A coach in my triathlon club posted the above, simple question on the club’s forum. On the surface the answers it generates seem relatively easy and straightforward – to swim, bike and run faster, to loose the love handles, to drink more beer and eat more pizza – you get the idea.
However, peeling some of the layers away provides a closer and perhaps more real perspective to that question.
For me, the answer comes from something this same coach often tells each of us before a big race – it is all cumulative. By that he means to remind us that we must pace ourselves because what we do on the swim affects the bike which, in turn, affects our ability to run.
The reminder that it truly is all cumulative relates to life as well as sport. In triathlon I know that each training session adds another small piece to my fitness and athletic levels. Each session slowly provides the foundation, followed by the walls and later the roof that is my athletic house. If I miss and/or short change those training efforts no one will know. When I decide to sleep instead of train there is no one who will care – except for me. But in the end, my athletic house will be that much weaker.
And I believe that the idea of everything being cumulative applies to life as well. How I treat my friends and family each day builds over time and creates the man and human that I am, and how I am perceived by these same people.
Doing my best at work or at play each day truly is cumulative. Each small step adds to the journey of life that all of us experience. Much like sport, we cannot go out and smile one day and frown the next or wake up and decide to treat our family in the special way that they deserve today, and revert back to the old us the next without corrosive results. When we hide from challenges we can quickly develop habits that will coagulate and solidify. And those habits – good or bad – are cumulative.
So now I, in turn, pose the question to you. What motivates you?