Book Review: A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington. Autobiography

Chrissie Wellington is probably the best female triathlete ever born. She has won every single ironman she ever started (including 4 World Championships in Hawaii) and improved the previous Ironman world record by more than half an hour. Before starting her career as a triathlete (in her late 20-s!) she had made successful careers first in a law firm and later in an international NGO. Her autobiography, A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey, is a fascinating story about a girl who has taken the maximum out of every opportunity of life. Here are my notes:

  • if there was one thing that marked me out as unusual it was my drive. i would go do far as to describe it as obsessive-compulsive. i have, and always have had, the most powerful urge to make the best of myself. at times i have not been able to control it; at times it has taken me to some unpleasant places; but it is also an essential part of who i am, and i cannot make any apology for this.
  • through secondary school to university, i was focused and disciplined, with one goal in mind – to be the best in my class. my capacity for hard work knew no bounds.
  • pressure is the necessary evil if you want to achieve. it brings with it great stress, but you deal with it, and the redemption comes when you achieve things as a result
  • when things are tough, you are tougher
  • i derived huge enjoyment from pushing my body as far as it would go in training sessions, that masohistic thrill of taking the pain just a little bit further each time.
  • some people keep looking for the answers they want to hear, and some people confront themselves and dig in.
  • i have this little saying that i think helps me be successful, more than anything else i do. and that is, i think, then i pick, and then i stick! and nothing shifts me from my view. no bad races, no bad sessions, no bad moods.
  • Chrissie Wellington

    life is nothing but a habit. get to work.

  • i am motivated above all by that little voice inside that urges me on to fulfil my potential. everyone has that same voice in them somewhere, but many are too scared to listen to it, too scared to try, too scared of failure. that fear is immobilizing, but it is also our own personal construct and therefore doesn’t exist in reality. never imagine anything is impossible, and never stop trying out new things.
  • if you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl. Martin Luther King
  • but the other, more visceral war I’d fought was against the simple desire to give up. what a fight I’d waged with that! Physically, I’d probably been able to give 80 per cent, but mentally i gave every last morsel of the full 100. i wasn’t fully fit for this race, yet i’d survived it on something other than physical aptitude. this was no technical masterclass. this was blood and grit, a way of attrition. my mind could have given up on me at so many stages, and i just would not let it.
  • it is all too easy to accept lying down as your only option, or even just standing still. no one should ever be afraid of failing; it’s being afraid to give it your all in trying that i urge against. if there is one thing i have learned, particularly in my life as an athlete, it is that our limits may not be where we think they are. and, even when we think we’ve finally reached them, the next time we go there exploring we often find that they’ve moved again.
  • i’m an ordinary girl from Norfolk, marked out by, if anything, an appetite for adventure and a will for self-improvement. these are qualities available to anyone who is of a mind to acquire them.
  • you can never reach perfection. your ambition should be directed towards your ability to overcome imperfection, and that is how i want to live my life. trying to effect positive change has always been important to me, and that is not the same thing as chasing perfection.
  • my only policy throughout has been to keep an open mind and, whatever i may do, to give it my all.
  • be happy 4 this moment…4 this moment is Your Life.
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