Playing sports tends to improve the structure of one’s overall life. If you engage in any sport, you know the difference it makes to your understanding of practice, patience, and focus. For professional ski-racer and mountain-biker Lara Markthaler, playing sports is life’s blood and gut. Still only 13 years old, this young professional is all about discipline and commitment. Here’s why.
When it comes to sports, discipline takes on a heightened meaning. In fact, it can become the single-most discretionary factor in determining wins and losses. For Lara Markthaler, it’s what differentiates a good athlete different from a great one. She says, “We are born neither disciplined nor undisciplined. We are born only with responses towards our most primal needs like food, water, and shelter. Needless to say, all other qualities that make us civilized are acquired and learned. Discipline is one of them. Pick up any autobiography of a successful sportsperson, like Rafael Nadal or Steffi Graff, and you’ll notice how tough they had to be on themselves to wake up early every day, practice for 8 hours straight, give up on a certain kind of lifestyle, and much more. While the discipline is usually expressed physically, its origin lies in the mind. A professional athlete, therefore, must first be mentally disciplined.”
Discipline is often showered with rewards, and for Lara Markthaler, it’s a reward in itself too. But it’s not the only attitude that an athlete must hone. The other equally important one is commitment. Markthaler says, “Commitment is everything. And I truly believe it is what drives discipline. When you are committed, you make a vow to yourself, and it’s not to be taken lightly. Your commitment to your sport cannot be vague or all over the place. It should be simplified. You can commit to becoming the best, but that’s just the beginning. When you commit to becoming great, you commit to a growth mindset, to practicing control over temptations and distractions, and most of all, to being disciplined and balanced. It’s a promise for a lifetime, and when understood holistically, can be applied to life as a whole.”
Discipline and commitment are the two not-so-secret ingredients in Lara Markthaler’s recipe for success. And hopefully, the young athlete’s practical insights on the topics clear up the fog that often surrounds these areas and makes them inaccessible.
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