A distraction is something that takes your attention away from what you want to focus on. By definition, it’s bad.
Therefore, in elite sports language, while focus and obsession are indicators of future successes, distractions are like gluten, you want to stay as away from it as possible.
However, there are two kinds of distractions:
- The ones that are good for you (and your athletic career) and that you need
- The ones that are not good for (and your dream) and that you must delete, change, forget.
The question you should ask yourself IS NOT “Am I focusing on my dream or am I doing something else?” and eventually feel guilty. This is a bad question because it only gives you a choice between these two answers:
- The normal answer (Yes, I am training)
- The depressing answer (No, I am actually thinking about something else)
There is no excitement, pride, joy or satisfaction in that question. That’s why the question you should ask yourself is “Is this distraction going to help me or not?”. It is a good question because it gives you a positive and a negative answer:
- The positive answer (Yes, it helps me!)
- The negative answer (No, it doesn’t help me)
During my triathlon career, I gradually became very good at saying “No” to everything. Quite quickly, I understood that driving one hour or going out and going to bed after 11pm were things that did not help me. When I was younger, I was a people pleaser and therefore it was hard for my brain, at first, to say “no” to others. But after a little while, it became automatic. And it became automatic for the people around me to expect me to say “No”.
This is what I would like you to learn from my experience.
Some distractions will help you achieve your dream. Some will not. You just have to identify it.
For example, if you are a male athlete, are girls a distraction? Of course! Some athletes’ career were ruined because of this.
But will having the right girlfriend help you to achieve your dream? Of course! With the right partner, we feel happier, lighter, more supported. Of course, we are better athletes when we are in the right relationship.
Did you notice?
I specified “the right relationship”. An unhealthy relationship is not helping you. A happy relationship will help you.
And there are so many other examples of one same thing that can be good or bad for you, depending on the frequency, the intensity, the length, the circumstances, etc.
All you need to do is ask yourself, about everything that exists in your life, “Is this helping me achieve my dream or not?”
There are great and helpful distractions, remember that. Distractions that you need in your life, in addition to your focus and obsession, to achieve your dream.
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