Monthly Archives: October 2017

Pack your strengths

No matter where you go, or what you do, remember to pack your strengths. There are things you do well, and there are things in which you excel – these are your strengths. Consider this scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:

“’Play to your strengths.’ ‘I haven’t got any,’ said Harry, before he could stop himself. ‘Excuse me,’ growled Moody, ‘you’ve got strengths if I say you’ve got them. Think now. What are you best at?'”

Usain Bolt is the world’s fastest sprinter. He holds the record in the 100 meter and 200 meter races. When asked how he was able to win both of these races in three different Olympics, his response was “There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher.” Bolt knows his strengths and excels by using them.

A recent NY Times article discussed Usain Bolt’s remarkable speed and shared the results of a SMU study on the biomechanics of his sprinting. Here are a few of the facts reviewed:

Bolt is 6 feet 5 inches tall and can cover 100 meters in 41 strides were other sprinters need up to 48 strides. He is able to conserve energy with fewer strides which allows him to maintain a faster pace over the last 30 meters when all sprinters, including Bolt, are slowing down. This explains his comment on being a strong finisher.

The next fact is one that requires more discussion. According to the SMU study, “His right leg appears to strike the track with about 13 percent more peak force than his left leg. And with each stride, his left leg remains on the ground about 14 percent longer than his right leg. This runs counter to conventional wisdom, based on limited science, that an uneven stride tends to slow a runner down.”

How could the world’s fastest sprinter run in a method that is counter to that which drives top speed? In his autobiography, Usain Bolt shares that childhood scoliosis caused his right leg to be an inch shorter than his left. The scientists at SMU propose that Bolt developed his sprinting style – his strength – to compensate for the difference in leg length.

In the end, Usain Bolt is the world’s fastest sprinter because he uses his height, endurance and ability to adjust his stride to run faster than everyone he competes against.

Here are the three lessons we learn from Usain Bolt: Know how you excel, Practice how you excel, Repeat how you excel. This will lead you to your greatness.

No matter where you go, or what you do, remember to pack your strengths.

You’ve changed

Remember your school reunions? Some people “Haven’t changed a bit,” while others hear, “You’ve changed.”  I am not sure which one is meant as a compliment but I know which comment I wanted my classmates saying when I walked in the door because I planned and strived to be different, better than I was before.

Reunions are often meant to relive the glory days of old, simpler times when in retrospect life was easy.  But why live in the comfort zone?  We should be seeking change, doing everything possible to learn, grow, experience new adventures.  As Jim Rohn said, “Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”

Here are three considerations for those who are eager to start the journey of becoming the fullest version of themselves.

Change inspires greatness.  Be clear that the road to greatness is built on change.  An oak tree would still be an acorn if it wasn’t willing to change.  Who you are is good, who you can be is great.

“I’m interested in things that change the world or that affect the future and wondrous, new technology where you see it, and you’re like, ‘Wow, how did that even happen? How is that possible?’”- Elon Musk

Change requires sacrifice.  Becoming something new means leaving behind something old.  The level of intensity that got you where you are today won’t get you to where you want to be tomorrow.  If you’re into fitness you know that your level of growth is directly tied to your level of effort.  All growth follows the same principle. 

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” -Anatole France

Change desires more.  Change is like Newton’s Law of Motion which states, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”  Starting the process of change is difficult, but once started you will want to keep moving forward through the next change to reach new success.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” -Henri Bergson

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