Championship Qualities: Discipline
11“It makes me mad that everybody thinks because of my size that natural climbing ability makes me win. They have no idea how hard I work at it.” Michael Carter, Winning Climber, 57kg wet?
One of my early athletic revelations was a gestalt moment realizing that winners worked harder than everybody else. My prior assumption was that champions were borne from talent or inclination or benediction. All that is true, but consistent victors are disciplined. So when I went climbing with Mike Carter and he put it in a monster gear, stood up and said he’d be back shortly and did this again and again and again up the hardest climbs in the foothills of Colorado’s front range, I thought he was Superman.
Whether it’s Mike Carter’s big ring uphill suffer fests or an Armstrong-like attention to equipment kilograms and millimeters or the beautiful variations in microwatts available to us through powermeter analyses, the best are winning because of a heightened sense of excellence and how to achieve it. They understand the 12long obedience in the same direction necessary for stellar results.
As cyclists, we know the best routes are found among narrow unused routes only fit for cattle and carriages. The same holds true for roads less traveled in lifestyle choices that hone, refine, and narrow one’s options necessary for single-minded dedication. As a coach, I often explain the importance of vigorous consistency to wide-eyed wanna-be’s who think the finishing banner crosses Easy Street. Advancement requires time, incredible effort, and inspiration. Discipline to stay focused on the details separates the goats from the group. Discipline to live out those details and incorporate them into every aspect of experience is part of thought and action that turns 13good into great.
Prayer for Discipline
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Luke 13:24
“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.” 14Matthew 7:13-14
We confess we look for easy bullet-point methods when striving for big goals. We ask for vigorous pursuit of the plan in all its comprehensive complexity and difficulty.
Ponder Am I believing in shortcuts for success? Affirm I gain and sustain lasting greatness by starting with a culture of discipline that adheres to relentless standards of excellence. Watch a long time for momentum that leads to breakthrough while continually pushing on the pedals.
11Conversations with Michael Carter. Mike Carter is among our best pure American climbers. At his best, he was a Grand Tour level climber who battled with Claudio Chiapucci, Il Diabolo. Mike’s chances were limited as personal tragedy removed him from euro-level racing. Even while competing at the Tour de France, he was called back to America to cope with some problems at home. At the point of the incident related here, he did the hardest uphill workouts I’d ever seen.
12Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson published by Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL 2nd Edition © 2000 by Eugene H. Peterson is an excellent resource for learning what qualities and timing are necessary to fulfill the journey toward better character.
13This concept is from Good to Great by Jim Collins published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc., NY Copyright © 2001 by Jim Collins. Discipline to mission, along with knowing and sticking to that mission, must include resources to pursue that mission.
14The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society and The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson