In the modern world it seems that those who shout loudest often get whilst the quieter ones are left behind. It’s a dog eat dog world, so we are told (although as I remember reading on Ed Mayo’s blog, when was the last time you saw a dog actually do that?). Nice guys never win. Personally its a problem I’ve been grappling with for sometime now and when I first had my breakdown it was one of (the many!) elephants in the room. Am I a success or am I a doormat? Are my achievements worthy of being classed successful or are they just humdrum? Everything is relative I suppose and, much like the notion of identity being constructed by those around you as much as by yourself, measuring your own success is influenced, if not driven, by peers, friends and family. In doing so we can often be diverted from the realistic and acceptable.
And so I found this blog piece from @39teeth interesting about the erstwhile world road champion Cadel Evans. It was interesting in 2 ways: firstly, it appeared as a rare piece of praise amongst articles bemoaning the demise of professional cycling to dope culture; secondly, the piece highlights the dignified way in which Evans has honoured the world title and reclaimed its meaning in this otherwise murky profession. For those who are unaware of Cadel Evans, he is the perpetual loser, the guy who often comes second and the victim of disaster in the jaws of victory. Yet unlike other so-called champions he battles on. This season I too have enjoyed his efforts in a diverse host of races, not always winning but definitely always fighting. If we judge success on the number of wins then he is a questionable world champion in the eyes of some, yet his fighting spirit has made for entertaining racing, displayed real human emotion and I think makes for a real “champion”. By not winning the Tour de France, Evans is often written off as an also ran. I don’t know if he suffers from the expectations of others. What I will say is that in doing what he has done he has become a role model for me and is helping me to reshape my expectations of myself.