Staying focussed without becoming a bore

Usain Bolt after winning the 100 metre sprint at the Rio Olmpics

Lessons from Usain Bolt

One of the key lessons to making a success of our lives, we’re told, is to be hyper-focussed. It doesn’t matter who we choose to draw inspiration from, people at the top of their game tend to be incredibly focussed. That focus helps them to say Yes to the right things and No to the distractions.

Sadly, taken to the extreme, this focus seems to come at a cost that I for one am not prepared to pay: being a bore.

I follow sport and so my examples often come from that arena, but I know this is true in other areas too. Listening to many sports stars nowadays is so, so dull. They may be at the peak of the potential, but they seem to have lost any sense of enjoyment with life. It’s like they don’t know how to have fun any more.

They are so consumed with their pursuit of success and glory that they seem to have forgotten that life is still meant to be enjoyed.

That is why I find Usain Bolt so inspiring. He’s been the world’s best sprinter for over twelve years and, as you can imagine, has to be incredibly disciplined and focussed. He simply could not function at that level of elite performance without crazy amounts of dedication. And yet he so clearly is enjoying life.

This is actually, I think, a big part of his success. It keeps him more relaxed.

Mo Farah and Usain Bolt celebrate their Olympic victories at London 2012.

He is not just enjoying life though, he’s taking in what’s going on around him. He’s not shutting everthing out. He clearly knew about the South African athlete breaking the 400 metre world record as, when he saw him, he pulled out of a live TV interview to go and congratulate him. And who can forget the fun he and Mo Farah had as they both celebrated their golds at London 2012?

Clearly we each have to be true to our own personality, but I for one am convinced that part of living a successful life is making sure there’s plenty of fun involved. Yes, we need to focus. Yes, there will be pain. Yes, there will be sacrifices. But I don’t think we need to become insulated and isolated bores in the pursuit of maximising our potential.

The unlived life

Perseverance and working hard