Human beings have an innate need to feel a sense of belonging and seek like-minded tribes. This is especially evident in triathlon. I’m sure non-triathletes look at us and think we’re all slightly crazy. Much like what I do when I see other groups in society. For people in these groups, it’s their tribe which fills a need to belong.
Like any tribe, there are always haters. In an age of social media, blogs, forums and keyboard heroes everyone has an opinion. Triathletes are, for the most part, very active on social media. Whether this is to promote themselves, be proud of their efforts, share their life with others or advertise sponsors. Our lives are lived in a digital world but when you put yourself out there it also risks attracting haters.
I’ve certainly had my share of haters. They’ve been downright nasty and extremely critical of what I do. When you get into a profession like coaching, not everyone will like you. Some will jump online and let their feelings known. I’m no different to most people in that it hurts if you read something nasty someone has written about you, especially if you know it is 100 per cent false. The one thing I have learnt is that haters hate. They thrive on sitting behind a keyboard sharing their uninformed, uneducated opinions. We can’t control this and nor should we try.
I wrote recently about failing and how a fear of failure stops people from challenging themselves. I think the haters are critical of others because they’re worried about what people will think and say about themselves. Be done with those people, let them hate. Race with passion, race with heart, race not comparing yourself to anyone but you, race to challenge yourself and be grateful every day for the ability to swim, bike and run for fun. Have a go, put yourself out there and dare to be great. Leave the concept of failure to the haters. ‘The Man in the Arena’ is a notable passage in a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
As human beings we’re all flawed, we all have battles and challenges we need to overcome. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of triathlon can be a quest for perfection both during training and racing. Perfection is impossible to achieve; it should never be a goal. Leading into a major race, such as Cairns this […]