Posts Tagged ‘liz yelling’

This is not a very well thought out post – usually I let them ‘ferment’ for a while before I write them, but this one is based on a twitter exchange just a couple of minutes ago, so sorry if it rambles a bit. But I want to write about discipline and putting in extra effort.

In the Observer this morning is a piece about Jamie Oliver’s latest venture, Dream School, where Jamie has assembled a group of inspiring people to try to help children who have failed at school (or have been failed by the school system, depending on your outlook). The group includes Cherie Blair, Daley Thompson, Andrew Motion and many others. A real dream team. Now, due to the fact that I don’t have a television, I might not catch much of the series, but from the Observer piece I get the impression that the ‘teachers’ struggle to get the pupils to feel inspired and that while there are a few breakthrough moments, the overwhelming message will be that these youngsters are unwilling to try or to push themselves. They really have to be pushed and cajoled and encouraged every single step. And this is a situation that Jamie has encountered before. In the Observer interview, when asked about the qualities he looks for when recruiting for his restaurants he says “I’m embarrassed to look at British kids. You get their mummies phoning up and saying: ‘He’s too tired, you’re working him too hard’ – even the butch ones. Meanwhile, I’ve got bulletproof, rock-solid Polish and Lithuanians who are tough and work hard. Physical graft and grunt is something this generation is struggling with.”

And today two people I admire hugely raced in the Wokingham marathon – 2nd senior man for Ben Moreau in 64:55 and a win for Liz Yelling in 73:44. Afterwards they both added an extra to their race effort – 45 minutes for Ben and 8 miles in an hour for Liz. The reason I mention this is that last weekend I did the same – 76:16 for me at the Great Bentley half and then 50 minutes afterwards. The tenuous link I want to draw here is that all three of us demonstrate commitment to our goals and we are prepared put in the effort to make those dreams come true. Admittedly Ben and Liz are eyeing a chance to run in the Olympics in London next year and I am a looooong way from that. But I am also prepared to work hard to achieve my modest goal and I know that in order to do that I need to do a bit more… whatever that is.

So I guess this blog post is about what Jamie says in the Observer interview: “… you need to know what real fucking work is…”. Liz and Ben know what that is and they are prepared to push it to achieve their dreams. I know lots of people through running and sport who have the same focus and grit, but I think people like that are in the minority and I would love to know how we as a nation start to reverse a trend which sees young people giving up at the first signs that something is hard work. I would love to help people try to find the little demon that exists in all of us, the one that ensures that whilst everyone else is flopping to the ground after their half marathon, some people grab a drink and a fresh t-shirt and go for another 45 minutes because THAT is what will make us great!


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