I came across a wonderful article in my RSS reader today called Beyond Talent & Motivation. The following text is modified from that to suit my own life and where I like to implement these things, as well as where I see a particularly strong association in the way I am doing / not doing things:
I love persistent people who are able to learn from mistakes. People that persist at something as difficult as Ironman or Multi Day Stage Racing are driven by more than the desire for achievement. They want to really breakthrough. There is a desire for greatness that permeates extreme endurance sports. It’s completely infectious to outsiders who poke their heads in from time to time too.
When we look at exceptional athletes, what lessons can we apply to our own lives? What is different from the way we live our lives?
* They know their mission
* They simplify their lives to achieve their mission
* Their mistakes are visible
* They change as a result of their mistakes
Bring your mission down to a single sentence for each key area for your life (family, work, self). Here are mine:
* Love My Family
* Deliver Value
* Train Daily
Know the price of your time (something which has been a total revelation in the office I work in), so you will be at peace when you say “no” to attractive opportunities. The most successful people that I’ve had the pleasure of learning from are also really good at saying “no” with compassion (or they are great at creating total isolation, something I find myself striving for more and more).
Ironman is an interesting niche — consider nutrition — many of us hurt ourselves with excessive control, while living in a society that is, broadly, out of control.
Great athletes have the ability to discipline themselves enough to get the job done, but not so much that they break down. Keeping track of mistakes is a good way to figure out your relationship with control. You should also know your coach’s blind spots, with regards to control. This last point is something I can happily admit to still be learning. At times it’s tough to spot the blind spots on the athletes I am working with, as well as spotting where my own coach is perhaps not seeing the whole picture. Blind spots exist and we best learn how to spot them early.
Athletic mistakes (injury, excessive fatigue, poor performance, weight gain, chronic depletion, immune suppression) are a normal part of our journey. Typically, most of us will rationalize away our errors with an external cause. With any repeating set-back, look for the internal cause.
When I think about the highest achievers, they have an ability to learn from their errors and take steps to limit repeating the same errors. They also have the confidence to stand by their decisions.
The difference between a good race and a great race likely comes down to a dozen key decisions across the year. As a good athlete, you’re already doing things right. Get visibility where you may have gotten in your own way last year.
As you head into the new year — keep what worked and simplify your life so you can do more of what you’re good at. When you do your season review — seek counsel to create a limited number of guidelines to protect you from your extreme tendencies.
What a great piece of advice.
Tracking greatness and spotting the traits in those who I choose to surround myself with which, in my humble opinion, make them outstanding human beings, is the simplest way to learn how to be great ourselves. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes many tough decisions along the way. People around you may not realise how much strain you are taking having made these decisions and you may end up holding onto something wild and trivial to give reason and justification to your actions, but in the end, you cannot bullshit life.
It will be clear for all to see and in the end, it’s about toughing it out, even when it looks easy to those around you, because like John Collins said;
“You can quit. You`ll be the only one who knows why, and the only one who cares.”
Do, Learn, Repeat…