I really dislike hyperbole.
The moment I hear someone tell me how good they are, how much better than everyone else they are, and how good they are (yes, they always repeat that bit) – I immediately switch off.
It’s not because I don’t believe them, or that I don’t believe in them, it’s simply that I have zero tolerance for talk, and 100% acceptance for walk. If you get my drift.
If you are good, then SHOW me. Don’t just tell me about it.
I prefer actions over talk. I prefer to watch athletes who go about their business in a quiet, efficient and ninja-like fashion.
You know the ones. They just get the job done. No BS, no show boating, no big talk-ups. They just turn up and race well.
But that’s not to say that the Big-Talkers don’t do well either – of course they do. For some, that Big-Talk is part of their brand – part of their business model. And that’s cool, I just prefer not listen to it.
The thing that really bugs me about this Hyperbole though, is that we have become so de-sensitised to it.
Years upon years of heavy marketing, Big Show events, and the commercialisation of just about every sport, means that we (society) are so accustomed to that Hype that we expect it. In fact. If we don’t get it then we immediately think that the athlete, or the sport is not worth our time.
The sport of boxing could very well be the birthplace of modern hyperbole. In it’s day it was a blue collar sport, played with a Chess-like mind. But that didn’t have such a great commercial appeal so after a while you saw guys there that could talk up a storm, and that became more appealing to the masses. But soon everyone is doing it and you have a sport that is more talk and less action.
I understand that ‘talking yourself up’ is a part of the psychology of getting your head into the right space for competition. It helps you focus and with repetition can turn your self-esteem into a very powerful tool. In fact if you aren’t talking yourself into a ‘good’ place then you are missing pieces of the puzzle; it’s absolutely necessary.
What is missing in a lot of cases though is the connection between that self-propagated hype and reality; the actual process involved in getting to that point of greatness. You have to know how to go out there and actually experience what is truly required to make you as good as you want to be.
Look, everyone wants to race hard and fast and be awesome. These are good things to aspire to.
But as coaches, we see a huge disconnect between what athletes want/ what they talk up and the actual result. Delusions of grandeur are common amongst Age Groupers and Pro’s alike.
Now don’t get me wrong – I know that you need to believe in yourself before you embark on greatness – it’s a big part of what we do here at TriSpecific. But you have to be in-touch with the process along the way. You have to learn how to absorb the environment that you have established and then build yourself up over time.
And this takes patience, perseverance and…time.
Things do not just fall into place on race day.
Muhammed Ali built his career around his Hype – it built his brand and helped establish him as the greatest.
But Ali didn’t win fights because he pumped his tyres up all year and then simply used that hot air to win. He didn’t use his own hyperbole to become the champion.
He used his Hype in a positive and proactive manner. He used his Hype to establish the self-belief that was HE was the greatest. He talked his “game”, then he trained his “game”. Then he executed that “game” (with exacting precision) when he fought.
He used his self-belief, his own self-created hype, to establish a mindset that he was unbeatable.
He built that environment around him, and then he practised and trained as though that was reality.
That is powerful stuff folks.
I see no reason why athletes can’t create this for themselves. Build yourself with Big-Talk if you have to, but take the next step and actually go out there and feel the necessary experiences that are involved.
If you want to ride a sub-5 hour bike in an Ironman, then you need to train the body to do so: you need to ride at the required speeds for extended periods and you need to be able to absorb that workload (i.e. not beat yourself into a useless, untrainable pulp). You have to learn exactly what it takes to ride at that level.
Then you can go out and exact that hype you have created, you can make the self-belief and the self-talk a reality.
Less Talk, More Action.