Since I started my recent adventures working with the students of the BIKES program, the question of "how do you become successful" has come up a lot, but I don't find this as great news. It seems that even at their young age, some students already seem daunted by the insurmountable chore of becoming "successful". But what is success? What is happiness? And why are we all so worried about NOT getting there.
A fellow Whitman College alumni and cycling team member, Cammie, who rode with me during my first 'long' training ride back in 2007 and was a close collegiate teammate of Mara Abbott, recently wrote an exceptional reflection on her own experience in finding her voice, isolating her intent and discovering success by pursuing only that which SHE cared about.
If success is measured by one's contribution to the whole, then society needs masters, not amateurs. And if the easiest way to create masters is to help individuals perfect the skills which they are already passionate about, then we must work to create an environment for everyone, regardless of age, where the onion-like layers of self-doubt, peer-pressure and fear of failure (or success) can be peeled away, revealing one's intent. That is the path of least resistance. That is the path to success, to your OWN success. Yes, it will still be hard and yes, there will be many bumps in the road, but if you find the vehicle suited to achieving your intent, one's passion serves as a top-notch set of shock absorbers. So be courageous and take that big first turn of the wheel, even if it means you'll have to rally your way through for a while.