“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller

    When I was 10 years old, I had the dream of playing professional basketball. After career day and seeing all of the different professions of my classmates parents, I was curious why no one was a professional athlete. Of all the things I could make a living at, I wanted the profession that no one around me had. Something so rare and unheard of in my circle, yet I became obsessed with making it a reality. I decided to tell some of my friends, the ones I knew would be supportive.

    I’m not sure why, but I had this innate sense that I couldn’t tell very many people. I knew at a young age that most people will laugh at you and tell you that you can’t do something. It’s not that you can’t, it’s that they can’t, so they project it on you. I told my Dad and he said, “Well, you can definitely do it, but you have to do the work. Professional players practice on average, 4 hours a day, 6 days a week for 10+ years to make it. If you’re willing to do that, you can play basketball professionally.” I was lucky to have the Dad I did, and he supported me to go after my goals and dreams.

    My Dad was a big supporter and always encouraged me and for that I’m forever grateful. You may not be so lucky, but that isn’t an excuse to hold you back. I had plenty of other people that were incredibly negative and never hesitated to tell me the percentages and that my odds were one in a million. Strangely, I loved the odds. I learned to keep my circle small and filled with the people who are on the same wavelength. The hungry ones that were chasing their goals and dreams. A goal is just a dream with a deadline.

    I learned to block out the noise. The noise of the naysayers, the haters, the negative people that constantly reminded me that I was too short, too skinny, too slow, too uncoordinated, and didn’t have what it takes to make it. I heard them but I sure as hell didn’t listen. Practicing for 4 hours a day became my duty and responsibility. Being outworked was not an option. When you’re willing to put in the work, you know what you’re made of and what you can accomplish. You can lie to other people but you definitely can’t lie to yourself.

    You block out the noise by making your own internal voice so loud that it pulls you to your goals. Your why is so strong, and nothing can stop you from getting up the shots, doing the footwork drills, going all out in practice, and dominating every day. Does this mean you never lose or don’t make mistakes? Absolutely not. It means you are relentless and you don’t let those who are comfortable with mediocrity sway you. You decide to push yourself day in and day out, harder than anyone else.

    When you are internally motivated, there is no outside noise. You’re deaf to the naysayers because you’re fueled by your own desires. You learn to keep your circle small and stoke your own flame. You read the right books, listen to the right music, hang out with the doers, dreamers, and those who are relentlessly attacking their goals. You encourage others to be their best selves, and you go after what you want. Similar to noise cancelling headphones, you turn up the volume and block out the external noise. You block out the noise by seeking feedback from people who are going to tell you like it is, and they want to see you succeed.

Here’s 4 easy steps to block out the noise:

  1. Know your why
  2. Write down as many reasons as you can for why you want to achieve your goal (Look at this list daily)
  3. Surround yourself with positive, motivated, and relentless people
  4. Be your own biggest cheerleader and think thoughts that empower you


Stay Relentless. Play the Optimum Way.

Article by Brandon Cochran

Co-Founder Optimum Basketball