There’s a thing about believing a dream can be fulfilled – the easy bit, no less. It’s usually when that dream first forms and ferments into a potential reality in the believer’s mind. At that moment – it’s often in the pub, or on a sun lounger – everything seems possible… the challenge is there to be conquered.
The difficulties tend to arise shortly afterwards when the first very real steps to fulfilling that aim are taken. And that’s the point at which crushing reality comes thundering in and, for many people, hopes and aspirations are realigned (a kind word for ‘reduced’, or worse still, ‘scrapped’).
What Professor Greg Whyte does at that key moment of self-doubt is revert the mind back to the afternoon in the pub, and again, and again, and again, until the reality isn’t failure based on a naive plan, but success based on a naive stubbornness not to quit.
It’s the reason he has become arguably the celebrity sports science a-lister, if such a thing could ever exist. And in Achieve the Impossible, for the first time he sets down the mainframe for knowledge, ambition, preparation, vision and success, whether that be in sport, weight loss, business, anxiety or any other battle of the mind and body.
If you could hear Whyte narrate this title as an audio book, you sense he would be calm, straightforward and almost hypnotically driven in presenting very clear and very straightforward arguments, case studies and philosophies in solving the problem of how to conquer. The chapters fly past as a ‘how to’ manual for excelling the human spirit, which in its delivery is a distance away from a number of other similar titles which elaborate rather too much through complex and confusing theories. Yes there is a healthy slab of science here, but in tackling such things as the Law of Diminishing Returns, there remains an everyday link to each point that is then used as a method to fine-tune confidence and belief.
Make no mistake, if you’re using this book to train for a marathon in under two months you’ll still get all the blisters you would have if you hadn’t taken time out of your haplessly short training schedule to read it, but with Professor Whyte’s choice words ringing in your headphones, there’s every chance you press on to the finish line.
“Whatever you do, please, I beg you, do not read this book. Take it back to the shop and demand a refund. Burn it. Bury it. Perhaps it’s best to burn it and then bury it just to be sure.
A decade ago I was a chubby camp comedian, best known for wearing a dress on television and saying ‘I’m a lady’ over and over again. Then I met Professor Greg Whyte. For some bizarre reason he thought he could train me to swim the English Channel. ‘It’s only twenty-two miles, and it should take eleven or twelve hours,’ he said.
‘How warm is the water?’ I asked.
‘Like a hot bath!’ he replied with a smile. ‘Fifteen degrees.’
As the BBC cameras were rolling and it was for charity, I realised it was impossible to pull out. In the autumn of 2005 Professor Greg Whyte began training me. I was someone who had failed their Club Scout sports badge, something it is all but impossible to do. But by the summer of 2006 I had swum the Channel in record time and raised a million pounds.
As I was wiping off the grease at Dover harbour I thought, ‘Thank the Lord I’ll never had to do anything like that again!’
But no. Oh no.
Professor Greg Whyte had other plans. Next I was to swim the Straits of Gibraltar from Europe to Africa in shark-infested waters. Then I was to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End. After that I thought I had really earned the right to sit on my arse and watch Strictly and eat cake for the rest of my life.
But the Professor had a new plan. I was to swim the length of the River Thames. 140 miles in just eight days.
Professor Greg Whyte is the country’s leading expert in sports science and is the man behind every single Sport Relief challenge. He has never accepted a penny for giving up weeks, months, even years of his time and has raised millions and millions for charity.
If he can inspire me to achieve the impossible, he can inspire you too.”
Achieve The Impossible, Professor Greg Whyte.