Treating Yourself As An Olympian
By the age of 24, Katie Ledecky, had become a seven-time Olympic gold medal winner. During the 2016 Rio Olympics she burst onto the scene winning long distance swims by massive margins. Winning by margins that had never been seen in the top levels of competitive swimming. Holding three timed world records the nation recognized her as one of the greatest swimmers of all time before she could legally drink.
On first glance Katie defied logic with her performances. Genetically at six-feet tall she had a swimmer’s frame and penchant for spending time in the water. But talent alone didn’t get her to the top. She approached excellence from many directions which separated her from her competition. Katie during training periods would swim ten times per week travelling an average of 8,000 meters each session. That is swimming approximately 50 miles a week.
However, Olympic competitors all have natural talent, and they all train hard to become the best. Katie set herself apart using an all-encompassing approach eating a regimented and scientifically designed diet and rest schedule. Extensive strategy sessions and self-visualization paired with an internal drive to be the absolute best; Katie found the formula to rise to the top.
Reaching the top of your game means full commitment. There are multiple levels of performance in any field. Amateurs and poor performers to average and exceptional. This follows a path of gentle progression. Take for example of shooting a basketball. Your first shots are terrible but as you continue to practice you improve. After years you become above average and then good. Yet, those that obsess about shooting become the best in the world.
The drive to become the best is an internal calling. One where your mind must undergo a training regimen as well to rise to the top. The brain must find nourishment in continuously learning and developing. The second half of this journey is the maintenance of the mind in keeping sharp and nimble through training and exercises.
The body follows the mind. To clarify this isn’t a book about nutrition or exercise. However, to achieve peak mental performance your body will need to be exercised, rested, and follow a reasonable diet.
You accumulate things in life. If you take care of them they last or perform better than expected. It could be a car, a house, or even a relationship.
Take for example the maintenance care of a car. You could just drive it and not give it a second thought. Not taking it in for maintenance or giving it the care, it needs. More than likely, you will find yourself always taking it into the shop to get it fixed until finally you have to buy a new car.
On the flipside, let’s say that you give it the highest rated fuel so that the engine runs clean. You change the oil every three months and do preventative maintenance at every scheduled milestone. You then find that your car runs better and longer. Just like you as a person would if you take care of it.
Optimal performance consists of many building blocks on the path to achievement. This is not an endeavor that take hours or days to master but years and decades. There must be a significant level of motivation to fight for long term success to reach that pinnacle achievement.
Maybe there isn’t a pinnacle achievement though, you could just be looking for long term success. This simply could be career growth. That too takes a consistent execution of high-end performance.
Your desire maybe to do something great. To have a creative movement of excellence. To design a theorem that change the world. To develop a new business solution that transforms the marketplace. It can also be as simple as mastering your craft and feeling the satisfaction of being an expert craftsman.
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