Something to get off my (ample) chest

There are questions of accessibility, there are questions of equality of opportunity, of conduct of superiors and how we should all be given a chance but there seems to be little conversation about what happens when those opportunities are there.

Some people seem to have a habit of being in the right place at the right time, and others seem to have chance after chance after chance land in their lap because of location, ancestors or money. Is it right? Actually, you know what, I'm steering clear of the social ethics conversation today. I'm not a political animal and this blog, as the literary equivalent of a man laughing to himself as he farts in the bath, has no interest in attracting people from either end of the political spectrum because of its leanings. In so far as it might attract anybody at all, the intent is only ever to spark a question or two, to get people thinking.

And that brings me back on track (see, it does happen occasionally). In the various aspects of my life I am privileged to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds, qualifications, or not, desires, drives and pressures. Down the years, the stand out successes that I have worked with have been the driven ones. But it is not just focus and knowledge of what they are about, it is balanced with and indeed in a lot of cases, predicated on, an ability to maintain contact with the outside world and relate to the people around them.

It is too easy for people to become a distraction, so I get the desire to retreat into yourself, batten down the hatches and brace yourself for a lifetime of siege warfare. I get it, I really do. People can be crap. People can bring you down, suck all the joy and hope out of your life. They disappoint and frustrate and obstruct. They will drag you back down to their level when they see you start to flourish and rise up above the throng. After all, without other people, you can't have social loafing, right? With all that true, quite right that you should ignore the world and do what you do.

Hang on though, many of the examples of the great individual and small group fighting against the world forget the support network that enables them to get there. Coaches; trainers; managers; family; team-mates, it is not an endless list but it is there. The 300 Spartans who stood alone against the might of the world? OK, yes, you've got me there, wait, hang on, what about the thousand Thebans and Thespians who stayed with them for the final stand or the 6,000 or so others who had fought alongside them for the first two days? Or how about the free men and women, and the slave class who fed and clothed and armoured and trained the army? Doesn't it detract from the glorious insanity of the legend to consider all these other players? Not for me it doesn't.

Brilliant, so without other people I have an excuse for not blooming? No, you've missed the thrust of where I've been going with this. That's square in the middle of the throng of people who take no responsibility for their own situation. Support is crucial if you are going to hit the ultimate heights but there is so much that can be achieved with your own propulsion. "I'm not performing because my manager doesn't motivate me" (sports people will probably read footballers into this scenario, office dwellers, their colleagues!); "My trainer isn't pushing me enough". What on earth are you waiting for? Inspiration? The magic words from your captain or coach? The inaugural address from your president or prime minister? The magic words from your party wizard? People may be persuasive, they might light a fire under you but they're appealing to the senses and desires that are already there. They are giving permission, or shining a light on a goal. They may be removing obstacles from in front of you but you've still got to walk forward, to place one foot after the other.

Equally, people may be holding doors shut, or erecting barricades but the focused, the driven, the truly great find their way through or over or around those blockades, often with like-minded people leaning their shoulder into it, or providing a leg-up for them to scale the wall.

I'm just ranting and rambling now. Did I have a point? Yes, it was this. If you are not giving it everything that you have at the moment, why is that? You're waiting for the big finger to descend from the sky and say "it's you", or for the dragon to tell you that they are in? Yes, we should help people achieve their dreams, their goals but if you're the one with the dream, what have you done to help yourself? No, don't give me the "Yes [or no], but..." But nothing. Take the first step, start to make it happen. The world might well rub your face in the dirt but if you pull your head out of your own rectum for a second and try it, you infinitely increase your chances of success. And if you don't or can't take that first step, what are you going to do if and when the door is held open for you, even if it is only slightly ajar?

You want success from your training or your job? YOU do something about it. If you're not getting the results from your work or workout, ask yourself this: What did you do the last time your coach wasn't there to watch you? When did you last do something without somebody having to ask you to or tell you what to do? When did you last go medicinally or nutritionally off-piste because your doctor or nurse or nutritionist or trainer weren't looking?

Thought so.

When your answer to that question is different, come back to me, I may have a degree more sympathy for you. In the meantime, I'll go back to helping those who need AND want my help.



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