Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? (2011) shares with you the inspiration and strategies you need to succeed every day, as told through the emotionally charged experiences of a member of the gold medal-winning British rowing team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
If you want to be a winner, in life as well as in sports, setting clear goals is essential. A clear goal can focus your energy and help you learn and evolve as an individual.
So how do the best of the best – Olympic champions – set goals for themselves?
Olympians split goals into four layers: the crazy layer, the concrete layer, the control layer and the everyday layer.
The crazy layer is where you can be bold, even excessive. These are the goals that light up your imagination, that don’t belong on a mundane to-do list. The author’s crazy layer goal, for example, was to win the gold medal in rowing at the Olympics!
Yet to support your crazy layer, you need to provide a structure and a way to measure progress.
The concrete layer helps you do this. For example, you can turn your crazy layer goal of winning Olympic gold into a concrete layer goal with specifics: aiming to row 2000 meters in five minutes and 18 seconds. Considering this is a world record pace, your dreams of gold may just come true!
While the concrete layer should be precise and clear, not every element in this layer is under your control. The control layer thus helps you identify exactly what you can control when working toward success. For example, you certainly can’t control the weather nor the speed of your competitors, but you can control how much you practice.
Finally, the everyday layer outlines the steps you need to take on a daily basis that are vital to achieving your crazy layer goal. For example, on Mondays you could complete 20 bench presses in five minutes. On Tuesdays, you could make sure to row with teammates for at least one hour, and so on throughout the week.
This layered approach is the best way to take practical steps toward your highest goals.