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Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?

January 8, 2018





Will it make the boat go faster?


You might ask what do boats have to do with your health and fitness goals?


The Australian Mens Eight Rowing team that won the Gold Medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 put every decision they made in the 18 months preceding the games down to one critical question...


‘Will it make the boat go faster?’


...with the simple premise that if the answer was ‘yes’ they went ahead with their choice, and if the answer was ‘no’ they revised their choice to get their metaphorical boat closer to the finish line. There is a widely recommended book by the same title and written by Harriet Beveridge available on this topic.


You can use this type of psychological ‘hack’ to break your more complex choices into something a little bit simpler.


“Comparison is the thief of joy” - US President Roosevelt


I recently listened to a podcast by Irish blogger Brian Keane and he referenced the above quote by President Roosevelt that “comparison is the thief of joy” and it still holds much relevance today.


A recent #StatusOfMind report highlighted the negative impact social media (particularly Instagram) can have on mental health.


This is due to a “compare and despair” attitude as people pit themselves against one another for likes based on body image, social activity, wealth and ability (among other variables). They found that the longer time somebody spent on social media during the day and the higher number of social media channels they subscribed was shown to have a direct and noticeable impact on common mental health and happiness markers.


"I’ll be happy when…."



Have you ever caught yourself thinking ‘I’ll be happy when… I have a new car; I have a new house; I have a new girlfriend; I have a new job; I get a divorce; I retire and spend your life basing your happiness in the chance occurrence of future events?


People spend their lives paralysed by the fear of ‘failure’.


They are terrified that they may not fulfil their dreams so instead of embracing the journey and being motivated by the chance of success they simply never even try in the first place.


To paraphrase a TedTalk by Jon Bowers he explained


‘when the fear of failure is removed, there is only progess’


i.e failure is only what you allow it to become.


My Why


From a personal perspective I struggle (sometimes badly) with this because when you play a team sport it is impossible to separate external and internal validation.


Not being picked for a team, losing a match and injury are a selection of external factors that can affect your feelings of worth and happiness.


It is not a perfect science. I have to keep myself in check and accept that there are dreams I may never actually achieve but I will keep persevering to get as close to them as I can to give myself the best opportunity.


There are any number of quotes available that address this from slightly different angles but...