So you know you are going into a sporting event, a challenge, an experience, that you cannot replicate, but you have to believe you can do it before you will achieve what you set out to do.
If belief comes from your own known ability, then how can you generate belief without knowing your own ability to do something?
- You use inspiration instead.
People can be many things. They can be cruel, wasteful, ignorant, selfish, selfless, prudent, generous, insightful, most of all though, people have the ability to be incredible. I believe what we experience others doing, is what can inspire us to do more than what we think we are able to do ourselves.
Sometimes inspiration can even be found in fiction - a film or a book. I suppose the most powerful form of inspiration is real however. Individuals pushing themselves to the absolute limit, doing the smallest thing that they never thought possible, even acts of kindness can be inspiring.
When we find inspiration at its most potent, is likely down to how we learn and are stimulated ourselves.
I'm most inspired by what I can take in visually and through music. Watching someone achieve something perfect in sport, or watching someone pushing themselves beyond the limit people thought possible, is the kind of thing that inspires me. To listen to music which moves me, with words that stir me is inspiring to me too.
Being giving the opportunity to do something in the same or a similar discipline as the people I watched inspire me, with music and words that stir me in my head, is when I feel strongest in my own ability.
Of course that's just my experience of inspiration.
Everyone's experience of inspiration will be as varied as how they learn to study for an exam, or what kind of music they like, who they relate to and what they are trying to inspire themselves to do.
I wonder, or more importantly I hope, that inspiration is enough to do what I am trying to do.
I'm under no illusions that most people think I am completely mad for thinking of doing the Race Across America in a mixed team, never mind solo. But then, how else would I be able to demonstrate that people with epilepsy are able, not disabled people.
To do it would be beyond what I think I am able to do, because I have never done half of the Solo category before, never mind the full race. But if the inspiration which I can pull from different sources is powerful enough and strong enough, then it will be the psychological advantage I need, to do what I am setting out to do.
If I can be inspired by people who have done what I have done and gone on to more, or that do more than I have ever done but are the same as me... then I hope that will lead to the belief in myself, that will allow me to ride the world's toughest sporting event and conquer it.
After all, when it comes to something like RAAM Solo, all you can do is prepare the best you can, have hope, inspiration and eventually belief.
You might fail. But if you never had the inspiration to believe you might have been able to do something in the first place, then you will never even attempt it.