Olympic athletes have a lot to teach us about grit, determination and perseverence. If many of us adopted the habits and ways of thinking common to world-class athletes, perhaps we would experience the same amount of success in our lives.
I've always loved to follow events at the Olympic games. The stories are real and often heart-wrenching...the athlete who comes from nowhere to take Olympic Gold, the "comeback kid" who's back to compete on the world stage after a stream of multiple injuries...and the superhero who's expected to pull in no less than 10 gold medals.
What's amazing to all of these stories is the incredible amount of will and determination it takes en route to Olympic gold. This year, we have the story of the "comeback kid" Kyle Shewfelt. This world class Olympic gymnast broke both legs last year during training at the World Championships. There were some in the medical community who wrote him off, but Kyle knew better.
In spite of (yet another) round of controversial judging at the Olympic level this year, Shewfelt remained positive. In an article published in the Calgary Herald, he said that in spite of the questions raised about judging in the pre-qualifying event, he was determined to rise above petty politics and acknowledged that "Life is full of possibilities...Maybe it isn't always fair, but it is always interesting."
Think about it. You break both your legs in training, go from being an Olympic athlete to being dependent on having people help you get out of bed...and a year later you're competing in the Olympics again - against the odds set by the medical community. Now if that isn't a lesson in grit and perseverance, what is?
Another lesson in hard core grit and elite athleticism is provided by American swimmer Michael Phelps. Phelps, a renowned Olympic superhero, is out to shatter Mark Spitz' 1972 record in Munich and claim his share of no less than 8 Olympic Gold medals. Put simply, the man is a machine. Everything he does is focused on the moment and on one particular race. In the game of world-class sport, it's winner take all and only the strongest and most prepared will achieve Olympic gold. That's what Olympic sport is all about. It's not about achieving your personal best, but about going out there on the world stage and putting everything you have on the line.
How many of us wish we had this kind of fire in us? How can we use their ways of thinking to help us excel in our everyday lives? What is it about Olympic athletes that tells them never to give up - ever - in spite of all the odds facing them?