My perspective has changed a great deal since getting into the multisport world.
Beat people. Workout until exhausted. Race. Race. Race.
Beat people at key races. Workout smarter. Race. Race. Race.
Workout at every opportunity. Races are whenever I say they are and they don't necessarily have a "start and finish" line.
At the end of my CompuTrainer class last night at Village CycleSport we started a good conversation about athletes and their "focus" on themselves and perspective (or lack there of) of importance of various events in training, racing and life.
My philosophy -
1) You train/race to your ability. The best you can do given your circumstances in this thing we call life.
2) You keep in mind that every person has their own limits. The celebration should be on the ability to be healthy enough to be out there versus who is faster/better/stronger. (Read: there is always someone faster, stronger, smarter than you. Nobody is perfect.)
3) You are considerate to communities and people in which we race and train.
4) You give back to the sport in volunteering for races/charities and helping those who can never repay you. (More Than Sport, War on ALS, Cancer, MOvember, CAF - whatever motivates you.) There is no wrong answer here as long as you contribute to someone other than yourself at least once or twice a year.
5) Stay humble. You are just a human being like everyone else. This is something to gain strength from too. In the end, all living things pay the same debt (death). Not to be morbid, but having that perspective will change how you communicate to everyone.
6) Stop self pity. Everyone struggles. A friend recently told me, "Everyone feels pain. Suffering is optional." Make sacrifice your ally.
7) Never compromise your standards and opinions to "win" friends. - Woody Hayes
8) Feel the power of a smile, a friendly wave and some encouragement of others. The power of attitude can change your future.
9) Commit to excellence - everyone wants to be associated with people who set and maintain high standards.