For the most part of my life, I have been racing in mountain bike competitions.
Since I’m old enough to take part in the Elites races of my country, I’ve had to endure countless hours of training. During the season, it can easily reach 15 hours a week.
And fun isn’t the word I’d use to describe this spare-time activity. During the almost-daily interval training, you have to continue till you can’t hold the targeted power. Till you can’t take it anymore.
How do I know if I went far enough? Was it my mind that forced me to stop? Or was it my body? It’s really hard to know.
That’s why you have to push as far you can, in order to minimize the potential regrets that come later.
Many times you just can’t help but think that this has to stop. But you don’t. You keep on working out. Every single day.
Because you know this is what can get you to the Top-25, the Top-10, the Podium, or whatever goal you’ve set.
This is what it takes.
That’s part of the reason most athletes have trainers. To help us both working in the right direction AND avoid quitting.
Mine is more a mentor than a trainer.
There are countless lessons that I can draw from my experience in moutain bike racing.
But the one I’m not ready to forget started from something my trainer told the whole team after a race:
Remember, you are where you are now, you made it to the podium, or you simply finished your first Elites race because of your training and your dedication. Not because of luck. Luck doesn’t exist in cycling.
After a small break he continued:
The only thing that can prevent you from reaching your goal is bad luck. Shit happens. But it can’t happen all the time. One day you’ll reach your goal, and it won’t have anything to do with luck.
It’s Easy to Think “I was lucky”
Being an athlete is far from easy. Just like being anyone with great responsibilities, or working on something that requires creativity.
And in these three situations that came to my mind, self-confidence is probably the hardest skill to master.
For instance, after every achievement comes a time for doubts. This specific time where you can’t help but wonder if it was even a product of your work.
But instead a great alignment of stars.
Or even the side-effect of something totally unrelated such as wearing your fetish socks or whatever thing you did that coincidentally matched with your achievement. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Yet, the training is obviously the cause of the achievement.
This is the kind of thing that we have to remember and remind ourselves.
Luck Is Nothing but a Jealous Misconception
I’m pretty sure that everyone has fallen for jealousy, at least once (c’mon, maybe for a very very short moment?).
I mean, it’s so easy to think that Benjamin P. Hardy was lucky to reach the #1 writer status on Medium. Or that J.K. Rowling was lucky to have this idea of a world of sorcerers. Or that Jeff Bezos was lucky to create one of the first online retailers.
But it certainly doesn’t account for all the work they’ve been doing, whether it was publishing thousands of articles, (re)writing thousands of chapters, or defeating thousands of opponents with innovations.
For the countless hours they’ve had to spend perfecting their skills.
For the countless obstacles they’ve had to overcome.
That’s why their success has absolutely nothing to do with luck.
My trainer wasn’t actually right about something: luck is not only absent from cycling, but from every field. Whether it’s business, technology, publishing, science or politics.
We can wait for the starts to align. Maybe they will.
Or we can Act. Learn. Improve. Grow. Build. Lead. Compete.
Luck is a notion some people invented to justify their lack of success regarding others.
Back to the cover picture. Yes, this one was actually meaningful.
Should we pick the books on the left or the Maneki-neko, “fortune cat”, on the right?
I’d obviously go for the former.