Thursday, June 30, 2011

Success in Cycling

I picked up a pretty good book at the airport this week entitled, "Outliers", by Malcolm Gladwell, that I highly recommend.  It's a book about what successful people have in common that helped them get to the top of their game. Outlier being defined in the book as: 1. something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body. 2. a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.  The book never really defines what "success" is but I'm assuming it's being at the top of the game/business/sport and making big $$ or winning a Nobel prize.  The book never really mentions "cycling" per se, it does mention ice hockey, but the things in common with all the top successful people (regardless of their business or sport) are:

1. they have a genetic gift- either physically or mentally.
2. they put in beaucoup hours of work/practice/training- have a hard work ethic.
3. they have/had good fortune/opportunities- were in the right place at the right time.

Do you know who the smartest man in the world is/was?  If I had to guess, prior to reading the book, I would have said, "Einstein".  Had I guessed that, I'd be wrong.  Einstein's IQ was 150.  The average Joe has an IQ of 100.  There is a man by the name of Chris Langan with an IQ of 195 (some claim it's even higher but can't be accurately recorded).  Can you believe that?  It's true.  But, the reason we never heard of Chris is because he wasn't successful...that is, according to the book.  Yes, he had a genetic gift, (not sure of his work ethic) but he didn't have good fortune or opportunities growing say Bill Gates did.  In fact, the reason Chris didn't go further with his college education is because his mother didn't fill out the financial aid form required to keep him in college for FREE.  Do you believe that?  She didn't fill out the financial forms?

Regardless, if you want to be successful in anything, including bike racing..I think you've got to have all three attributes as described in detail in the book: you've got to have good genes, you've got to work hard, and you have to have good fortune.  Me, with regards to cycling, I only have one..I work least I think I do. ha. Actually, according the book, I don't even work hard.  Because their definition of working hard is eating, sleeping, cycling..that's it.  And, I guess I suppose I have good fortune in that I have the $$ to buy the best equipment and have the $$ to enter pretty much any race I want.  I can't say I have good fortune during races though..because I've had more flats/mechanicals and been held up in more crashes in 30+ races than some riders/racers have had in double that.  So, maybe I don't even have one attribute of/for what it takes to be successful in cycling racing.  But, my goal is not to be "successful" in cycling's to be competitive, have fun and stay in shape.

What do you have?  1 out of 3, 2 out of 3, 3 out of 3?  None?  If you suck at racing, blame it on your parents or your bad luck/misfortune. ha

Power ON! Coach Rob


Gregwh said...

Great Post Coach Muller. I have always been a fan of persistence. Consider this quote by Calvin Coolidge:
”Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." --

In my opinion, even those with a perfect storm of talent, luck, and genes have their share of obstacles that can only be solved by pressing forward.

Rob Muller said...

Great comment Greg..Coach Rob