Rupert Hambly


Triumph and disaster

I watched a fantastic documentary on Apple TV + the other day.


The world vs Boris Becker


And in it, it showed the famous quote from Rudyard Kipling’s renowned poem “If—” which is at Wimbledon for all the players and champions to see:

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same”

The line stands out as a beacon of wisdom for both life and the nuanced fields of health and performance.

This profound advice transcends its literary origins to offer valuable insights into our approach to health, fitness, and overall well-being.

A path to Emotional Resilience is at the core of Kipling’s message and the concept of emotional resilience—the ability to face success and failure without letting either unduly affect one’s equilibrium. Priceless.

For instance, acknowledging our victories, be they setting a new personal record in a marathon or achieving a weight loss goal, without becoming complacent or tooting your own horn.

Conversely, it means accepting setbacks, such as injury or failing to meet a performance benchmark, without allowing them to derail our commitment to health and fitness.

Triumph and disaster in health and performance are indeed “impostors” because they can both mislead.

Triumph, while celebratory, can sometimes lead to a false sense of invulnerability, making us prone to neglecting the continued discipline and effort required to maintain health and fitness. How often do we see this in sports? From Becker to Ronaldinho, it happens more often than we realise.

Disaster, on the other hand, might trick us into thinking we are less capable than we truly are, potentially spiraling into demotivation or giving up on our health goals altogether.

By treating triumph and disaster just the same, we adopt a balanced perspective that fosters long-term success and well-being.

This approach encourages us to learn from every outcome

Whether we succeed or fail, there is always a lesson to be learned.

This mindset helps us to improve continuously and adapt our health and fitness strategies for better results.

Recognising that both success and failure are temporary states keeps us focused on the ongoing journey of health and fitness rather than being overly fixated on specific outcomes.

Embracing both victories and setbacks with equanimity strengthens our mental toughness, making us more resilient in the face of future challenges.

In practical terms, treating triumph and disaster the same means not getting too caught up in the highs and lows of our health and fitness journey.

It involves setting realistic goals, preparing for setbacks (especially mentally), and celebrating successes without losing sight of our long-term objectives.

Whether we’re recovering from an injury, trying to improve our diet, or aiming to enhance our physical performance, the balanced approach advocated by Kipling can help us navigate the ups and downs with grace and determination.

Kipling’s advice to “treat those two impostors just the same” serves as a timeless reminder of the importance of balance, resilience, and perspective in the pursuit of health and performance.

By applying this wisdom, we can cultivate a healthier, more balanced approach to our personal well-being and performance goals, ensuring that we remain steadfast in our pursuit of excellence, irrespective of the inevitable ups and downs along the way in life.

Your coach,

Rupert Hambly

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