Winter games like watching people on their holidays

Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins
Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins
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In nine out of ten job interviews you’ll encounter a standard question about motivation.

It usually comes in the form of: “How do you motivate yourself?”

An honest answer would be: “I harness the put downs, sarcastic remarks and general negativity I experience on a daily basis and turn this hatred and bile into positive action. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I become all the more determined to do it. In the face of adversity and ridicule, I build a steely determination and unwavering resolution to rise above the doubters and succeed, by whatever means necessary, and that includes bribery and poison.”

Honesty is never the best policy in a job interview.

You’re much better to respond with something bland and perfunctionary containing interview buzz words like ‘organisation’, ‘focus’, ‘goals’ and ‘initiative’.

In terms of motivation, I had absolutely none to watch this month’s Winter Olympics.

One of my friends told me, “Some of it is actually quite good”. The use of the words ‘actually’ and ‘quite’ in this sentence did little to inspire me to buy into the Russian spectacle.

Another pal exclaimed, “Some of the manouvres need to be seen to be believed.” This too did nothing to have me change the channel. I’m not a huge fan of manouvres.

But then, during a third conversation about the winter games in Sochi one of my mates commented to me, “I knew you’d hate the Winter Olympics”. And that was when I became determined to prove them wrong.

They were right of course. I hated the Winter Olympics just like they knew I would and just like I knew I would.

But at least I give them a chance. When it comes to motivation, I’m a sucker for reverse pyschology.

Or am I?

My distrust of the Winter Olympics probably stems from my childhood when I thought the Winter Olympics were exactly the same as the Summer Olympics except in worse conditions.

I remember tuning in to the Calgary Games in 1988 and was heartbroken not to see Florence Griffith Joyner dashing through the snow or Ben Johnson leaving white powder in his wake.

Instead I appeared to be watching people on a skiing holiday.

This year’s Winter Games was much the same as ‘88, involving people getting gold, silver and bronze medals in pursuit of ice and snow-based hobbies, but with the addition of a much more oppulent opening ceremony.

One of the highlights of the games included British athlete Elizabeth Yarnold winning a medal for chucking herself headlong down a slope. If the footage had been posted on social media rather than beamed via satellite around the world, I’d say her local councillors would be in uproar to have the activity banned.

I reckon that a lot of the athletes who take part in the Winter Olympics are victims of the same kind of reverse pyschology as myself.

When told they weren’t fast enough, strong enough or resilient enough to compete against the finest athletes in the world, they set about proving the naysayers wrong. They forced themselves to adhere to a strict diet and training regime, put their social life on hold and severed all family ties.

When that failed they reverted to plan B, bought a pair of skis and signed up for the Winter Olympics.