I was chatting to a few people I met today and they invited me out on Thursday night. I replied that I had swim training every Thursday, but that I’d try to join them afterwards.

Them: “Oh, what are you training for?”

Me: “A triathlon”.

Them: “Wow, that’s incredible!”

Me: “Not really. I’ll be happy just to drag my gasping corpse across the finish line. I have no delusions of being particularly competetive”.

Them: “Even so, it must put you in the top one percent of people in terms of fitness”.

That got me thinking…

I briefly talk about my reasons for entering a triathlon here (12th September in Weymouth, if you fancy coming to cheer me on!), but I neglect to mention that a lot of it really is just about fitness. I enjoy being fit, but I find it easy to find reasons not to go out and train. I’ll put it off, and then put on weight, and feel worse about myself. But having something to aim for is always a good motivator. Besides, myself and my co-triathlete Steve have a decade of music industry excess to shed!

But when I thought about it, I thought that the top one percent is actually something worth aiming for, and that it’s achievable for all of us. We idolise those who achieve excellence and often assume that such heights are out of the reach of us mere mortals. But I think that being average shouldn’t be a barrier to doing great things.

I consider myself to be pretty average in every way, but looking at it through the eyes of the people I met earlier today I can see how they think that doing a triathlon is special. And after a bit of consideration I suppose that I am in the top one percent of mid-thirties men in terms of fitness. Or thereabouts.

To acheive that top one percent may seem extraordinary. But to be better, to do more “incredible” things, than 99 percent of the population (or your age/peer group) doesn’t take any special skills or talent. It’s just a case of putting your mind to it. By just deciding to do something you already put yourself ahead of 90 percent of people. Then by achieving your goal you’re ahead of the the remaining 9 percent.

Of course, there’s always going to be the naturally gifted, and exceptionally committed, (those like Gebrsellassie, Messi, Bolt, Federer…) who make up the 0.001 percent of people. But there’s nothing stopping any of us achieving the top one percent in fitness, business, academia etc. It’s just a case of deciding to do it, then just doing it.

Don’t be shy. Tell me what you’re in the top one percent for…

*No actual mathematics, calculators or statistics were used in the formulation of this blog post.

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