What do you fear most? Is it those around you or yourself? As an athlete, I can tell you the worst kind of fear is that stemming from yourself. It’s like a dog trying to chase its own tail or a person trying to stand in their own shadow. You can see it but you can’t quite be in it. We can avoid others and possibly defeat their negative influence, but how do we overcome ourselves? Unfortunately we can never escape our thoughts but we do have the ability to amend the way we think. The only person you have to convince is you. The easiest and toughest sell of them all.
Where do my fears lie as an athlete and lifter? The fear of failure or success? I fear the tangible touch and taste of success. I fear not how far away but how close I’ve come to succeeding. I fear whether I will embrace my attempts at the ripest moment. How do I execute the jerk after the clean? How do I transition from thinking to doing? Your own conscience can either cripple or uplift you (no pun intended). The irony of this kind of fear is that you are afraid of your own capabilities. The prospect of actually fulfilling your talents to the greatest extent is a daunting one. It is easy to romanticize and view a goal in the abstract but quite another to construct in reality. As much as we craft our goals with the intention of executing them, we meet them with a tad bit of uncertainty or the prospect that we might not fully meet them. This feeling of ambiguity and ambivalence gives us wiggle room to lust or ponder what we could accomplish not what we actually will. If we were so certain of what we could attain, we would lose the promise of possibility and the need to find that elusive performance we seek as athletes. If we use up all our potential, what do we have left to explore within ourselves? To set the bar a little bit out of our current reach allows us to satiate our desires but make us come back for more. It still keeps us guessing as to who we really are.
In a sport such as Olympic Weightlifting, which is an all or nothing enterprise, it’s hard to see the thin line between success and failure. Doing 90% of a task right will get you an A on a test or paper, but it’ll give you an F as a Weightlifter. Is it possible to be subjective about a sport that is purely objective? How do we readjust the lens by which we view failure and look at the positive factors contributing to the deep hidden success underneath the shallow surface of failure? It’s easy to look at the meet results and assess but it’s harder to know how close you were to fulfilling the expectations you failed to meet on paper. When all is said and done, you are the sole judge of success.