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Sunday Soliloquy – At the Top of Your Game

[ so·lil·o·quy – the act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers ]

Here’s a quote for you:

“To be at the top of your game you must sacrifice everything.” Elise Christie, Team GB Short Track Speed Skater

Elise Christie said this in an interview prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics that was played out on the BBC before we watched her race. For someone who then had such public disappointment to have said this is very poignant. In order to be the best, in order to win, we must have complete focus.

I often wonder what life would have been like for me if I had chosen to focus on one thing. How would things be different if I had not tried to do everything as a kid but rather picked one sport, one musical instrument, one subject at school? What if I had worked really hard to become the best I could possibly be at that one thing rather than doing something different every Saturday? Could I have been a Team GB triple jumper? Could I have been principal trombone player in the London Philharmonic? Could I have been a world leading scientist? Who knows!

To be honest, probably not. I can’t imagine sacrificing everything and concentrating really hard on just one thing. I like variety. I like giving things a go. Yes, I often wish I had made at least some choices as a teenager, but the fact is that my life is rich now because I am willing to give things a try and have a breadth of hobbies and interests to keep me occupied. Whenever I think I am just doing too much I cannot bring myself to choose anything to give up.

So how can someone who is very happy not sacrificing anything ever reach the top of their game? Do I just go through life feeling mediocre all the time? Well no, actually, I don’t. I see life as a mixed bag of experiences that make up who I am. I totally admire athletes like Elise Christie who do nothing but one thing in order to be the very best, as well as those who give up everything in order to do their “life’s work”, whatever that may be. Maybe one day I will find my true focus and will feel compelled to sacrifice everything for it, but at the moment I am loving the rich tapestry that is my journey.

What about you? Have you sacrificed everything to be at the top of your game? Or would you say you are jack of all trades and master of none? Does it matter?

 

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