Chris: The Secret of Success

jessr ‘It’s something I’ve worked so hard for – 120 miles,week in week out. What you put into it is what you get out.’ Mo Farah on winning his Olympic gold medal in the 10,000m.

‘I was in a right old state. There are so many moments in the four years when you are doubting yourself. You only see the final polished product but it’s four years of hard work, injury, defeat, it is not a glamorous thing to be a cyclist, you have to put a lot of hard work in and that is what makes these moments so special.’ Sir Chris Hoy, Britain’s most successful Olympian with six gold medals.

I knew she was capable of something great,’ said David Baker, chairman and head coach of Matrix Taekwondo about Olympic champion, Jade Jones. ‘It was her willingness to train. She loved training. She never complained if the training was too hard.’
‘I think the message is really, whatever sport you’re doing, even if it’s just a job if you work hard at, if you’re dedicated you can achieve anything. Anything’s possible.’ Boxing Olympic champion, Nicola Adams.

Listening to the medallists during these games has been a useful reminder that for every golden moment, there’s a story of fighting against the odds, of overcoming rejection, pain and self-doubt in order to succeed. Sometimes the goal seems distant, impossible to reach, but the only way to reach it is to keep going.

Congratulations to each and every one of the inspiring Olympic champions who never stopped fighting for their dreams.

Photos by kind permission of daughter, Caroline, who was lucky enough to be there to see Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford win their gold medal.

23 thoughts on “Chris: The Secret of Success

  1. I think it’s more a reminder to dig deep, Sue. Everyone knows that it takes hard work to succeed – although I think we all know would-be writers who are going to ‘dash off a novel’ when they have time – what particularly struck me watching these champions was how much they had suffered to reach their goals and how close they had come to giving up. Mo Farah talked about the loneliness of his distance training, Greg Rutherford nearly gave up after injury – I certainly have moments when I look at my computer and despair and wonder if I will ever reach the end of my 90,000 word journey (or maybe that’s just me?). All I know is that watching the athletes this week reminded me that the best things in life are usually hard won and that it’s worth reahing deep inside and finding that little bit extra to get there!

  2. Chris – I hear you, and agree that the best things in life are often hard won. This is a message I’m trying to instill in my children when they complain that something is “difficult and they can’t be bovvered”, and now I have the success of Team GB (and some Danish contestants as well, since the kids are half-and-half) to use as an illustration. Talking about reaching that 90,000 words goal…. eeek, I’m so not there yet!

  3. Thanks, Henri. My daughters used to get very cheesed off when other children got good marks in class because their parents had done their homework for them, but further down the line they realised that those kinds of short cuts don’t help anyone. They’ve got where they are by working through the tough times and standing on their own two feet. Good luck with your 90,000 journey, Henri,you’ve already proved you can do it – I’m really looking forwards to reading ‘Up Close’.

  4. I always know which of my LSJ students are going to succeed – the ones who work hard and keep going when it gets difficult or challenging.

  5. Thanks, Magaret, I think that helps demonstrate that talent needs persistence, application and dedication to bring success.

  6. I admire those athletes so much, all those early mornings and hours and hours of physical pain – however much it hurts to write a book, we’re more likely to get RSI than a torn hamstring, and we can do it indoors, in the warm, no cold dark mornings! But you’re right, Chris, it does serve as a reminder that nothing good ever came without hard work and dedication. Some days, when writing feels like pulling teeth and I’m tempted to just stop, I remember the old adage ‘No Pain, No Gain’. And then I go and put the kettle on and eat some chocolate and thank my lucky stars I never went in for Outdoor Events…

  7. MMMmmm. I am wondering, Chris, whether the long road to sporting success has an exact equivalent when it comes to writing. Of course, there are many writers who have got where they are as a result of a long and painful grind, perseverance in the face of rejection and so on. But then there are writers who can toss off a brilliant piece of work, almost without effort. I am in no doubt into which camp I belong, but I am amazed at the writers for whom there is no long road – Dickens, of course, ‘half way through Pickwick, he starts Oliver Twist, half way through Oliver Twist he begins Nicholas Nickleby.’ Doestoevsky, wrote ‘The Gambler’ in three weeks, which was the same time that Simenon used to take to draft each Maigret novel. In our own time, writers like Caitlin Moran and Boris Johnson seem to be able to write furiously while cleaning their teeth and the result is still ten times better than the efforts of we lesser mortals. There is, I think, something called genius.

  8. Great post, Chris. And how lovely for your daughter to see the stars in action. I might be wrong but it seems some of the athletes who were ‘bigged up’ by the media didn’t perform as well as expected. I’d anticipated Djokvik or Federer taking Gold in the men’s singles but Murray played out of his skin. I love the elements of surprise though of course it’s great to see someone with street cred like Sir Chris Hoy achieve. I guess one similarity between writers and athletes is that most of us don’t earn buckets of gold. But we keep on doing it because we like it!

  9. Do you know I was thinking about that the other day when I watched an Olympian blubbing like a baby when he won gold. Can’t remember who it was now, but I thought – that is the physical release of all the hopes, fears, sacrifices made and trials and tribulations suffered over many years, now here he is standing on the winner’s podium achieving his dream. He and hundreds like him had the grim determination to get up and go when he must have felt like packing it in. And I thought – stop blubbing for God’s sake! No, I didn’t …well I did a bit because he went on for about half an hour, but mostly I thought well done that man, well done!

    And as people have said above, nothing worth having in life is easy unless you happen to be stinking rich. Most of us aren’t though and have to struggle to achieve our goals. And I guess when we achieve them without the aid of stinking riches we can feel quite good about ourselves. Great pics by the way xx

  10. Good point, Jane, at least we can console ourselves with tea and chocolate when the going gets tough! No wonder I get through so much of both! At this rate I’ll need to take up triathlons to burn off the calories.

    Fennie, some people are exceptionally gifted, of course, but that’s why they’re exceptional. I’m willing to bet that if you take a close look at many ‘overnight sensations’ you’ll find years of hard graft.

    Sandra, I’m laughing at the ‘buckets of gold’. If only! Again, like writing, I suspect the big earners in sport are few and far between. As you say, most of us pursue our chosen goal because it’s something we’re passionate about, not because we’re in it for the money. Okay, it would be lovely to earn big money too, but, for me, some of the greatest rewards from writing come from having someone tell me they’ve enjoyed my work – now, that’s priceless!

  11. Mandy – I’ve cried my eyes out each time the pdf of my completed novels has been sent through to me for exactly that reason! It’s good job I’m not likely to be on a podium any time soon or everyone would be telling me to man up too. The worse thing about seeing those Olympic champions cry is that it sets me off… and I used to be such a tough cookie!

  12. It’s amazing how emotional it’s been with these Olympics! I was welling up yesterday when one of the riders said her horse had done all the work to please her, obviously because he loves her! But yes, great reminder Chris that it takes a lot of perseverance whatever you do!

  13. Oh, that got to me too, Christina! I’ve had to keep a box of tissues near me throughout. Must be pre-wedding emotion!

  14. I like to see the medal-winners cry. Oh, that makes me sound such a sadist, but I do, because it shows that it all means something to them. Those who just take the medal and shrug and smile always seem a little bit…as though they think they deserve it. Although they are probably really just shocked out of their skin to be there, really. But I think that the tears show there’s something deeper going on, a real appreciation of what it is to be a winner.

  15. It’s good to see so much emotion, whether it’s the happiness of the winners or the devastation of the losers, because it shows such passion and dedication. I can’t believe they’re talking of taking PE off the school curriculum. These athletes are inspirational (Oscar Pistorius being a great example). Sadly they will probably disappear off the radar in a couple of weeks when the spoilt, over-hyped and over-paid footballers are back.

  16. Football *shudder*, not a fan at all! I fear you have a point, Liv, about these athletes disappearing off the radar. It’s a shame that David Rushida got so little coverage today after running the fastest 800m ever. I quite enjoyed school sports but it was much later on, when a friend told me about a women only running group, that I found a sport I felt really suited me. I’m never going to break any records, but running’s repaid me time and time again for the effort I’ve put in.

  17. The athletes this year have been inspirational….not just the medal winnters but those who got a 4th place just hundredths of a second away from a gong which must be sooooooooo hard to take – but they will, and they’ll come back to have another go. Just like a few novelists I know….:)

  18. Linda, that’s what makes it such compelling viewing for me – I especially like the endurance sports, like the triathlon, when the medals have been taken and the following athletes are still giving their all. Wonderful stuff – and so true about novelists coming back to have another go.

  19. Fab post, Chris! I started counting how often the medallists mentioned ‘hard work’ and ‘support’ – then gave up when I ran out of digits. And however much you prepare, it all has to come together on the day as well – they are truly inspirational.

  20. Thanks, Juliet. Yes, it’s almost the first thing they say in that raw moment when they turn to the camera after completing an event. I’ve probably watched far too much, but those champions are inspirational and I’ll certainly think about their hard work when I’m struggling (and as Jane says – at least I’m not out in the rain and can eat as much chocolate as I like!).

  21. Great post Chris – it’s all about dedication and determination (and Jane’s chocolate biscuits of course) And occasionally, we may even get an adrenaline kick X

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