27 December 2008


I looked up the definition of excellence and came across several meanings, including: the fact of state of excelling; superiority; or eminence; or an excellent quality or feature. I think that everyone should be in a state of excelling. I'm not so sure that anyone should be in a state of superiority or eminence, but I truly believe that every person should be trying daily to become a better person.

In "Force of Nature," Laird Hamilton discusses the essentials of being the best. He actually made a list that I thought was pretty good and I thought I would share it, so here goes...

- "You've got certain basic strengths." - He says that there are some things that you can train and some things that you can't. I think that's what separates average from above average from excellent. Some people have innate strengths that allow them to push harder and longer than others.

- "Distractions don't phase you." - He encourages the reader to use distractions to your own benefit. I think the example he gave was that if you can't surf because of the weather, than you can find some other way to train that will enhance your surfing.

- "You're tough." - He discusses mental and physical toughness. My parents and I watched the IM World Championships (mostly because I bugged them to watch it with me) and my dad said that he thinks (and I happen to agree) that endurance sports require much more (like 90%) mental toughness than physical toughness.

- "You're sensitive to everything around you." - I loved it when he said, "Ignorance can be bliss, but it doesn't add up to greatness." In fact, I think that I'm going to use that one in class for my students. He talks about being aware of what's going on around you and taking that information in so that you can be prepared to make the necessary changes in order to be successful.

- "You sweat the details." - I'm so not a details person. I'm more of a see how it goes sort of person. However, when I stop to think about it, I'm pretty good with details when I want to be. Perhaps, I need to be more focused on the details during my training and racing this year.

- "You don't indulge the voice of doubt." - In the book, he said, "You decide what you want to believe." I love that. I think it's another quote that I'm going to use in my teaching. I already blogged about negative self-talk, so I won't get into that, but I do believe that statement. There is power in self-confidence.

- "You can operate hurt." - This is a weird concept for me to embrace because as an athletic trainer, it's in my nature to take care of injuries. However, he says that "when the subconscious part of your brain kicks in, you're in a more efficient and more powerful frame of mind." I'm not sure I get that, but I do think that our mind is very powerful and that we can overcome our natural inclination to stop doing something when it hurts.

- "You're solid." - In this section, he talks about integrity, which is so important to me. In fact, I'll have to write a blog entry about it sometime. Anyways, he asks the question, "who are you?" and suggests that we should all be able to answer that question. Being solid implies that you know who you are, what you stand for and where you're going.

Anyways, I certainly wouldn't describe myself as an excellent person. I do try to strive for excellence. I'm not the best at what I do in my job or in my racing or whatever, but I do try my hardest to be the best that I can be, which I think is really all that we can do.

I actually just had a thought...perhaps, I could use some of these points in my goals for the year. Hmmm... Actually, I probably just need to start writing down my plan and then making the necessary adjustments as I go.