What is an athlete? What distinguishes them from ordinary people? What is the essential element that places him/her above others?
The 3 characteristics of an athlete
1- The search for performance
- Consistency and constant improvement
An athlete performs because he or she is able to deliver a result consistently. The main difference between an athlete and an amateur is the consistency in the high level of effort and results. An amateur can perform exceptionally well, yet his irregularity is what separates him from champions. Consistency is a key element, whether in practice, in effort or in improvement. The search for improvement is a vital element that athletes cherish, without it, it is impossible to reach the top.
- Hard work
Hard work is essential. According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to reach the level of a master in a field. Are you ready for such a commitment of time, energy and resources? An athlete, because he is passionate, does not count the hours dedicated to practice, even if it involves suffering. His brain becomes somehow addicted to pain. His relationship to work is completely different from that of other people. He comes to love pain, because he knows it is the path to excellence, he falls in love with the process of having to focus on results.
2- Psychic conditioning
The work of the unconscious is crucial for an athlete. The athlete becomes obsessed with his art and visualizes in advance what is going to happen to him during competitions or simply the next day in training. The work of the unconscious becomes like second nature. When the athlete is not working his body, his mind takes over. There is a kind of cooperation that takes place: the body helps the mind to believe in it by the intense effort it provides, then the mind visualizes what the body will be able to provide in the following days, months and years. It is an important balance to maintain in order to get the best in the long run. The body does not go without the mind and vice versa.
The choice to do just one thing and eliminate everything else
Pleasure is in practice
The athlete does not need to find satisfaction outside the practice of his discipline (money, fame etc.). Without a passion for selfless practice, the fruits of meaningful work cannot be reaped in the long term. Since fame comes long after the first efforts, the athlete does not look at the short-term benefits. He concentrates on a passionate, obsessive practice of his art. It is only after paying the price for many years that the athlete is rewarded. This is why it is essential to take pleasure in the practice itself. Practice is everything for the athlete.
The search for level 2 pleasure
An athlete learns from an early age to sacrifice immediate pleasures: playing with friends, eating sugar etc. No matter how much immediate pleasure he experiences, he must face a certain weariness that comes from the almost mechanical repetition of movements and training.
This explains the need to create a level 2 pleasure which is in fact the pleasure of having reached his daily or weekly goals. The athlete is motivated by performance indicators that he or she or his coach will have defined. Achieving the set objectives brings pleasure and satisfaction. The athlete knows how to revel in these indirect or qualified level 2 pleasures.
So, if you want to excel in a field, you owe it to yourself to choose something you are so passionate about that you are ready to devote your life to it. Few people are ready for such a commitment, so there is always room at the top.