A friend was kind enough to send me an email telling me where "Wherever you are, be there" comes from. It is the title of an essay/speech from Jim Rohn: a successful business philosopher. I almost feel a bit foolish having not known that given his extensive success and influence. At any rate, you can find the full text if you do any google search with the title and the author's name. I won't paste it here since I'm not sure if he appreciates that, but here is a direct link where you can read it yourself.
Its an interesting (and short, go read it now if you haven't already) read and it can likely be helpful with nearly everything we want do well. I immediately tried to evaluate whether or not I have applied his philosophies in the past and whether I apply them today.
I think its a common misconception to assume that complete obsession is essential to success in athletics or otherwise. I suppose I've known some pretty damn successful obsessive people so I might not always be right, but I've known far more that have crashed and burned from hitting it too hard in their respective fields (mostly in athletics).
I think these burnout victims never had the ability to turn their minds off from sport. When obsession leads to negligence in an athlete's life outside of sport they will feel overwhelmed and, ironically, it will be this aspect, and not sport itself, that leads to their exit.
I believe there have to be moments in an athlete's day, week, month, and year when they allow themselves to just "be a dude" (or dudette). Great athletes need great breaks.
Another component that Rohn comments on is the ability to focus specifically on the moment and/or task at hand. In sport, this is probably the greatest skill an athlete can possess.
When people ask me what I think about when swimming, biking, or running I simply tell them that I think about swimming, biking, and running.
"Don't you get bored?"
No. Except maybe when I swim 500s.
But seriously, I've spent thousands of hours doing all three so that would be a lot of time to be bored. It has served as "focused fun" for me. (An expression from G Byrn that I have always liked).
This was not always the case and I'm not immune to falling back into seeking distractions.
A few years ago I was dealing with a lot in my personal life while trying to train and race successfully. I found myself with a mind that was working overtime to solve problems (out of my control, no less) in my personal life no matter what time of day it was and no matter what I was doing. It peaked when I was sitting at a convenience store in Whitewright, Texas with a thousand yard stare on my face. I was totally focused on the wrong things at the wrong time. There was nothing I could do about my personal life while perched on a curb 40 miles from home.
For whatever reason I made a deal with myself that day. Essentially the conversation in my head sounded something like this:
"For the next 40 miles you are going to focus on nothing, but riding this bike. When you get home you can worry yourself sick with things out of your control; just not know."
Its impossible for me to completely avoid outside thoughts from creeping into my mind, but I always revert back to that day when they do. I do my best to focus solely on the task at hand and when the session is over I refocus on other aspects of my life.
Be "all there," as Rohn says; no matter what you are doing.
The warm weather came out in Boulder this past week and I rode outside for the first time since IMFL. Nice to have a break from staring at the wall.
Bring on February,
Read more on Jim Rohn at http://www.jimrohn.com/