For a while, I was a right misery guts. Maybe that's partly my British constitution, but a few years ago, when it came to my sport and achievements, I'd usually put a downer on things. Couple that with constantly comparing myself to other people, and it didn't make for a healthy mindset. Guess what? If you think like that, you only bring yourself and others down. You shut yourself off from opportunity and fall victim to your own misery; ultimately falling short of achieving what you could have, if only your mind had let you.
I used to think it was just me – I was wired that way, and I didn't give any attention to my outlook or attitude. A few years on, a few years out of triathlon, and I got the chance to go back in and become a pro. Not if I'm that miserable again thought I. So I made myself a deal. If I enjoyed it, I would stay the course. If I started to spiral downwards again, I would leave. There is more to life than being a downtrodden old soul. There is not enough time for it. We've got to go after happiness.
Triathlon's not an easy lifestyle. Money is worrisome. You're obviously tired a lot. There aren't many parties. But it certainly doesn't feel like I am sacrificing anything. I love it a lot of the time.
It's amazing what opportunities open up when you present to the world a positive outlook. Like attracts like and there's no denying that. It's often little things. Take today. In the past I've gone to the Post Office in a bad mood and had a boring time. I went in today, chatted to the Post Office Lady and we had a lovely, warming conversation. She wouldn't have responded so well if I'd simply thrust her my parcel whilst staring vacantly into the stratosphere.
We can avoid unfavourable people and situations, and immerse ourselves in a positive environment, but we can't block out all negativity. This is life, after all. What's really important is how we respond to these situations. There is a choice. Dwell on the bad stuff and you'll become a negative person yourself, and that's no fun to be around. The power of the negative is vast and hard to beat. I bet I am not the only one who can remember the one bad comment in amongst hundreds of good ones?
We can shape our own future. I know why I've been lucky (which means it's not luck at all). Lucky people just about always generate that good fortune themselves. I created then jumped upon opportunities given to me. Basically I decided what I wanted and pestered people until the right answers popped up. It's also about treating people as you would like to be treated, and trying to smile even when you're in a right old grump. You'll be surprised what offers come your way.
I've made wrong decisions many times. Either you get hurt then learn and grow, or you get hurt then become eternally resentful and negative. And guess what? If you pick the latter, yet more negativity is on its way.
So my advice? Choose a goal, have a dream, and support others in theirs. You'll pick yourself and others up. Sport is an amazing opportunity to get that feel-good factor and transform your life. Get after the good stuff.