Have you ever heard the saying “You are the average of the 5 closest people to you”? Well, it turns out that this saying is very accurate.
This term was coined around the idea of the law of averages, a commonly held belief that a particular result will occur as often as its historical probability. The law of averages principle not only applies to our jobs, responsibilities and day-to-day activities, but it also applies to our sporting endeavour’s, such as triathlon.
If you want to become a stronger athlete, you need to get used to sharing time and space with athletes who are faster and stronger than you are. Sharing time with those you look to emulate is the key in becoming physically and mentally stronger. No one was born with all the skills and even those who are now on the podium each race were once beginners.
We have all travelled a similar journey on our way to master the swim, bike, run and the elements that go beyond these three disciplines. You may have taken on an online triathlon coach or joined a local triathlon squad. The skills and knowledge, as well as the group environment, will help drive you towards your own success. Along your triathlon journey you may even notice your humanity, your finances, your knowledge, routines and mindset will change, thanks to those who you surround yourself with along the way.
As an athlete looking to improve, you need to become accustomed to training with someone stronger than you. The more you start sharing the training space with outstanding athletes, the more you will start to understand aspects like their physical patterns when performing in any of the three disciplines, their response to high demand. And don’t stop there, get comfortable asking the experts every single question that comes to your mind. Endurance sports are not only about putting in the training hours, but it is also about learning the tricks of the sport.
On a deeper level, attaining improvement means you need to start understanding aspects related to a successful athlete’s day to day life. The way they sleep, the way they eat, the day-to-day routines, all of these are crucial in understanding what constitutes a strong person and a strong athlete. You will see the good, and the tough things, like that even the best of the best have a cheat meal every now and then.
You will be exposed to the real-life importance of work-training-family-life balance and the routines around that. By surrounding yourself with those who have mastered such balance you will understand what it looks like and how to find it. Have you ever wondered how a successful athlete can train 15-20 hours per week while having a full-time job, a family, kids and responsibilities? Why not ask them. Be sure to spend time with them. Learn all the little tricks they have and try to adapt some of these into your daily routine.
Finally, get comfortable understanding the life philosophy of a successful athlete. Any athlete who has spent enough time in the sport will have developed a personal philosophy around the sport and how it applies and relates to their life. From a purely performance-based aspect, to a more social one. A person who has a clear narrative of who they are in a more spiritual and emotional sense will develop healthy emotional habits that can be shared and strengthened with other people who have a similar mindset. Understanding what moves an athlete will allow you to see the fuel that ignites the spirit of the strongest, and it will also inspire you to find such fuel inside yourself.
On the flip side, connecting with another person, regardless of who they are or their background, will give them the opportunity to see you as well and learn from you. A good athlete, a good coach, a good person, is someone who is continuously learning and growing. Allowing others to get to know you will open the door for them to see the greatness in you. Sometimes all you need is to see what makes you special through the eyes of someone else.
If you are reading this and you feel like you need to take the next step in your journey to greatness, then ask yourself these questions;
Who are the closest people to you?
Do they inspire you to become a better person?
Do they take you away from your comfort zone or do you feel that they are continuously pushing you down?
Do you consider yourself a positive influence on those around you?
Do you motivate others?
Do you challenge yourself or are you just floating through life?
Is your presence a motivating factor?
Remember that you are the average of the closest people around you, and you can also transform the life of those closest to you. Behind this process of sharing more time with those athletes around you goes beyond understanding their interest for physical activity. It dives into the understanding that both pro athletes and beginners are humans after all. They each come with emotions, fears, passions and dreams. There is nothing super-human that separates the best in the sport with those who are just engaging in it. The realisation that we are just as human as the athlete who has conquered all the podiums can be the fuel we need to step up in our training and start aiming towards loftier goals.
In the end, team environments give each and every one of us the opportunity to create meaningful connection with amazing and unique human beings. Learning from the others will also give them the opportunity to learn from you.