How did I come up with six strategies?

Written 9th December 2017

600words How did I come up with the six strategies?


The idea of five strategies emerged as I was training  for the Port Macquarie Ironman in 2014. This involved the previous six months of racing and training for the race.

When I put together that I was  doing five things in order to achieve my goal, I realised I needed a sixth item on my strategy.  So I started out with planning, relaxation, concentration, mindfulness and reflection. After this I added at the beginning goals.  

Some of the six words  for the strategies have been locked in from the beginning such as relaxation, mindfulness and concentration.  I have, however, interchanged goals with vision, planning with organisation, and reflection with evaluation.

Clearly I had been doing all six things , for all the years I have been running , which started in 1984 in Bowral.  The 2013-2014 realisation of the six strategies really crystallised when I wrote up my ironman report, though I was thinking about them while I was training. 


Meanwhile at school we have conversation periods  on period 4 on a Wednesday and two to three times a term I would speak to them on a range of issues.  To break rom administrative presentations I would tell stories to hopefully entertain and enlighten the students.

At one stage, while it was still vivid, I told the ironman story with photos based on the six strategies.  This was received very well and the students had six strategies they could take away with them to apply to their learning and life.  

A few months later I was preparing the students  for an assessment examination block. I reworked the the six strategies with a focus question and suggestions.  What is your goal for the examinations? Do you have a strategy around how you are going to plan your study? What is going to be your approach to relaxation prior to and during examinations? What mental tricks and exercises are you going to employ to improve your power of concentration and focus in the lead up to and during the examinations? What are you going to do to be mindful of the circumstances of the circumstances around you while studying and during the examinations.  Finally, have you planned to reflect of the use of the strategies in order to improve in the future.


Why did it take 54 years to come to these realisations and recognise the patterns of my existence and practices? 

It has to be more than the wisdom of age and a life of trial and error and error.  I guess this is why people who get these realisations and recognition of patterns and sequences and act upon them, at a younger age, do much more with their life. 

I do say this with a sense of jealousy.  I wish I know what I knpw now when I was in my teens and twenties.  And there is still a lot more for me to learn now which no doubt would have been useful then.

I worked in Years 11 and and 12 and wrung the sponge dry with effort.  I got the most out of my ability and understanding at the time. I had fun and enjoyed myself at university, never missed a lecture or tutorial, but picked subjects , within  the core subjects I needed to do, based on social not academic reasons. I wonder if I could have got 1st class honours- not that I am meant to know but I missed out by one mark and was close to the University Medal.  

There is also another what could  have been with my involvement with gymnastics. We did all we could to support this talent but the infrastructure to do this was not easily available at the time and where we lived.  

I won’t write about running yet.  


Maybe the realisation of the six strategies came with taking the opportunities when they present themselves.  In 1983 Honours graduates from a number of universities got together, including myself, at Sydney University to present or topics.

At the end of the day Jim Forrest, from Macquarie University, asked me if I wanted to write up my thesis in to 5000 words for a book he was editing? It was the last thing I wanted to do. I sat in the library and the university sports bar at the end of the year, wrote 5000 words, put it in the mail and moved on with my life.  A few years later I was in a published academic book which started me on the road of writing articles, not really academic, for the next 35 years. All because I took an opportunity – reluctantly.

Maybe the realisation of the six strategies came when I decided to stop thinking about action ( doing and ironman)  and going about doing an ironman. In the 1980s I was living in Bowral, having the overseas trip I never had, establishing myself as a teacher, sorting out my personal life, and started running in 1984.. I talked about doing an ironman the and while two friends did I did not take the opportunity until 30 years later.  That is another story.

Written at the swimming carnival 5 December 2017.   

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