I’ve got this philosophy of life. I honestly don’t believe that we have hardly any control of it. I think we make tons and tons of decisions, some big and lots small, but in the end, it we don’t have much say in our destiny or fate.
I’ve asked a ton of my friends about what percent of control they think they have and it varies from a low of maybe 40 to a high of 90%. My answer is .001%.
I’m not going to go into a long post about the reason for my thoughts, but the short answer is that we have so many choices to make, on a daily basis, that there is no way that we could foresee the outcome of all those decisions. We’re not soothsayers.
If I lived my life over 1000 times, there is relatively no chance that I would be a bike racer for the majority of it. I doubt I would even race bicycles more than a couple times out of those thousand.
Think of you significant other. What were the chances that you were even going to meet that person? Think back upon all the decisions that were made to meet that person, then multiply that number by two, since he/she had to be there at the same time and the odds of even meeting them are next to nil. Again, 1000 lifetimes and you would never know the person.
Bike racing is a game of opportunities. Tactics, each and everyone, are thought that you think will increase your options of a good result. Let’s throw out the “new professional style” of racing. The style where none of the contenders respond to moves until it is the last 3 km of a race.
In one-on-one bike racing, you have to make so many decisions, thousands a race, that decide your fate. You need to know when to tap your brakes, who to ride near, where to be in the field in relationship to the final corner, or a zillion other ones that make you have a higher chance of winning. Or staying safe. Or many other things. But you can make all the very best, correct choices each and every time and it can still go to shit. Or you can make the lousiest decisions the whole race and still end up having a great result.
Thus the way with life. The guy sleeping on the sidewalk that we all walk by could have made nearly every decision he was faced with in life correctly. He could have made the exact same choice you or I would have made, everytime, but he ended up sick and homeless. And we don’t have the correct amount of empathy because we feel he made lousy decisions in life. He might not have. He could have done it exactly right and he still ended up in a big pile-up in the final corner of the race.
I don’t know how many races I’ve been in I wished I’d made one different decision, usually towards the end of the race. Obviously, these races are ones that I thought I could have done better in.
At the finish of one of the stages of Joe Martin, a friend ,who finished 3rd, said he thinks he could have won. I was a little put off by the statement and asked him how he thought that was possible. He said he came around the final corner way back and nearly passed everyone. I told him that 3rd was the place he deserved. He needed to be in better position for an opportunity to win. He never had that opportunity because of his positioning.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I guess we should all remember that we should try to make the best use of our opportunities and abilities, but don’t dwell on the final result not being what you had envisioned initially. Hindsight is 20/20. I’m not exactly sure where that saying came from, but it really is a gem.