Wilson’s Wisdom for Success

Let’s start the week off by with an idea from MFF coach-extraordinaire Matt Wilson, an idea that I churned through my head while rubber rolled downhill this weekend.

The first downhill race of the UCI World Cup took place over the weekend in Lourdes, France, which meant I was checking Pinkbike at 7am every morning to get the deets.  I was very, very excited to see Aaron Gwin take the first race of the year.


I love me an underdog, and Aaron Gwin is not exactly an underdog.  He dominated the the field last year to win the World Cup, and has won something like 40% of the races he’s entered.  Gwin switched teams last year, heading to YT and swapping a number of parts in the process.  Surrounded by speculation, he may have well been an underdog.

Reading through the sparse winter coverage, it seemed like Gwin was doing what he’s always done; training.  While watching the live-feed from France (Thanks, Red Bull TV!) I found myself thinking, “He’s doing what he’s always done.”

This leads me to something that MFF coach Matt Wilson casually said last week that I loved. When talking about program design, he said this to me:

Do the program until it works.

While Matt and I are united by our nerdiness, this sentence would normally land pretty far away from me.


You see, I love variables.  I love the X’s and the O’s, I love how a change at Y leads to change throughout the entire system.  I want to explore how each variable changes the other.  And, none of those variables matter if you’re not doing something.

When Matt said, “Do the program until it works,” he reminded me of the most important thing: Doing it.

Doing it is the most important thing.

It’s not about sets, sleep, or spinach for all of us.  In the grand scheme of getting it done, the variables are not what’s important. Action is what is important. Doing is what is important.


The meaning of “it” is personal, and that means that the actions we take are personal. If we’re focusing on doing our “it,” then action trumps the variables.

There’s inertia at play here. When we’re taking action, we continue to take action, but when we stop or pause, we stop taking action and we start to think.

Stopping to think is one of the greatest ideas out there, but not if it leads to inaction. Stop to think for refinement, for improvement, to enhance the process. Don’t stop to stop. Keep doing “it” while you’re thinking.

I love to stop and think as much as every skeptic out there, and while that could be considered a superpower, it appears quote often as negativity bias. That’s not what we want. We don’t want to be scared, or sit still, or be scared of the success that awaits us. So often the inertia of our actions, as imperfect as they may be, is exactly what leads us to our next moment of success.

So don’t stop. Keep going. Remember Matt Wilson’s advice:

Do it until it works.

Doing “it” is how Aaron Gwin spent his off season, and I think it showed in Lourdes this weekend. It’s not about shock settings, rebound, or tire pressure, but about making sure that he’s actually doing it.

As I watched Gwin come down the track, I thought came back to Matt Wilson’s wise words, “Do it until it works.”  Dammit, Matt, it sure does work!

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