It has been amazing to watch such talented athletes compete at the 2012 Olympics. It’s hard to believe that there’s an athlete as young as 13 years of age and another athlete as old as 71 years of age competing (http://tinyurl.com/9uufw6n). I know when I was 13, I was nowhere near mature enough to handle the pressures of being an Olympic athlete. Kudos to all the athletes for their hard work, dedication and utter determination to do whatever is necessary to make their dream come true.
Below are several life lessons I learned from watching these amazing athletes compete. I would love to hear about the lessons that stood out for you, as well, so please share.
1. Success takes hard work. Each and every one of the athletes put countless hours of hard work into honing their craft. Many of these athletes, in fact, devoted their lives to their dream of making it to the Olympics. Too often, many of us think that we shouldn’t have to work that hard to be successful, earn money, have a loving relationship, etc. The reality is that very few things in life come easily. If you want something badly enough, then you must be willing to do the hard work to make it happen.
2. Life is not always fair. US gymnast, Jordyn Wieber, did not make the all-around competition because a maximum of two gymnasts per team can qualify. Twenty-four gymnasts made that competition, twenty-one of whom had scores lower than Jordyn’s. Unfair? Absolutely. But life is unfair. What differentiates those who succeed from those who don’t, however, is the way they handle the blow. Jordyn handled it with class and didn’t allow this decision to take her out of the rest of the competition.
3. Mistakes are to be expected. Many, if not all, of the athletes made or will make mistakes throughout their Olympic journey. Although they are the best of the best, they are also human. Mistakes are a part of life. No matter how good we are at something or how hard we try, we will always make mistakes. Imperfection is simply part of our humanity.
4. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn. A key factor that sets the good athletes apart from the great athletes is their ability to recover from their mistakes. Michael Phelps bounced back from a fourth place finish and an overall rough start (for him ) in his final Olympic games by going on to win four gold and two silver medals. Even after he won the gold, he talked about how he could have improved his turn in the final lap. In sports — and in life — the better we are at looking at our mistakes, owning them and learning from them, the more successful we become.
5. What the mind believes, the body achieves. The most successful athletes in the Olympic games believe in themselves. They know they have what it takes to win. They don’t tell themselves everyone else is better. They believe. In life, too many people don’t believe in themselves, know that they are worthy or stand behind themselves no matter what. When we believe in ourselves and know we deserve great lives, we will make that dream happen.
These athletes are no different than you or I. They are human beings. They make mistakes. They have days when they doubt themselves and they have moments when life throws them a curve ball.
What sets them apart is how they handle the ups and downs of life. The top athletes have trained themselves to recover from the curve balls, to learn from their mistakes and to fight for a dream with such passion that it is almost impossible for them to fail.
If you want to succeed in life, relationships, sports or your career, take a lesson from the Olympians: “What the mind believes, the body achieves.”
Challenge: What lesson do you need to work on? Choose one and passionately work it. Notice what happens.