Obviously, this article isn’t for everyone, but the ideals can be applied BY anyone. I’m writing this as a reminder for those individuals who talk about being the best, or reaching their potential, but who don’t really get it.
Under each of the following headings, there is someone who IS… and the rest who AREN’T. Can you be the ONE? Chances are slim, and that’s understandable, but the question is… how close are you to being the one?
Somewhere in your city, state, country, or planet, is there someone working harder than you? Think about it… If you’re goal is to be the best at something, then you’d better start realizing that there is a very real relationship between work and reward and there is probably somebody out there working harder. Do you do dryland training? If so, do you use that as an opportunity to joke around with your friends or do you try to figure out how THAT particular exercise is going to make you a better swimmer? The next time you watch Ryan Lochte win a race, and you wish… boy, I wish I was that good… remember the video posted below.
Do you have more desire to win than anyone? Are you willing to set your alarm 10 minutes earlier so you can get to practice on time because you’re nervous about missing a chance to do as much as possible? The way you train should be the way you want to perform. Be honest with yourself about this one. If you don’t have the desire to train, then you really don’t have the desire to be the best. You can NOT have one without the other. You may day-dream about being the best, but without the effort that matches the dream… then it is what it is… fantasy.
Are you the most talented swimmer in the water? In your event, are there people, or a person whom you’ll eventually have to race but who simply has more talent than you? If you’re the one, and you don’t apply the first two aspects of this article, it won’t matter if you ARE the most talented. While talent is important, talent in itself is worthless without polish. Is Michael Phelps talented? I know, stupid question. He would be a good swimmer without doing anything at all; he was one of the lucky ones to be born with the feeling. But without years of what you see in the following video, he would have never rewritten the history of the sport.
No matter how nice someone appears, the ONE has a killer attitude inside, and won’t give up when things don’t go their way, or when the road gets tough. You don’t have to be a jerk outwardly to maintain the attitude that creates greatness, and the question is, do you have the attitude geared to greatness. Attitude is more than about smiles, thinking positively, and trying hard. Attitude is about talking yourself into doing what you need to do when you don’t feel like doing it. When it would be far easier to stop, skip, take a few strokes with your arms during a kick set when your legs hurt a bit. Attitude is about doing just a little bit more than you wanted to. Want to know why Amanda Beard keeps making Olympic and World Championships teams Even after getting married and having a beautiful son whom she wants to spend time with? It’s because when she gets the opportunity to train, she trains like the video below. Can you beat that attitude of not giving up?
Are you the ONE that’s the most honest about all of the above, about how much you really commit to your sport? While you may not want to be the best, or may not believe you have the ability to be the best, since there can be only ONE, are you honest about being your own ONE? Are you honestly doing all you can to maximize your performance? Are the choices you make about how you spend your time productive ones, or are you failing in your time management? Reaching your potential means keeping up with your studies so you don’t have to cram for your exams. It means deciding to not go to parties when you know you have a competition approaching, or morning practice that you know you shouldn’t miss. Honesty is about not making up excuses that you think your coach will "buy," but rather, about making sure you put in as much effort to be at practice on time as your coach does.
This last video is obviously very special to me, as it served as much motivation when it happened. It’s both hard to watch, and completely exciting to watch. This 2 minute video doesn’t show the complete dedication and effort that went into this team becoming the ONE. It was ultimately a spec in time in these athlete’s lives now that they’re older… but that moment will last forever.
The last question is… can you become your own ONE, or are you simply daydreaming?