Senior’s motivational book tackles life’s obstacles

Andrew Linnabary

As an obstacle racer who has qualified for world championships twice, physical education senior Logan Harpool said he spent hours in a dark garage training by himself.

His mom didn’t understand why he couldn’t put the same dedication into his schoolwork.

“My mom called me out and said, ‘You know, you’ll train so hard for these races, but you won’t do the same thing in school,’” Harpool said. “I said, ‘Mom, that’s completely different.’ She told me, ‘No, you have a bad attitude towards it. You can do it — you just don’t want to.’”

Harpool said his mother’s words drove him to take the competitive mentality he had in sports and apply it to school. Now a Bill and Dorothy Cohen scholarship recipient, Harpool recently published a book, “Compete! Maximizing Your Potential for Success,” detailing his keys to success. Copies of the book are available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

“Writing this book was a bucket list thing,” Harpool said. “There’s two things in the world I know well: the Bible and competing. Every self-help book you read talks about needing to be mentally tough, needing to compete, but it doesn’t teach you how. I explain in the book how I did it.”

Harpool has faced obstacles outside of schoolwork: His mom spent years battling and finally beating cancer, and his best friend died in a car crash. Harpool said these hardships have helped him to push himself.

“The competitive stuff really came into play when my friend passed away,” Harpool said. “When my best friend died, I ran a race that we were supposed to be in together, and then I spoke at his funeral. Then I got asked to start speaking at churches. Who’s going to listen to the kid who finished his race 10th or 12th? I want to be first so I have an outreach.”

Harpool said his book is unique because it’s written by a typical student, not a celebrity.

“Not to take anything away from other self-help books, but they’re written by world champions,” Harpool said. “It’s hard to relate to. You’re not living that lifestyle. When you’re reading it written by a kid living in his parents’ basement, it’s a little different.”

The book has 20 chapters, with titles such as “Train Your Mind” and “Embrace Obstacles, Create Luxuries.” Harpool said he wanted chapters to be easy to read during daily commutes. He used a text-to-speech app to write, giving the book a conversational tone.

“I’m not a scholar, I don’t try to act like one, I’m not going to use a thesaurus and use words I don’t even know the meaning of,” Harpool said. 

In his freetime, Harpool coaches middle school basketball and high school baseball, and said he loves when his players actively want to do better.

“I love when those kids show up and say, ‘I want to do better,’” Harpool said. “I tell them, ‘You’re easy to coach, dude. You’ve already got it. All I have do is tell you what to do and you’re going to do it. I don’t have to try to motivate you.’” 

Harpool said it’s essential to truly want to have something, no matter what it is.

“If you say you want it, that’s not enough,” Harpool said. “You have to show that you want it. The ability to work behind closed doors is essential. You can’t just show up on race day and want it.”

Nobody wants to be bad at something, Harpool said, but it’s essential to work on those weak spots. 

“You just don’t want to accept the fact that you’re not good at something,” Harpool said. “But attacking a weakness — that’s a competitive attitude.” 

As for his own personal motivators, Harpool has four — his mom, dad, brother and his faith in Jesus Christ.

“Those four people are really what motivate me every day,” Harpool said. “My faith more than anything.”

And as for his future, Harpool said his main goal is graduation.

“Graduate, keep writing, teach, coach – I’ll see what happens,” Harpool said. “I’ve been speaking at local high schools about my book.” 

Harpool said people who don’t see things as a competition should give his book a try, just to see what they’re capable of.

“A competitive attitude doesn’t guarantee success, but it unlocks potential for you,” Harpool said. “So if you don’t see things as a competition, you have potential you have yet to tap into. If you’re really good at what you do and you’re not competing, you could be better.”