By Greg Conderacci
“Ready are you? What know you of ready?
For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi….
A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.
This one, a long time have I watched.
All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon.
Never his mind on where he was. …Hmm? On what he was doing.”— Yoda, Star Wars
Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you can ride the Tour de France against hundreds of other riders in your basement and post your results on Strava. Chasing avatars on your trainer provides motivation and great training.
There’s me, spinning a set of rollers bought in the early 1970’s while watching old Tour de France videos on the VCR. It ain’t gonna boost my VO2 Max much. But it’s made me a better rider for decades because I’m watching the focus, the form and the flow of the athletes.
It’s all about balance … in so many different ways.
The merging of focus, form and flow — the characteristics of the elite mind — is what makes champions champions:
- Focus. The best riders have that Samurai air about them. They wield their machines like warriors with razor-sharp swords. They seem both immune to — and energized by — the pressure.
- Form. The pros have a way of becoming one with their bicycles. It is not only the product of countless hours “busting ass” (to use a Lance term) but also tweaking their form to achieve near flawless aerodynamics and mechanics.
- Flow. The natural grace of the peloton as the pack winds its way through the mountains is tantamount to the beauty of a river moving smoothly along its banks. It’s the sum total of each rider’s “flow” on his bike. For the riders, the sport can be both incredibly exhausting and excruciatingly painful. And, clearly, they’re having a great time.
Ingredients of Success – On and Off the Bike
For the next few weeks, we’ll look at each of these ingredients of success – and how to apply them to your riding (and life). In the meantime, think about where focus, form and flow figure in your life. Think about activities that require all your attention (focus), those that require you to keep your balance in special ways (form) and those that are so wonderfully absorbing they can make you lose track of time (flow).
- Identify your focus activities. Would sharpening your focus help you do them better? Are they even the right activities on which to focus?
- Identify your activities that demand good form. How would you evaluate your form?
- Flow is believed by some to be one of the key elements of happiness. Think about how you feel when you’re in flow. Would you like more of it?
Next in the Series: The Fight for Focus
Greg Conderacci is a marketing consultant and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, non-profit entrepreneur, and investment bank chief marketing officer. In Getting UP!, he brings you the same skills he teaches at a top graduate school and Fortune 500 companies. Lots of people promise better performance … Greg proves it. Using his energy techniques, in 2015 he rode a bicycle across America in just 18 days — averaging 150 miles a day.