my own body?"I didn't know.And then I thought:Speedo.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Or "trunks,"as we call them in wrestling.Yeah, trunks.I could be this big guywho was comfortablewearing these little trunksin front of a bunch of strangers.So I ditched the t-shirtand camouflage pants,and Gator's new wardrobe was born.

(Laughter)

I was also pretty goodat drawing cartoons,so I wondered if I could turn that up.I could design my own wrestling costumes,so each pair of trunks would haveits own unique design and color,all of them completely different —and extremely comfortable, by the way.

(Laughter)

And I was also the funny kid in school,believe it or not.So I thought maybe I could turn that up.Maybe I could go from the boywho made his buddies laughto the man who could rallyhundreds or thousands.So I committed to the ideathat my character wasn't going to beas scary as some of the others.I'd be hilarious from the momentI walked into the arena.With every wrestling match, I dug deeper.I found out that I could laugh at myself.So this guy would danceand sing his entrance musicall the way to the ring.That was dancing, by the way.

(Laughter)

I found out that I was an OK wrestler,but I was an even better entertainer.And turning myself up made meunforgettable to the fans.I was trying to findthose things about me —the simple things that were special,and then ask, "How can I turn them up?"

Now, I knew I wanted my characterto be a man's man like my dad was.I thought, "What's moreof a man's man than a cowboy?"And that's when Gator became"Cowboy" ... Gator ...Yeah, I needed a last name.I thought about it until my head hurt.I couldn't come up with anything.I'm sitting there watching TV one night,flipping through the channels,and this commercial comes onabout a country singer who had just wonan Entertainer of the Year award.Tim McGraw.He's a cool cowboy with a great last name.And I liked his music.It was just all part of my process.But I just kept turning myself upuntil I became Cowboy Gator Magraw!

(Laughter)

(Applause)

And I knew that if I keptturning myself upand pushing myself harder,the opportunities would come.And then it finally happened.In the middle of the night,I got a phone call.It was the call I wishmy dad was around to hear.The WWE,the biggest wrestlingorganization in the world,wanted me to come and be a partof Monday Night Raw.Yes — all of my hard work and mileson the road were finally paying off.I got to walk down the WWE Rawentrance ramp on live television —

(Laughter)

dressed up as a fake security guard —

(Laughter)

to escort another wrestler to the ring.

(Laughter)

Sure, I was disappointedI didn't get to wrestle,but very few wrestlers getany kind of call from the WWE.Maybe one in a few hundred.And becoming Cowboy Gator Magrawis what got me there.So instead of walking away that day,I decided to turn myself up againand become the bestsecurity guard I could.In fact, I did it so well,I was the only guard to geta close-up on TV that night.That's a big deal, you know?

(Laughter)

And I got to sit backstage that entire daywith some of the most famouspro wrestlers in the world,some of which were heroesof mine as a kid.And I got to listen to themand learn from them,and for that day,I was accepted as one of them.

Maybe my experiencewith the WWE wasn't ideal.I mean, I didn't get to wrestle.But it made me work harder,turning myself up louder year after year.I was becoming the biggestversion of myself in the ring,and other people took notice.Before I knew it,I'd gone from wrestlingmaybe once a month in Minnesotato as often as four times a weekall over the United Stateson the independent wrestling circuit.I was literally living my dream.

While wrestling over the next few years,I suffered a pretty bad shoulder injuryright around the same timemy wife and I found outthat we were expecting our first child.I know what you're thinking,but believe me when I saythose two events are completely unrelated.

(Laughter)

But I needed shoulder surgery,and I wanted to be home with my family.It was my turn to be a dad.

So on July 27, 2007,I wrestled my final match,and walked awayfrom professional wrestlingto pursue the next chapter of my life.And as time passed,the strangest thing started to happen.I found out that once someonehas been turned up,it's pretty hard to turn them down.I left the ring but Gator stayed with me,and I use the turned-up versionof myself every day.My beautiful wife has been with methrough this entire journey.And by the way —she does not like pro wrestling.

(Laughter)

Like, at all.

But she was always my biggest fan.She still is.She knows there's always going to besome part of Gator Magraw in here,and she wants our daughter and twin sonsto discover themselvesthe way that I did,but probably with fewer body slamsand steel chair shots to the head.I mean, do you know how many timesshe's had to remind menot to clothesline the refereesat my kid's soccer games?

(Laughter)

I mean, it was just the one time,and my daughter was clearly fouled!

(Laughter)

As a parent now, I've begun to realizethat my dad wanted somethingmuch more valuable than a retirement fund.Like most parents,he just wanted his kidsto reach their fullest potential.I'm trying to teach my childrenthat turning yourself up is just not someperfect idea of how to be great,it's a way of living —constantly lookingfor what makes you differentand how you can amplify itfor the world to see.And by the way, my kidsdon't like wrestling, either.

(Laughter)

But that's OK with me,because they each have their ownunique talents that can be turned upjust like the rest of us.My one son — he's a whiz at electronics.So maybe helping him turn upmakes him become the next Steve Jobs.My other son and my daughter —they're great at art,so maybe helping them turn up their giftshelps them become the next Pablo Picasso.

You never know whatyou have the ability to dountil you dig.And don't be afraidto put yourself out there.I mean, look around.They say that if you get nervousin front of an audience,just imagine them in their underwear.But then I think, "Hey,I've wrestled in less."

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Look, the wrestling circus doesn't needto come to your townbefore you get an invitationto be the real you —the bigger, more stunningversion of yourself.It doesn't even necessarilycome from our parents.Turning yourself up means looking inwardtoward our true selvesand harnessing the voice that says,"Maybe, just maybe,I am more than I thought I was."

Thank you.

(Applause)

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