Tapping into The Athlete Mindset

Every fortnight, we hand over the blog to one of the London Shapers, to give you a flavour of what they do, how they think and what's really going on in our hearts and minds. Today's piece comes from Kike Oniwinde, Founder & CEO of BYP Network and ex- Great Britain Javelin Thrower.


From the age of 14, I knew what it meant to be the best in the country. For over a decade now, I’ve been able to form great habits and a mindset that has aided my development. As one of the best javelin throwers in the country I’ve had the privilege of competing at an elite level, nationally and internationally including gaining a full track and field scholarship to an American university.


I’d like to share with you the mindset I, along with my sporting peers, have developed along our journeys.


There is a world outside of your world


Being the best in your school, hometown or country shouldn’t fill your head up. You’re winning in your world but are you winning in THE world? Even world champions compete against previous and future world champions by pursuing the ‘Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T)’ title. For example, Serena Williams is competing against future great tennis players by ensuring her grand slam titles will be near impossible to beat for generations to come. Why else would she come back from a complicated pregnancy to continue playing tennis despite being the G.O.A.T? Ultimately, you may be winning in your world, but your competition is the next world.


Be grateful but not satisfied


Congratulations you won! Amazing! Go ahead and celebrate whilst you’re overcome with joy. Go to bed, wake up and understand there is work to be done. The same way you can’t dwell on your failures is the same way you can’t marinate in your successes. Be grateful for such an achievement, especially because you worked hard for it. However, it’s instantly old news and the next challenge awaits. Continuously feeding your mind with a focus is necessary to grow. I recently had to be honest with myself: I realised that I’ve never been satisfied. In my mind, I should have done better and because of this I strive harder.


Think big, then think bigger


I was recently told that I wasn’t ambitious enough. Anyone who knows me, knows I have ambition leaking from my skin. However, I agreed instantly and decided to unlock my mind and be intentional with my pursuit. The truth is, the saying ‘dare to dream’ resonates with so many of us because big ambition can be scary. However, we will never know our true potential if we target ‘realistic’ goals compared to goals that seem impossible. As an athlete, we are forever pushing our bodies to the limit by showing up and working past the pain. It’s very well known that half the battle starts with the mind, so if we are working hard but not thinking big enough – we can’t become the best.


Stay curious, stay naive


Being naïve has a bad connotation, which is understandable when someone causes offence (i.e. misogyny). However, when I speak about being naïve, I speak about not accepting the reality you’re given and believing you can change it. People around you will say “it can’t be changed”, “you’re wasting your time.” However, it’s best to ignore this and stay curious in questioning why things are the way they are. In sports, we question why we can’t be the best. If the doctor says we can’t ever play again due to a fatal injury – we never believe them. Instead we’ll work hard and find ways to be back on the playing field, and be better than ever.


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As an athlete who is now building a business and a community, this athlete mindset has helped me. I hope I was able to help you tap into your athlete mindset. It is not the only mindset and it can be intense, however, I hope at least one point will resonate.


As a Global Shaper, I will be carrying this mindset in my pursuit in making the world a better place.



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