DUSTIN WATTEN FOR M-VOLLEY: DO IT WITH PASSION OR NOT AT ALL

Dustin Watten is the 30-year-old American libero, a member of U.S. national team and Polish club Cerrad Czarni Radom. In interview for M-volley Dustin talks about his volleyball career, life experiences, minimalism, veganism and philosophy of life.

Małgorzata Kilijanek, M-volley: „I’m not waiting for the perfect moment, I am making the most of every moment.” – what does it mean to you?
Dustin Watten: It goes to another part I like to think of. In the beginning of my career I have always waited for a moment, for salvation. I thought that one day I’ll be happy, like during this league or in the national team. Sometimes it was just simple like waiting for Sunday, when I can relax, watch some football. Now, I’m always thinking about the future, that I need to be happy but I think I have to find salvation in present moment. Whatever you’re doing, you need to enjoy that and commit to it with purpose. You need to be the best version of yourself and when you’ll get that stage – be ready. For me whether it’s the national team or now – the Plusliga. Instead of assuming and hoping that if I do get there, I’ll be ready. There’s just making the most of every moment.

 

How important is to be mentally strong being a sportsman? You once said that you find yourself as a one of the strongest mentally players.
– I like to think I’ve worked it. I try to meditate from 30 minutes to an hour a day – morning, midday and night. I think it really helps me understand my mind. It’s very important to be able to breathe and focus on what to do, to help the team get the point. I always try to journal each day, when I’m going on the practice I’m writing down when I wanna work, how I’m gonna do that and after the practice I try to stay positive in three things I didn’t well. Volleyball it’s too often pursuit of perfection but it is imperfect sport. I think it’s so rare that you can play perfect game. The players always want to play perfect and when they focus too much on playing that ideal game, they can get lost in their thoughts. They can’t play with the best of their ability, they play in 80-90%. Very famous in American volleyball, especially for our national team, is to always think about next point. We can’t get lost on what’s going happen, we must be present for this next point.

 

Last season was so hard, because of the situation in club, Maxéville Nancy, not high position and the fact that other players didn’t care much about the results. Was it the hardest time in your whole volleyball career?
– Yes, I think every day was so difficult. I got to a point where I would like to be with the team but it was impossible to find myself in this position, it wasn’t fun, I couldn’t enjoy training and I was losing my passion. It was kind of blaming others, I was thinking that this is unfair. I just kept on finding excuses outside and finally went to a very low point. But in fact, I didn’t want to worry about things I couldn’t control and I really pushed inside to control my sleep, my diet, focus on watching video of myself and the other teams, working all day. I knew I was doing everything I could to be the best volleyball player and the happiest person I could be. Even if it was difficult, I wouldn’t change this situation. I figured out there that I didn’t have many friends in the team. The team was very poorly, trainings were difficult and there wasn’t any pleasure of playing volleyball.

 

It was useful experience.
– I think I grew most by this experience. We didn’t win at all and there was a lot of moments when I couldn’t enjoy my passion, but I was able when I hit this rock bottom to take back the power, control and stop playing the victim. Because even If I know I was organized as I could, I would still be the victim to things I didn’t control. I took back the control and I was able to finish really strong with a smile, which I think it’s difficult to do in this situation.

 

You are very experienced libero. You’ve been playing in Finland, Brazil and France. Every league teached you something else: Brazilian – playing under the pressure, French – better communication in the team (Accajo). If you could change something in choices you made, would you like to do that – change anything from the past? Maybe the order of playing in these leagues?
– It’s difficult to say because in each league I’ve learnt something different. I don’t know, is tough to say.

 

You don’t regret anything, right?
– I like commit to each day, each team. I think I do it in the right way. Maybe sometimes I wasn’t as confident as I’d like to be, but these situations were all learning situations and thanks to them I could grow.

 

Now you’re playing in Poland and you’re in the team with David Smith. Do you think that foreign players usually keep together more than with others? They have the common situation, there is a new place, missing home. How it looks in Radom?
– I think it depends on the local players, because I think the foreign players want to belong, but sometimes it’s difficult to reach out to them.

 

Maybe there is a language barrier, too…
– Yeah, but locally we have great captain, Wojtek Żaliński, who from the very beginning was very helpful and really made Radom feel like home and the team like family. I think here it might be one of the best seasons I would have, with the players of the team we have. Everyone comes to work, don’t complain, work hard and after the practice we can laugh and joke. I just really go along with personalities on the team and their humor and it’s special. When I talk to other players of the national team, I find out that it’s very rare when you go to practice, arrive and leave with a smile. This is normal for me here, so I’m very grateful for this, because usually when we are overseas, work and sacrifice it’s tough. I really enjoy going to work with these guys and compete with them on the court. I feel very fortunate to have teammates like this.

 

You are satisfied with the decision about playing here. What do you think about PlusLiga after half of season?
– I’m still curious because I don’t know much about the league and learn about it, each week is very fun. I’ve seen very explosive players that play in a very fast tempo. Every team is a challenge because even if there aren’t the best players, you have a lot of experienced players. There’s no easy games, so you need to prepare well all over the week and when you step on the court – who knows who’s gonna win? Of course, with the top teams it’s a little easier to figure this out (laugh). It’s great to plays against world class players every week because even if you don’t do well against them, you got to learn from the best players and reevaluate how you want to push for your training. I’ve learned a lot what I need to do better in matches against Asseco Resovia, against PGE Skra.

 

Did you explore the city? It can be easy to be stuck in the house, when you’re living on your own, far from home.
– Specially earlier in my life I enjoyed going out but now I value sleep much more and waking up feeling good. We train two to three times a day, and after trainings I’m still working – meditating, watching game video of myself or another team, stretching, reading, doing some type of thing that’s keeping my mind and my body healthy. I don’t really have much free time. In the beginning, I tried to explore the park when there was sunny. I like to go to coffeehouse when I’m off, have a coffee and read. I feel, especially when I get older, that time is so precious and I really want to work with purpose, whether it’s for volleyball, preparing myself for the training or the match, or learning something new that I’m interested in, reading. Throughout the day, I try to go off my house but when I’m inside the house I’m not just watching TV, eat or sleeping…

 

You’re developing yourself.
– I’m trying to. I think that the one of the best thing being overseas is, except trainings, which are exhausting for the body, that I have a lot of time when I can learn or study what I want. I’m trying to develop myself into a better, healthier, stronger person.

 

What’s your best memory from Poland of this season until now?
– Training with the guys, first game we played and at the end of the match being surrounded by fans and see every guy in the team happy, smiling and dancing around. It was great, to see all my friends smiling, laughing and having good time. This is awesome and it’s hopefully something we can share.

 

I feel so fortunate to be in a country, where my passion is a country’s passion.

 

What about fans, who you mentioned? In one interview, you said that they are very important for you, and you’re always staying for them after the matches. How do you like the atmosphere of PlusLiga on the stands?
– It’s great. As I mentioned before I feel so fortunate to be in a country, where my passion is a country’s passion. I just enjoy sharing this feeling and when I play, I try to do everything with a smile. I feel so lucky that something I do internally – because I love it, not because of money or whatever – other people enjoy, too.  So, I try to open this experience a lot, in social media and always be there especially for younger players. Sometimes they don’t know where to take up passion and it is something that I’ve experienced, my journey can help them.

 

Talking about fans and social media, you wrote on your Instagram about messages and questions which you get from them about dealing with failures, disappointments or just the fact they are asking for some advice. Your parents are teachers, so can we say that you are a teacher for these young people, too? Continuing the family’s tradition?
– Yeah, I think it’s just my nature, because both my grandpa and grandpa were teachers as well and I take a lot of pleasure out of seeing people happy. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when I’m looking on my Instagram and see all the messages, but I just try to see myself in them and I think: oh, If I was the same age and someone wrote me back and help me, it could made me feel so good. So I take the extra time to do it, because I guess a lot of people have a big passion, but maybe they can’t fulfill it.

 

You’re just the role model for them…
– I think if I am a role model for someone, I want to take advantage or the opportunity and try to help him. Because, like my parents, I just take a lot of joy from seeing other people happy and when the people are happy with their passion.

 

You have great contact with your fans by social media, as you just said. How important do you find these ways of contact nowadays?
– When I first started I just tried to get a video out on myself because it was so difficult to get out of Finland and I didn’t know what to do, because I played so well my first year and I couldn’t move out. I just tried different ways of giving my name out with videos and lot of people told me after that: hey, we really enjoy following you! Next year I started to post a little bit more and then it was very strange to noticed that people find me and then say stuff like: I look up to you. I don’t even find myself as a professional athlete, I just look at myself as on someone who loves to do what I do and I’ve been fortunate enough to do it on a professional level. It’s added benefit but you know, I appreciate all the fans and when I do have the time, I write them back and hope it can help. I don’t feel like a professional athlete, I just feel like a normal person…

 

You’re so modest…
– Oh, I don’t know. I feel I’m here today because I had great parents, great teammates and great coaches. I feel very fortunate and I know that’s not the case for everyone, so if I can help them, that makes me very happy.

 

You show on your Snapchat how to make a good meal for example. Everyone is asking you about being a vegan, so If I’d like to ask you about this subject, I wouldn’t be original. Aren’t you tired of that? Weren’t you thinking about writing a post and tell: you’ve got everything here, don’t ask me again?
– (laugh) No… Because when I first started my veganism it was like just trying to find a different edge, like when I work throughout the day I’m pushing it in different areas, which I believe will help me on the volleyball career. I have always different areas where I want to push in, whether is stretching or watching match videos, because I believe it all make me a stronger person and the athlete. When I’d been starting a veganism, I was thinking the same, that it could give me more energy and recovery, but two years after this I realized the ethical side of it. I was like: oh wow, this is pretty bad what we’re doing to animals. Anytime of veganism pops up, I think is a great opportunity where I can share what I’m coming from and the compassion I try to live with. To extend a friendly, but not forceful hand for any other people that maybe feel this way deep down inside that it is not correct to enslave and kill animals every single day. I can be a voice not only for the vegan community but for the vegan athlete community. If somebody miss around it, I don’t want to be forceful but I can just raise my hand and say: hey, I have that diet, I’m still forceful, I’m okay (laugh).

 

You started being a vegan after reading a book “Finding Ultra”, now you’re encouraging others to choose the same way.
– Yes, I think the best way is to gently lead people to information and let them discover it for themselves.

 

Is it hard to convince them?
– That’s a thing I’m trying not to convince because whenever you tell someone that what he’s doing is incorrect, he’s always gonna be defensive and if not aggressive. Before I gave up meat I was eating meat all the time because of fat, protein to become strong athlete. If someone told me: „you should try veganism, it will help you”, even it would sound very nice, I would say: hey, you don’t know me, don’t speak to me. I wouldn’t be polite, but aggressive, defensive. So I try to suggest what has worked for me, what book has helped me and then through Snapchat show that vegan’s meals can look good.

 

You definitely show that they’re looking good.
– I show it by baby steps. People always say: what can I do to start? I show them this way something like guidebook and one suggestion I always say is: start your morning with a green smoothie and see how you feel.

 

Then, they’re sending you photos of these smoothies… (laugh)
– Yeah (laugh). Last year I did suggestion of a friend called “a day in life on a Snapchat” and of course I showed there a lot of smoothies. It was crazy, because a week after people started sending me pictures of smoothies and wrote “look at what I’m making, it tastes so good, I feel great after”. I was really able to see the power of social media and how you can reach out to people and help them. And like I said, I don’t wanna do it in a forceful lane, like “I’m right, you’re wrong”, but this is what’s out from me: maybe you can try, maybe you’ll like it, too. If you don’t, okay.

 

For some people it’s unimaginable to ditch meat, but it’s easy to find lots of recipes for vegan meals. What’s your favorite?
– It’s hard to say. Probably when I’m cooking myself it’s a nice-cream, which I made with frozen bananas, frozen fruits as well, put them into blender with some dates, some almond milk and all blend in kind of mush together. It has the consistency of an ice cream. Then if I wanna flavor it I can put different things on top of that like oatmeal, chia seeds, coconut and hemp seeds. It’s tasty, for me it tastes like a fruit ice cream but it doesn’t have all the animal fat, which could weight you down after. For me it’s perfect after morning training, instead of taking a nap I just have frozen fruit as a nice-cream and I feel good. Thanks to that I have energy and I’m able to continue working throughout the day.

 

Is it true that you have got a blender, which travels with you everywhere?
– Yeah (laugh).

 

It’s great to have the possibility of making whatever you want and it’s good for you.
– Yes, exactly. I really try to make sure that I take care of my body, because this is the body that I have forever and there is no replace in it. If I do spend money, I spend money on my nutrition because as long as I can be, I want to be as healthiest as possible. No matter what I do, whether to volleyball or a different job, I’m always gonna by healthy and happy because when I have this high foundation with health and happiness, then I can give more to others.

 

How good cook are you? You need to prepare lot of vegan meals.
– I’m still not an amazing cook (laugh). I would say I’m a decent cook, because I’m making so simple meals for now. I cook at night because I wanna do that after everything. I put some type of grain, rice or quinoa, some type of bean, then maybe soup, potatoes and some other vegetables. I put everything into a bowl and for me it tastes great, because it’s always different taste, texture in one bite. I still need a lot of lot work. I don’t cook for anyone else except myself, so I just make it as simple as possible and try to get as many vegetables, grains and lentils as I can.

One of the best perks of being vegan I think is not eating the fast-food. In America it’s so popular, such as stereotype, but it’s true. In California people are always eating going from place to place and you never spend time at home. When you have to eat, you usually go to McDonalds, Burger King, something like this. Before I went vegan, I thought it wasn’t pretty healthy, but I still was eating two or three times a week in fast-food and when I went vegan I couldn’t eat fast-food because none of them is good for this diet. Only meal I can eat there can be French fries. When you eat it about 2 or 3 times a week and you cut that out then it’s like 14 times a month and if you have to compare that for a year, it’s 150 times less eating fast-food! So as much as possible I’m eating food from the good origin. I feel much more clear on my body and my mind after not eating fast-food.

 

I need to ask you about communication with fans, too, because you said once that you’re going to coffeehouse to practice your Polish language. We’re here now, so maybe you’ll tell me more about that practicing or what can you say in Polish…
– (laugh) I can say „smacznego” (have a nice meal), „miło cię poznać” (nice to meet you)… And what I say to my teammates, especially to Bartek (Bołądź) is “masz piękne oczy” (you’ve got beautiful eyes) (laugh).

 

It’s good text not only for teammates… (laugh)
– Yeah… (laugh) What else? “Kocham was” (Love you).

 

Okay, we can find them as basic phrases, but are you still learning more?
– I want and I need to learn more, just because I’m a guest in this country and it should be on my shoulders to work with others not only in English…

 

But Polish is hard…
– Exactly. For sure I want master the language, but I think the least I can do is work at it consistently and show the people here my appreciation to their hospitality and do my best.

 

Your story could be named “from being a vegan to being a minimalist”. How it looks to be a minimalist?
– I like this a lot. My home was always clattered with everything from volleyball as pictures, jerseys, medals. I always wanted to give it away, but my mum said: no, keep it. But I had a voice that it clutters not only the space but the mind, so throughout my years with volleyball I’ve always felt much better when everything was clean. I have a lightness and I feel in control when I go to practice, to games and everything is clean. I try to combine these elements of keeping things as simple as possible and as clean as possible. I like this lifestyle and I’m learning more about it. I think I’m getting to the point when all my wardrobe is white, grey or black.

 

Is it the minimalism a philosophy of life in your opinion?
– I think its essence is to keep the mind as quiet as possible instead of having all these things around you that you are constantly worried about, instead of having purpose for life and going from point to point, don’t know what you want to do and what you need to do. I’m still learning, I’m still on the basics but it’s been interesting. The last three years it’s been veganism, then last year I’ve started reading a lot about stoicism, and now minimalism. I’m still trying to push these aspects of life and find it as a kind of philosophy of life.

 

How to start being a minimalist? Have you got some advice, tips for others?
– I guess I’m still very beginning. I think we talk a lot about having things in our life that give us value. There’s a challenge, just like “30 days challenge” where you should take out one thing, that doesn’t give you value on the first day, two things out the next day, so maybe 5 days can take you things that aren’t important in your life. For example, I have cool basketball jersey, newer than my last basketball jersey, but does it really give my life value? I don’t think so. I think it’s good to give it away for someone who does give value. Everyone should think if everything they have, they value. Whatever that value might be.

 

The little number of things seems to be important being minimalist.
– I’ve always had weird thoughts, not conforming with what you are supposed to do in America, which is go to college, get a job, buy house, have family. I’ve always had different thoughts. One thing that’s really crazy and I’m always thinking about it, it’s going to Asia and study meditation, live in the mountain, in a monastery for monks and doing hard work by spending a lot of time working on my mind. Or going somewhere and living in a community that’s off the grid, just being with nature.

 

So maybe you’ll do that after ending your volleyball career…
– Yeah, but it will depend if I’ll have a relationship or not. I think I definitely would like to go somewhere, maybe like a third world country and just volunteer.

 

In Africa, or not?
– In Africa, or Asia. I’d like to go somewhere, where is not about me. Because for me I am an athlete right now, I have to be away from my family, friends and sacrifice. Relationships are cut, because it’s so difficult. After volleyball career, I want to give back. There’s so many people that are less fortunate than me and to give my time and energy could mean a lot in these people’s life. I don’t make a lot of money but I can save up some and be able to volunteer my time for a little bit. So this is something I would like to do, too. To go somewhere weird with not a lot of stuff and just volunteer my time and energy to make someone’s life or some community better in somewhere.

 

Is it your dream or aim of life?
– I don’t know if dream, but my aim. It just depends what my relationship would be after volley, if I have a girlfriend, fiancé or wife. But I think if I am single, this is something I want to do – just to go somewhere off to grid and experience the different life helping others build better life.

 

What’s your aim of volleyball career for now?
– It’s difficult, because I have never really had an aim. Even if I was in college I never really thought about the national team until the coach tell me it could be a possibility to that. I’ve always had little goals, playing in the French league or then also in PlusLiga. In my national team my goal has never really been to be on the Olympic Team but to help the Olympic Team get a gold medal. I want to be the best version of myself and help the team as much as possible, whatever my role would be. When I started last squad, I wasn’t playing, practice, I was just on the floor but I wanted to help players on the court. Help them to get the positive feedback, the best energy and then train with them as well. It’s never been about myself in the national team but just to be the best version I could be, to be able affect the team the best. I was never focused on being a star but on making the most impact. 

 

I was talking with Paul Lotman when he was playing in the Resovia, but he wasn’t in the first squad. I asked about it and he answered, that the most important is not to be concentrated on yourself, but just on the team and he wants to help even from the quarter, cheer up the guys. Can we say that it is American mentality?
– Yes or no. I think me and Paul are very similar, because we went to the same college (California State University, Long Beach) and when we both went to this college we were not strong players. Usually the players go to college and if they’re good, they get money from the school. We were good, but not strong. I think we both had a very humble beginning and in this college there is a big emphasis on the team. On the bench you help instead of the complaint, you do everything for the team. Me and Paul are probably the most similar personalities you can find on the national team where we wanna compete, work hard, win, but most of all we want to is give back to the team. Overall, if the players are not in the place they wanna be in, they can fight it, maybe they’ll speak against the coach, they cross their arms. But it’s about accepting your role. If you’re not happy about it, you work hard but you give what you can to the team whether it’s your voice, motivation. It’s important to be sincere about it and to be the best teammate as you can be. In the national team most of players plays overseas, too. David Lee, Scott Touzinsky… I think Touzinsky is significant personality, he accepts his role. Maybe doesn’t get a lot of sets, but he does his job best, whereas it’s passing, motivating and keeping the team utterly confident.

 

Talking about your national team, everyone helps each other. You mentioned some teammates, but I think the most popular American player in Poland is Matt Anderson.
– I don’t think people really understand how humble Matt is and also how hardworking he is. Even though now he has a level, he’s at, he is still the guy, that’s the last to leave the weight room. If there’s young guy on the court passing, he’ll go over and help him. I think he’s not very vocal, but he’s a quiet leader and I think he has a big effect on the culture of the gym, what help people work. It’s almost impossible to find someone in the national team that thinks he’s bigger than the team. I think Matt does a good job, being the best player in the team and how humble he is and how hard he works.

 

Coming back to PlusLiga, could you tell me about your daily routine here? I mean, you said about meditation, but you didn’t tell me about planning things, and it’s important for you.  Is it true?
– Yes. Okay, so let’s see: on normal day, I wake up, make myself a tea, meditate, make a smoothie. I make myself a coffee, I just got a French Press so I’m very excited about this. I usually make a coffee with cinnamon and I have one of my vegan snacks I make and freeze. Then, I go practice, try to do little stretching after, come home. All people here have Fantasy Volleyball, so I play Fantasy American Football and look a little at news. Then I make lunch, sometimes like an ice cream, and I can watch my game from last week or watch the next team, especially the service. Or read, do some meditation, maybe have another coffee, maybe come here, to Puszczyk (the name of coffeehouse in Radom). I usually try to get on practice earlier, stay late and get some extra repetition on staff I want to work on. Then I go back home, I journal as I mentioned, three things I got well, some things I want to be better at the next practice, how I want to be better in that. I try to find some solutions for my problems. If I’m passing good for example, I try to think: „Why I’m not passing better? Maybe I can do something better”. In the evening, I watch the video on YouTube about minimalism or maybe a show and then I want to cool down, I make myself a sleepy tea, stretch, meditate.

 

You mentioned a Fantasy Volleyball… What’s that feeling when somebody is writing to you things like “Dustin, you did well, you helped me to get points”?
– Oh it’s so funny (laugh). It’s just so Polish, because I’m still learning how popular volleyball is in Poland. In America, the fantasy sport is just amazing and everyone plays it, but I laughed so hard when I figured out how it looks here. People were sending me pictures and I was like: „what is this? I don’t understand”. To figure out I’m a player in a fantasy sport was too much for me to comprehend, but it’s also so cool, because I can say my passion is the passion of other people here.

 

What about music? Are you choosing some calm, melancholy sounds or motivational and full of energy? It can depend on situation of course, one is good for training, other for relaxing…
– Lots of Zenek’s… (laugh) No, I like the team music and our team DJ, Bartek (Bołądź), really likes this different kind of Polish disco. So, it’s Zenek, right?

 

(laugh) Right.
– I like Zenek a lot (laugh). It’s just what I like in that team because all the guys come to work and they are working really hard, they don’t complain, but they always make the room to laugh and smile. For foreigner, this is so nice, because we are so far away from what makes us happy. It’s great to come to locker room and see everyone smiling and laughing. It really makes me feel like home and it’s nice balance to the stress that volleyball brings into my life.

 

Talking about the volleyball players, what kind of self-sacrifice is inherent in professional volleyball career? Despite of fact that you’re far from family, from home, is there anything you find as a drawback?
– I think the big thing is you have to focus on the perks of volleyball, because when you do focus on drawbacks it becomes very heavy on your shoulders. As I said before, the drawback is being away from family, being with them, missing birthdays. I missed so many weddings of my friends and of course I’m not complaining, but in California is 30 degrees right now, all my friends are on the beach (laugh). Seeing my friends, be in my city, different restaurants I like, relationships. You see, for American players it’s either you marry your college girlfriend or you’re single, because it’s so difficult to have a long-distance relationship and no matter where the girl is, it’s gonna be a long distance. So having a normal relationship it’s almost impossible and even when you do have a wife or a fiancé or a girlfriend, they’re making very big sacrifices. It’s just tough having a balance. I mean there’s a lot of players that just quit, because it’s too much sacrifice. Lots of American player just stopped their career even though they were great players. Even if they love volleyball, going to Europe to play is too much. I think that the important thing is to find each day with purpose because no matter what team are you in, there always gonna be problems. When you’re in the team, which is not winning, it’s a problem. When you’re in the team which is in the middle, you gonna loose games, and there’s gonna be problem. Or even if you’re in Resovia you gonna loose with the team which is below you and there’s gonna be problem. You can’t really put your happiness in volleyball, because there always can be a difficult time and there always are times where it’s more sadness than joy. Finding a purpose in each day for me is trying to stretch, watch video and prepare myself to be the best I can, but also to push another passion like veganism, minimalism and meditate. I’m producing the happiness inside of me instead of letting things that I can’t control do that, like wins or loses or if the coach is happy with me. I don’t let addict my happiness to them. I like this a lot being overseas, because I have so much time to develop myself as a person.

 

To sum up, should be a passion the reason of our life, in your opinion?
– Passion and purpose. And to be able to volunteer and give back to other people. These three things I find important. I think with leaving a legacy after volleyball I can push more in this regard. In the meantime, I try to do as much as I can in social media and just help younger players. Passion, purpose…

 

And being happy maybe, because you seem to be so optimistic person.
– Yeah or it’s true failure. Especially when I was in Brazil I put too much on my happiness and it helped the team when we were doing well, but I would feel so sad and I don’t know if “depressed” was the term, but I just didn’t have this joy for life. I realized that if I have the choice to be happier or sad, why would I wanna be sad? The problem was: how can I be happy if the team isn’t doing well? What can I do outside of volleyball to make me happy? In this journey of developing my happiness and passion for life I’ve learned to focus on the inside instead of the outside.

 

We started from the quote, so maybe we should end the same way. What quote would you dedicate to all your fans and followers?
– I like “Do it with passion or not at all”. There’s a lot of times when people ask me at home, if I wanna do something and I feel rude but sometimes I just say “no”. When I’m not passionate about it, I don’t wanna do that. If I end doing something, whether it’s training, maybe making the power or being with fans, I want to do it with the smile and I really want to enjoy that moment as much as possible, because the present moment is all we ever have, the past is something that was the present, and the future, no matter how much we imagine it, will probably not happen. So being in the present moment and being as passionate and as happiest as I can – this is something I want to continue in my life, no matter what I’m doing.

 

POLISH VERSION

 

Interview conducted by Małgorzata Kilijanek

Photo: M-volley

                        

 

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