Note: This is a guest post by Julian of Present Outlook
I’ve just finished reading Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong. What an amazing guy! What did he have that the other people don’t have? He had the determination to persevere regardless of circumstances. His experience recovering from testicular cancer had a huge impact upon him. So much so that he won the Tour de France a record breaking 7 times from 1999 to 2005. What an incredible achievement. Despite retiring after the 7th win he is coming out of retirement to attempt it again in 2009.
The potential for this determination was within him before he got cancer. That experience brought it out of him. If the potential was already there within him, is it possible that it could have been developed within him in another way? Would he have won the Tour de France 7 times if he didn’t get cancer?
I believe everyone has vast untapped potential within them. It’s there for us to realise but only if we really work hard for it. If you want to draw the best out of yourself you’ll really have to work for it. Here are a few things I was reminded of when reading this book:
Work hard for what you want – I find that the best sessions I have at the gym are when I absolutely don’t want to go. Those days when I finish work and just want to crawl straight into bed I’m so tired. Those are the days when I have a real battle with myself and have to really force myself into it. I find that when I have to really dig deep it snaps me out of the slump I’ve been in. I’ve come to see it as quite therapeutic. Even to the point where if I’m feeling stuck in a rut then I’ll go to the gym and see if I can blast myself out of it. It usually does the trick.
Challenge yourself constantly – You’ve probably heard of the idea of doing something that frightens you everyday. I don’t think it’s always possible to do that in everyday 9-5 life, but it’s certainly a good idea. How do you feel when you’ve done something you never thought you could? If you don’t know what that feels like then you haven’t lived!
Have goals – Goals give you purpose and direction. Motivation is meaningless unless you have direction for it. Figure out what you want in life, then get fired up to go get it.
Don’t doubt yourself – Too many times people have lost the race before they’ve even got to the start line. They doubt their ability, their heart isn’t really in it and they don’t think they can do it. I’m all for a practical and realistic approach to life and ambitions. But you can still be ambitious and set your sights high.
Focus – If you really want something then you really need to focus yourself on getting it. If you are juggling all sorts of other things and distracted then you won’t really be able to apply yourself. Eliminate distractions and simplify your life so that your goal becomes clear without being lost in the fog of the everyday clutter of your life.
Prioritise – If you want something you have to go out and get it. You have to improve your time management and really commit yourself to achieving it. You have to commit in reality as well as in your head. You have to do the hard yards. You have to get up at 5.30am and go out for a training ride. Or come home from work and spend your evening working on that business you’re trying to start up. It won’t happen by just talking about it. The person who makes sacrifices is the one who achieves his or her goal.
I highly recommend reading one of Lance’s books. Or any biographies of inspirational figures. It doesn’t matter if they’re sporting, political or just ordinary people. Reading about how other people have risen above challenges in their lives can be really inspiring.
If you enjoyed this you might like to check out Julian’s blog Present Outlook for similar articles.
Photo by judepics