The Cultivation metaphor helps appreciate this journey to becoming the athlete we aspire to be. Culture has preached to us all kinds of messages down through the years. In plausible frameworks, offered by people with letters after their name. One of the Army’s favourites is psychometric testing. With this you learn about your character type. You can couple this with online tools like the Briggs Myer test that gives you a letter coding to explain the preferences and intellectual pre-dispositions. Haven’t you always felt an inherent skepticism about the value of these tests? Haven’t you admired the rational and thought the results in many ways reflected your character, in some way and yet…I don’t know, something is just not right.
The trouble is these scientific theories, because that’s all they are theories, reinforce the received wisdom that we are hard-wired to behave in a certain way, so we say, “that’s just the way I am”. Now it is true that your genetic makeup, psyche, and environment all have a role in shaping your character. If we were not pre-disposed to be bad, cruel and lie then children wouldn’t provide such entertainment when they try to deny, with crumbs on their lips, that they have raided the cookie jar. They wouldn’t, without encouragement, pickup sticks to whack people and animals! There are all kinds of motivations that can cause us to adapt our behavior from when we were kids. Of course behavioural adaption is generally mistaken for maturity. We are going to seek to cultivate maturity that leads to performance.
The coaching strategies I have experienced all lean upon the motive for personal gain. Even Gordo Byrn, who blends performance with philosophy on his Endurance Corner site, is on a journey of ‘self discovery’, he want to be all he can be, husband, father, athlete. His writings are inward focused for his gain. I want us to veer away from that approach and design strategies based on how you can use you energies to help others.
I offering the opportunity to change your approach. If you have the perfect coaching strategy that is leading to a satisfying training and competitive experience, where the rewards manifest themselves in a harmonious life with those closest to you then please let’s share. However, if you are concerned about your selfishness, and you feel your performance is not delivering results then we can work on this together.
My next blog we talk about the sub 10 hour IM I’ll be completing in 2012 in the 45-49 age group and cultivating the fertile soil necessary to achieve that: