Olympic Size Life Lessons
The Olympics are always jaw-dropping. The current games have shown us gymnasts who defy gravity and swimmers who glide through the water more fishlike than human. How did these champions reach this level of performance? What can we learn from them?
- Believe in yourself. Most athletes have a story of setbacks, hardships or disappointments. At any point along their journey to the Olympics, they could have declared their dream over. Instead, they used setbacks as motivation to train even harder because they believed–no, they knew–they were capable of the greatness we are now witnessing. Despite moments of doubt or monumental challenges, their self-images remain unshakably rock solid.
- Do what you love. Only three medals are awarded for any one event, which means that most of the athletes will not stand on a podium. They train for years for their few moments on the court, in the water, or on the balance beam. Why do they do this? Because they don’t know how not to do that which they love. They wake up each day excited to work at their sport. We don’t have to be athletes to choose work or activities we love.
- Be a good sport. Whether they come in first or last, these athletes typically applaud their competitors’ accomplishments, are tactfully honest about their own successes, and do not blame other people if they come up short. Over and over we hear “it all came together for me,” “it just wasn’t my day,” or “s/he ran a perfect race.” These athletes own their stuff.
- Find a great coach. As self-serving as this sounds, it is true that what is good for the athletes is equally good for the rest of us in our life decisions, choices and goals. We watch these extraordinary humans in awe, but the athletes know that there is always room for improvement. A tweak here or a slight change there, observed by a coach and put into action by the athlete, is the difference between good and great. Why not go for a gold medal life?
The phenomenal entertainment of these summer Olympics will end soon, but the life lessons last forever. We can take action to thrive in and love our own lives. Swimming pools, beach volleyball nets, and uneven bars not required.