This video's been making the rounds over at Slowtwitch, following Jordan Rapp's disclosure that it helped propel him to his victory at Ironman Texas a couple of weeks back. Go ahead, watch it. I'll wait.
So, I've been thinking a lot about this speech as we go into race week again here, with the Rev3 Quassy half on Sunday. And particularly these couple of lines from Mr. Lewis:
Leave your legacy. And it is found through effort. Wins and losses come a dime a dozen. But effort? Nobody can judge effort.Effort. It's the one thing that is controllable. Other variables will stand in the way, whether we are talking about racing or life in general: the decisions of others; the circumstances that will arise; varying conditions throughout the day, week, etc.
But your effort? Well, you can always give effort. You can always pour your heart and soul into something, give every fiber of your existence to what it is you are trying to accomplish. Whether that will translate into something greater than that is, often times, beyond your control: in racing, your best effort may not result in a high finish simply due to genetics, training volume, injuries, and others; in life, you may still fail in an endeavor because you did not have sufficient knowledge, circumstances beyond your control, etc. But you can always be proud of what you DID accomplish, which comes through how much you give.
This is much like being able to step into the proverbial pain cave: are you going to be willing to suffer, to push yourself to your limits, to not falter despite your body telling you, please, please no. You'll need to soldier on, no matter how hard it is, in order to give your best effort on that particular day. You can control what you can control, and no more. This might result in a phenomenal time. It might take execution through some of the worst circumstances imaginable. But it all remains the same.
It all took effort to get there.
One of the final lines of the video is, "I'm pissed off for greatness. 'Cause if you ain't pissed off for greatness, then you're OK with being mediocre. And there's no man in this room that's OK with being just basic."
How do you get there? Effort. You only achieve greatness by being able to give that effort, to be willing to give all you have, no matter how much nor how little that may be. Greatness is a relative term in an individual sport; a 6-hour effort will be a spectacular failure for an athlete capable of more, but a smashing success for another who has given all that they had to give.
So, to all of my fellow Rev3 Quassy athletes: be pissed off for greatness. Because if you're not pissed off for greatness, then you're OK with being mediocre. And there's not a soul toeing that line Saturday or Sunday morning that is going to be OK with being mediocre. Your efforts will result in greatness.
See you out there.