This weeks news about Sam Allardyce leaving his post as England manager raises a somewhat darker spectre over the culture in the UK at present. You may wonder how I’m going to tie this in to triathlon or training and frankly I’m not entirely sure, but we’ll have a go.
Whilst I’ve no intention of defending ‘Big Sam’ and my feelings on his appointment are irrelevant, the story of his ultimate demise as the latest great hope for England to achieve something is a concern.
The culture that now exists in the UK and to some degree around the world is one of cynicism and jealousy. As soon as someone achieves something or attains a position of power, the rest of the populace revel in the challenge of bringing them down.
I’m aware there has to be a balance here. If David Walsh hadn’t been so tireless we’d still be celebrating the achievements of Lance Armstrong, but there is a very apparent difference, there wasn’t a concerted effort to entrap someone by lining up the pieces, spending significant money and time and then hiding cameras to catch the words of a clearly naive England manager.
The joke that is the UK press continues to amaze, I’ve written before on the fetid lazy reporting of the Mail and the Sun so won’t bore you with my entire stream of consciousness, but in short the demise of the News of the World is testament to how poisonous the press are but there’s a but bigger than a Kardashian’s to the whole set up. If you look a little deeper they are supplying what the public want.
We want scandal, fear and pain. We want suffering reported on a global scale. We want hear how our lives are in the balance*. Tragically we demand to know that celebrities and sportspeople can be bribed, embarrassed and are liable to the same mistakes as mere mortal people. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of people on this planet have made mistakes (with the exception of Cliff Richard, who apparently is innocent). If you unleash the gutter press on anyone, they’ll dig up something to destroy that person. Just because someone has achieved, it should not be in the general interest to destroy them.
I blame Jeremy Beadle, he started ‘You’ve Been Framed’ and whilst it started as a reference to being caught on camera slipping on the dance floor and showing your knickers, it’s turned into a nation reveling in others failure. Taking Shakespeare out of context he had it nailed;
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
Should you suffer quietly as a result of your success and accept that with the trappings of effort and commitment you should accept that everyone is out to get you?
Why do I care?
I care because I think it’s poisoned my psyche. I genuinely believe I’m not an athlete. I beat myself up because that’s what we do. We revel in failure, we expect failure and when we don’t get it we figure it’s a fluke. That’s why successful people lead the line, they break that train of thought and believe in themselves enough to over-ride the ‘slings and arrows’.
I’m not fit, I don’t belong in the tribe of weekend warriors that perform at the limit of their abilities. I couldn’t possibly compete…… For perspective I’ve competed in 1 marathon, 5 Tough Mudders (no laughing at the back there), 2 duathlons, 6 triathlons and an Ironman. The last of which I completed inside the cut off. That puts me in the top ‘n’ of the populace in anyone’s book, apart from my own.
So that changes as of now.
I did, and will continue to do, things that many can’t and won’t.
I do it because I can
I believe that the only person I have to beat is yesterdays version of me.
I don’t care who beats me and I don’t care who I beat. This is purely me against myself.
What can you do?
So here’s where you come in with my handy 5 step program to being more content.
- Stop watching ‘You’ve Been Framed’ and Fail videos. Switch over to here and watch these guys. You own a billion dollar machine, use it wisely.
- Spend one day encouraging people, if you see someone fail at home or work, pick them up, help them out and help them learn. Pay it back.
- Stop buying the daily papers, don’t visit the websites, they are full of sh#t.
- Read The Chimp Paradox. Seriously, if it doesn’t change your view of your own reactions to the world, you’re already past saving. You should vote for Trump now.
- Do something right now that you’ve been putting off. Press ‘send’, pick up the phone, turn off the work email….
Would love your feedback on how that works out for you, failing that, sit back and hope that this post reaches nobody and you can smile at my failure, whilst I train for another marathon and Ironman 😉
When and if failure comes?
*If you want to read more on our culture of fear, check out this book – Scared to death