Time To Read

6.5 minutes

Points of Interest

  • Pillars of Perfection
  • Fighting moments of Crisis
  • Training your Brain
  • Mastering Patience
  • Defining Success
  • Defining your Goals


The status of being an Olympic winner was one of the highest anyone could have achieved in Ancient Greece, considered almost as high as becoming a demigod.

The achievement to sports and athletic abilities were considered divine and played a major role in educating the youth.

Some of that ancient tradition has somehow embedded into our culture. Even today, nothing compares to the feeling of winning a competition. Whether it's breaking a personal record, world record or just becoming a champion in particular sports discipline!


To achieve best results, three basic pillars of athletic perfection must be upheld:

  1. 100% effort and persistence in training
  2. Perfecting the recovery process including proper nutrition
  3. Building a healthy winner's mentality and motivation

Only when all three pillars are in perfect ratio, athletes can achieve excellence in any sport.

However, it is not a rare occurrence for athletes to have a bad day and simply fail to deliver the results they and everybody around them expect.

The pressure of failure and the criticism from their trainers, family and friends could become the worst burden in these situations.

Humans like to criticise because, for some, it's the perfect way to solve our own insecurities.

An athlete has to learn not to take any of the demotivating critics too personally. The only critic they have to listen to is their inner winner, the one that lives in each of them!

Athletes need to triple their effort to reach the position of being able to compete for the most brilliant medals.

This is a process that starts with a determined mindset.

According to the study, which covered the definition of elite athletes, shows the psychological profile of elite athletes in different sports and levels of competition is often similar.

So what makes elite athletes so determined to win?

Fighting the crisis moments

Mental clarity and focus on a specific goal are crucial. This means that an athlete can transform a defeat into victory in the final stage.

An athlete must know how to deal well with bad moments in their specific sport.

The key is to stay focused and passionate with no negative emotions, even when the outcome does not seem to go all the way to meeting your expectation.

Learning from mistakes is extremely beneficial! It is a fine thread that divides top athletes from the average. The difference is that top athletes are always capable of managing their own mental strength in crisis situations.

They know how to deal well with unexpected defeats, and what is crucial is they can endure mental stress!

For the sake of the long game, they lower their feelings of defeat and use it as motivation to train harder or better for the next event or competition.

"The key is to stay focused and passionate with no negative emotions, even when the outcome does not seem to go all the way to meeting your expectation."

Training your brain

This specific ability of the mind can be trained. You don't need years and years of self-work or a psychology degree to work on your own winner's mindset.

It is not uncommon for an athletes' mental strength to fall. However, keeping the focus on the specific rules, personal goals and concentrating on competing against "yourself" is a great strategy!

Imagining that you are competing against your best results instead of your competitor’s means you are just achieving better results than you ever did and that’s a certain push in the right direction!

The imperative is to stay in good spirits in such situations where the conditions and circumstances are quite bad. We must not fall into a state of panic and only think of solving the situation. We also must not, at all cost, seek answers to what is not going well in that moment.

Quite the contrary - it should not create any additional stress, such as the need to find an emergency solution because you feel as if you have already lost.

Just keep focusing on your game or race, give the best you can at that moment and ignore the current result.

Patience and how to master it

Learning to master patience can be translated into a real and measurable sports achievement force.

Sometimes to have patience means to enjoy what is being achieved and to accept unexpected results.

Each defeat is a lesson that can be utilised for the future.

Being capable to overcome failure and past injuries will help you reach your ultimate potential.

Overcoming a reduction in force or ability immediately after an injury can be the trickiest part for athletes who are used to having top results. However, history has recorded unbelievable turnarounds and come-backs for athletes who were patient enough to go through the recovery and rehabilitation process long enough.

In sports, nothing is ever final - the unexpected change can happen each time an athlete finds their own way to overcome the fear of failure.

Defining success


If someone asked you, right now, to give a five-minute speech defining success, could you do that?


If your answer is "yes," you probably belong to a minority of athletes who have already built their winners mindset!

In which case, you might say that you already have a winner's mentality.

Specifically, you belong to a group of people who refuse to be passive participants in life events, expecting something to happen on its own


The vast majority would have found it challenging to answer that initial question. Not because the definition of success for them is an insecure mystery, but because they have never placed a narrative on it. Many people don't talk themselves through their struggles and define their priorities.

Is it then surprising that so many people remain stuck doing something that does not bring them fulfilment or the prospect of progress?

Winners are, above all, quite clear about what they want to achieve

They will first define their goals, then knowingly choose the ways or activities that will bring them to achieve their top results.

No matter how much knowledge or skill we have, there is always a chance that we will never be conscious of our errors.

Does this sound familiar to you?

More precisely, do you expect someone else to master the knowledge you need? Or will you take responsibility for your own progress and accomplishment?

This is, among other things, what distinguishes people with the mentality of a winner. They will look for ways to learn what they consider important.

A human can learn as long as they are alive.

This means that continuing to perfect your abilities is a lifelong practice.

For example, individuals who "tap in place" and don’t tend to take action easily, may have an enviable amount of patience. However, "passive" patience, by itself, does not necessarily lead to progress.

In other words, the mentality of a winner, as opposed to "passive patience", implies something like "active perseverance".

Winners never give up, never surrender, but they also know when to stop training if an injury is threatening.

There's a fine line between wanting, desiring and knowing when to acknowledge the actual winning situation.

"99% of success is made up of failure"


 Many examples throughout sporting history have showed that only those who choose to try again and again, in the end, succeed.

Interestingly, these athletes don't tend to ignore other opinions. They carefully choose trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists and even counsellors. They will carefully evaluate whose opinion is worth recognition, and whose should be ignored.

Such individuals, quite certainly, will do everything they can to achieve their goals.

Moreover, it is precisely those, whose definition of success is a clear image in their mind, who will get the silver medal. Eventually moving to the winner's camp to achieve gold. This only depends on them.

For starters, they will do quite enough if they follow the three pillars of perfection mentioned above.

After that, olive or laurel branches are just a single race away!

Further Reading

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to read more from us please search through here. We offer professional, proven advice on recovery, performance and nutrition.

You may be interested in:

Nutrition for a Marathon

Recovery for improved Performance

Active Recovery for Endurance Cyclists

About the Author

Apollonas G. Kapsalis is a personal trainer, nutritional therapist and founder of www.greekgoesketo.com 

February 28, 2019 — Apollonas G. Kapsalis
Tags: psychology

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