5am and my alarm goes. I awaken to darkness. One peek behind the curtains and my worst fears are confirmed, sheets of rain lashing down, swirled back and forth by gusts of wind. I don’t want to get out of bed and brave the bitter wet morning that awaits outside my front door in order to spend five hours on my bike when everyone around me takes shelter from the elements.
Even before the question is finished I know the answer. With no other option I begrudgingly get out of bed, leaving my wife in a blissful sleep, and begin to get dressed, preparing myself mentally for what lies ahead. Once those five words are silently spoken in my mind there’s no choice but to take action. There’s no alternative but to do what a champion would do. It’s a question that I have lived my life by for several years now, a question that never needs answering, because I instinctively know what to do the moment it is asked.
Knowing that the answers will guide us along the right path, they will also enable us to grow as individuals. The challenge in life, and sport, is to always be improving, to always get better, even when you’re the best, and we do this by asking questions of ourselves, by putting ourselves in positions that challenge our beliefs on a regular basis.
The New Zealand rugby team are masters at this. Their motto is simple: ‘better people make better All Blacks’, and to develop into better people they are constantly asking questions of themselves, always seeking answers that challenge them to grow and develop. The questions we ask ourselves need to dispute the status quo even if they make us feel uncomfortable, especially if they make us feel uncomfortable.
‘What am I committed to?’, ‘Where am I going?’, ‘What do I value?’, ‘How can I do it better?’, ‘What are my weaknesses?’, ‘Am I being true to myself?’, ‘What’s my legacy?’
It’s imperative that we ask ourselves these on a regular basis in order to cultivate a higher state of consciousness in the nature of our internal questioning because the conversations that we have in our minds are of great importance. The answers can help us to create a champion’s mindset, a mindset focused on growth and excellence in all areas of our lives. As Aristotle said: ‘excellence is the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution’. I would add to that: intelligent questioning.
Everything we do should be focused on moving us towards a champion’s mindset and ultimately achieving our goals in life.
Take a moment to identify the core questions that you use on a regular basis.