Lessons ‘From the Track’ by Roger Black MBE
Most of us have a soundtrack to our life, based on music and experiences from each decade that has passed. Whether we are driving, exercising or even gardening, musical tracks heard on the radio or on a playlist can indulge us with a wave of nostalgia, coupled with the wisdom of hindsight.
My own life soundtrack would definitely include some great music, especially Aztec Camera, The Clash, The Stranglers and Van Morrison, but the greatest track in my life has been the running track, representing Great Britain both at The Olympics or The World & European Championships.
Athletics has gifted me three essential life lessons, crystallized into key areas: People, Mindset and Risk. When it comes to People, the professional athletes, mentors, coaches, physios, doctors, nutritionists and supporters I have worked with and met along the way definitely shaped the athlete I was privileged to become. No one will ever achieve great heights alone. My 1991 Tokyo team-mates, Derek, John and Kris, remain some of my closest friends to this day.
In relation to Mindset, as some of you may already know, I was beset by many injuries as a young athlete and was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition aged just 11. Universally, I think when we are young, we believe we are invincible and don’t consider our vulnerability or mortality until we age. Sport taught me to focus, focus, focus and to shut out white noise. Regardless of whether you are an Olympian or not, overcoming loss, trauma and ill health requires tenacity and a ferocity of spirit.
The third and final lesson from the track is linked with Risk. Understanding considered risk and acting upon it has and continues to drive me in life and business. If we, as a team, hadn’t changed the running order at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, we probably wouldn’t have beaten the Americans. As Einstein is quoted to have said: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results”. We knew we had to take a risk and it paid off.
This particular example doesn’t mean to say that every risk taken will end up in your favour but you have to be on the track to participate, regardless of your age or limitations. What does your ‘life track’ look like?
Home Exercise For Every Body
Roger Black is the founder of Roger Black Fitness. A provider of affordable home exercise equipment for over 50’s.