Dave Mirra and Ben Snowden on Overcoming Adversity

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Overcoming adversity is a core value of every successful athlete. Adversity comes in many forms—a nagging injury, a bigger opponent, a referee's blown call, to name just a few. And it doesn't matter what sport you play. Just ask BMX superstars Dave Mirra and Ben Snowden. They've both soared over one of sport's toughest barriers: the doubter.Mirra, the first BMXer to pull off a 360 No-Handed Backflip: "You know, I heard a lot of negative stuff from kids I went to school with. Some adults were very positive and supportive; but there were others who said, 'You're wasting your time,' or 'What are you going to do—ride that bike forever?' I decided when I was younger to surround myself with positive people, and just go out and work hard.

"I truly believe things happen for a reason, because there was no plan or anything on my part. It was more like I grew up riding a bike and loved it. You get interested as a kid, and then you get addicted to it.

"The main thing is just keep it fun and don't let people get in your way. It's the typical thing people will tell you, but it's important to be yourself and have fun."

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Overcoming adversity is a core value of every successful athlete. Adversity comes in many forms—a nagging injury, a bigger opponent, a referee's blown call, to name just a few. And it doesn't matter what sport you play. Just ask BMX superstars Dave Mirra and Ben Snowden. They've both soared over one of sport's toughest barriers: the doubter.
Mirra, the first BMXer to pull off a 360 No-Handed Backflip:
"You know, I heard a lot of negative stuff from kids I went to school with. Some adults were very positive and supportive; but there were others who said, 'You're wasting your time,' or 'What are you going to do—ride that bike forever?' I decided when I was younger to surround myself with positive people, and just go out and work hard.

"I truly believe things happen for a reason, because there was no plan or anything on my part. It was more like I grew up riding a bike and loved it. You get interested as a kid, and then you get addicted to it.

"The main thing is just keep it fun and don't let people get in your way. It's the typical thing people will tell you, but it's important to be yourself and have fun."

Snowden, who did a grind while riding his bike on the Great Wall of China:
"My guidance counselor told me [I was wasting my time]. There are a lot of discouraging people out there [who] tell you you're going to get hurt or that you won't succeed. You really can't listen to those people; you really can't pay attention to the negative people. You just have to stay positive and hang out with people who are positive and encourage you to do positive things."

So maybe you should give doubters more credit. Instead of ripping them for not believing in you, thank them for motivating you. It worked for Dave and Ben.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock