Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ideals and knowing too much for your own good...

It's interesting the ideals that we are presented with in this day and age. There's fashion, dating, careers, houses, belongings, wealth, and just about anything else that you can see on primetime television. No matter what subject you approach, there is some sort of 'ideal' aspect involved with that particular thing. Nothing is safe.

Take the Olymics for example. Beyond all the medals, the competition, the guts, blood sweat and tears, there is an unbelievable amount of advertising. And for what products you might ask? Fast food, softdrinks, and STUFF. Every third commercial is for McDonalds or Coca Cola. These companies sell ideals. They attempt to put you in a "happy place", enjoying their food/beverage and the "wonderful times" that go along with it. Why? I can't have a "wonderful time" eating the turkey sandwhich I just made? Or is that tap water I'm drinking not going to influence my happiness? This is all not to mention the fact that they show OLYMPIC ATHLETES consuming these products! I almost laughed my ass off when I saw the awkward sight of a shredded track runner holding a freakin' Big Mac. Do people really believe this crap? And what type of a messege is that sending to the mostly overweight children in our country? "Hey Bobby, you too could swim like Michael Phelps...just down this Quarter Pounder and..." Seriously, what the hell?!

Ideals are not always bad however. When directed properly, they can be a very powerful motivating factor. In athletics, we learn that we can all reach a certain level of 'ideal' performance. The only issue with that is that we must seek our own ideal and not someone elses. We're taught that if we do the right things (i.e. train hard, rest hard, and leave the damn Big Mac alone) we can create in ourselves, an ideal atmosphere for success. However, as simple as this may seem, we often times find ourselves stuck in the sludge of our own minds. We compare ourselves to others, often analyzing their performances much more than our own. We're only setting ourselves up for failure in doing so.

I totally admire the outlook of Ironman World Champion Chrissy Wellington. So much has been made of the fact that in winning (in her first attempt no less) the Ironman World Championship, she didn't even know many of the "big names" she was competing against. To me, this says volumes about not only her, but her coach, Brett Sutton, as well. Psycholgically, she was set up to be racing truly against herself. They created the ideal environment for her to succeed. While so many athletes, whether they consciously know it or not, set themselves up for failure, she was in a position where the only option was to just go. She kept it simple and let her hard work and discipline shine through on the course. Without a doubt, she's the "big name" now.

So in putting this into my own life, I can say that in many ways, ignorance is bliss. It's taken me a long time to put some things together in my life, and I'm still working on a lot more. From what I've learned, putting your focus in a positive direction and allowing your brain to be concerned with only the body that's below it is paramount. I can't say that it's easy, but I believe it's safe to say that true success comes from developing your own, true ideal.


S. Kumar Arumugam said...
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S. Kumar Arumugam said...

This post rings true, not just for athletics, but for life in general. You write very well.

Dave said...

Thanks Kumar, I really appreciate it! You're right, we need to have balance in all parts of our lives. In the end it not only helps us to organize, but to be happy as well. Thanks for reading!