Friday 30 January 2015

Attitude, not aptitude, is what counts

Mind your step

Declan Coyle

Published 17/06/2014 | 02:30

High flyer: There was a time when the swimming exploits of Johnny Weissmuller, aka Tarzan, seemed unbeatable. Now, 13-year-old girls are beating his records. Picture: Getty

IT'S that time of year again when the highways and byways are filled with people taking exercise – running, walking, cycling and enjoying the amazing beauty of our Irish countryside on a summer day.

Katie Taylor came home from Europe with another gold medal and the beautiful game in Brazil is filling our screens with drama.

This man sent me an email last week. "We spent last autumn, winter and spring training for the club championship and we lost the first round by one solitary point. We're devastated. Any advice on how we can bounce back? There is a "back door" in the county. But our attitude is all wrong."

Bouncing back is all about attitude. It's attitude, not aptitude that will determine our altitude. What is the difference between a disaster and an opportunity? It's our attitude. When confronted with a difficult situation, a person with a great attitude makes the best of it even while getting the worst of it. Greatness in people often emerges out of a crisis because of their attitude to it.

When our attitude puts others first, and we see people as important, we will see the world from their perspective as well as our own.

What is a person's sporting capability? No one knows, so no one should be instilling an attitude of life-limiting thoughts into others. Many years ago, Johnny Weissmuller, also known as Tarzan in his many films, was called the greatest swimmer the world had known. Doctors and coaches said, "Nobody will ever break his records." He held over 50 records.

Do you know who is breaking Tarzan's records today? Thirteen-year-old girls! The 1936 Olympic records were the qualifying standards for the 1972 Olympics.

An elephant can easily pick up a one-ton load with his trunk. He can knock a huge tree with his forehead. But you'll see in Africa or India one of those huge creatures tied to a small wooden stake, and he just stays put. Why?

When the elephant was young and weak it was tied by a heavy chain to an immovable iron stake. He discovers that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot break the chain or move the stake. Then, no matter how strong the elephant becomes, he continues to believe he cannot move as long as he sees that tiny stake. His attitude, not his aptitude, is what's making the difference here.

Many of us are no different. We have restrained attitudes in thoughts, actions and results. We never move further than the boundaries of our self-imposed limits. You won't win every game or race. But if you've fuelled every moment of training with the best that's in you, then there's no reason why you won't bounce back.

You are personally responsible for your own bounce back attitude. It's the quality of your bounce back attitude that will inspire others to bounce back and really enjoy another summer of sport and exercise.

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