The Olympic Games capture the attention of individuals around the world. Almost every nation is represented in the Games. According to the National Olympic Committee, 3.2 billion people will watch all or a part of the televised events. Individuals and entire households, young and old, sports fans and non-sports fans are drawn to television screens every four years to watch amateur and professional athletes. They represent the best of the best; they compete for “gold” and bragging rights as world champions. Becoming an Olympic champion is not just about sports, it’s about a way of life.
Olympians represent a life defined by commitment, determination, dedication, hard work, practice, and most of all, resiliency. However, Olympians, like all of us, may fail. Some have failed many times in their efforts to compete, but continue to practice day after day until they qualify. What is implicit in the life of each Olympian is their desire to succeed is greater than their fear of failure.
I have been part of the estimated 3.2 billion viewers who tune in each night. I, like most viewers, am not just impressed with their athleticism, but with the hardships that many have had to overcome to get to where they are today. Such hardships have included almost everything we witness everyday—poverty, disabilities, violence, homelessness or being reared by a single parent. Many of the Olympians share the same hardships that many Americans are using as excuses for not living their dreams, reaching their goals, achieving success or becoming the best they can be.
Watching an individual competing with artificial legs, or listening to the life stories of how individuals overcame obstacles proves that each of us has the chance to become Olympians. Maybe not as participants in world-wide sporting events, but in whatever we set out to do in life.
While life does not guarantee us gold medals, each of us has the opportunity to achieve the best in what we seek. It requires that we have a will to succeed and an even stronger commitment to work for it. We must be determined not to allow anything, including our own negativity and self- doubt, to stand in our way of achieving success.
We all face challenges. Like some Olympians, we may have to make several attempts before we qualify. Olympians, who may have previously failed to qualify, approach each “do-over” as an opportunity to improve. This philosophy eventually leads to success. We may not achieve what we aspire on our first, second or even third attempt, but if we learn from each experience, and strive to do our best on the next effort, we will soon achieve the success for which we aim.
Most of us, at some time in our lives, will fall behind where we think we should be. In life, as with the rules of the Olympics, we must not quit. I learned that regardless of how far behind an Olympian is from winning, he or she will not quit. The Olympic Code requires participants to give an honest effort in competing because to do less diminishes the game. It’s a code we all should follow for success.
The following tips may help you to live the life of an Olympian:
- Aim high and establish goals you want to reach in life.
- Spend each day doing something that will help you attain your goals.
- Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your abilities.
- Expect setbacks and challenges and have a plan to overcome them.
- Stay focused and don’t be distracted by the negativity of others.
- Don’t quit regardless of how difficult challenges may appear.