The Four Pillars of Success

When engaging in a new activity, most people quickly come across another like-minded person who is a master within the activity group or team. They see this master as a shining light who aces every single task. Whatever the master does is a complete success, they seem unstoppable.

It is easy to conclude that this master is just a naturally gifted person. Perhaps they are well on their way to the mythical target of the 10000 hours of practice to achieve this mastery in their skill. They make everything they do look easy, and it is hard to imagine them as anything other than the best. The reality, however, is that in order to become the best, there are certain emotional aspects that the master has had to pass through.

There are four emotional elements that are required on a day-to-day basis to become a master at an activity. These elements cannot just be present for one day, or a week. They must be learnt, always retained and accessible in the life of the master. These four emotional pillars for success are ‘confidence’, ‘autonomy’, ‘capacity to relate’ and ‘curiosity’.


This relates to a person’s perception of self-efficacy and self-image. They way a person engages in a challenge, how they feel when it seems that a task is too difficult or too complicated. When learning this pillar, ask yourself what your reaction is when you see a hill too high, or a distance too far. Have you backed away from the challenge, or have you faced the challenge believing in your skills? Have you thought of the people around you and how they will react? There is no right or wrong answer, but these questions will help you know where are you stand in your confidence level.


Your capacity to do things that make a difference. This can be something as simple as going to sleep earlier, or eating healthy food instead of cookies for lunch. Success in this case relates to all those conscious choices that you do in your day-to-day life. Every single choice you make can add to a better life and better prospects.

Capacity to relate

Sometimes, success is not what you know but who you know. In Triathlon it might not be about being the most skilled athlete, but relating to those who can nurture your capacities and promote your personal growth. Ask yourself to who you are connected? Is your family, friends and community supporting you and cheering for you, or are they always looking for that moment when you fall to your knees? Creating positive and meaningful connections is extremely important if your aim is personal growth.


This comes from your inner core, the need to know more. Athletes who relate to this pillar are those who ask everything of their coach. Who, what, how, why? All these questions are valuable and striving for more answers will help you become the best version of yourself.

These pillars go hand-in-hand. If you work on one, the rest will grow as well. If you are thinking about attempting a half ironman training plan, or even a full ironman, always think of the four pillars of success as you make your decisions. Challenging yourself to be the best version of yourself is a daily routine that will teach you aspects of your own personality that you didn’t even know you had. The human body is a machine capable of endless possibilities, but to travel beyond your limits you need to grow and nurture your skills every day in every possible way.

When aiming for success, look for ways to improve your self-confidence, your autonomy, your social skills and your curiosity. Always try to consistently practice what you have learned and finally, reward yourself for every small victory. That way you will be the best athlete you ever dreamed of, and someone new to the sport will one day look at you in awe of how you have mastered your practiced skill set.

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