- Kenny Florian
Ὁ βίος βραχύς
ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή
ὁ δὲ καιρὸς ὀξύς
ἡ δὲ πεῖρα σφαλερή
ἡ δὲ κρίσις χαλεπή
"Life is short" - so begins the Greek quotation by Hippocrates at the start of this post. I came upon this quotation in it's latin which begins: "Ars longa, vita bervis ...". Digging around for it's meaning led me to an idiomatic translation of the Greek goes like this:
Life is [too] short
And the task is huge
The right time is like a razor blade
The road to experience is fraught with hazards
To continuously accept reality and critical thought over hope and prejudice is taxing
Since then I've been thinking a lot, almost obsessively, about this quote. I don't think any athlete needs me to explain why.
Coincidentally, at the same time Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 hour rule" popped up in two different texts I was reading: Sam Sheridan's "A Fighter's Mind" and "How to become a programmer in 10 years" by Peter Norvig (the source of the "Ars Longa" quote). I haven't read Gladwell's book but the rough idea is that if you want to be great at something you need 10,000 hours of practice - everything else will follow.
For reference, that's about 3 hours a day, everyday, for 10 years.
I could write pages and pages about this idea, but in the interest of actually finishing a post let me say this; I'm 26. I'm not an old man but the clock is ticking and I do, very much, want to master something athletic in my lifetime.
But, life is short; we move, we burn out, we get injured. And the task is huge; we become complacent, plans change, goals change, needs change. The right time is like a razor blade; we invest too little, or too much. The road to experience is fraught with hazards; we get frustrated with ourselves, the culture, or the group. To continuously accept reality and critical thought over hope and prejudice is taxing; we have our expectations, and everyone else's expectations.
So yeah, I'm thinking a lot about this.