I rode around the Big Island last week and had a chance to run through my thoughts about the nature of sport. Specifically, I was exploring why cheating gets us excited. A few years from now the scandals of 2011 will fade but the challenge of living in a world with different cultures will remain.
When I find myself getting stressed about life, I ask myself, “What do I want from this situation?” The bottom line with regard to elite sport is entertainment. The emotional conflict starts to arise when I mix my goals from participating with my goals from observing. As an observer of sport, more and more, I feel like we’ve been punked.
However, feeling like I’ve been stiffed doesn’t do a whole lot other than spoil an otherwise excellent day! To sort through the underlying emotional cause of my ‘disappointment’, I consider the advice, “when you think someone has deceived you, ask yourself what you desired from them.”
There were a lot of life lessons that I took from my elite athletic career. Two that stand out are:
- Work and persistence will make you better than you ever thought possible.
- Teach yourself how much is enough and how to say no.
Those two lines capture much of what’s required for a life with meaning. If you add the Golden Rule then you have a straightforward code for self-improvement.
That’s all well and good but cheating still irks me. The only effective antidote is coming back to my lessons and staying focused on the life I want to lead.
As an advisor, I would add two additional points:
- Trust your own experience.
- Question reality.
The last dozen years in triathlon have taught me that the only information in which you can have full confidence is your own. Even then, be cautious as methodology, devices and error will have an impact on results.
When you see others performing at a level that defies your personal reality, enjoy the performance but be true to your own situation.
Performance that falls far from the mean is typically due to chance (genetics) or outside influences. For this reason, base your approach on what you know is effective for you.
Fill your peer group with friends that reinforce the life you want to lead. Our character trends to a similar level of our inner circle.
Worry isn’t work (and work is far more important than worry).