Jul 29, 2012

Lessons from the Olympics

I LOVE the Olympics. It's the only time I'm glued to the TV whenever I'm home. In fact, we temporarily increased our cable television channels from ten to 110 so we could get all the Olympic programming. (My kids think this is great.) I love the athletes' stories, the tension, the idea that this is the time they've worked towards their whole lives and so much is riding on the next ten seconds, twenty minutes, two hours, etc. It's like watching dreams come to life...and disappear...between heartbeats.  They work so hard, yet so few get medals. Sound familiar? ;)

Here's a quick list of life lessons played out in London this week.
1. You can't get good at something without a lot of work. This seems obvious but I've noticed that the idea of a work ethic for my kids, raised in the Internet age of instant knowledge and machines that accomplish almost every task for us, isn't always an easy one to grasp. We may live in an easy society compared to the past, but the hardest challenges in life are often the most rewarding.
2. The world owes you nothing. The people on the Olympic team worked hard to get there. They've dedicated their lives to getting there. You want to compete? Then plan on doing the same.

3. Someone is always better than you. No matter how hard you work, and even if you win first prize this time, chances are your name in that top stop is temporary.
4. Failure is inevitable. A lot of the time, even your best isn't good enough. The percentage of those who failed to make the team is a lot higher than the lucky few who are in London now. That adage - you can be whatever you want to be? Not always true. Just ask the athletes who didn't even get close to the podium for their sport. Or the athlete who missed third place by 100th of a second.

5. Perseverance and luck play a part in success. NBC shared the story of one of a young man on the U.S. gymnastics team - his parents' struggle to provide, his father's health issues in the middle of a qualifying meet, a torn Achilles heel. He had to block all that stress out of his mind every time he took the mat. If he'd depended on his feelings, rather than his goals, he'd never have made the team. If his Achilles heel hadn't completely healed, he'd never had made the team And if his health hadn't been perfect during the qualifying meets, he'd never have made the team...the list goes on.

6. Carpe diem. Enjoy where you are, when you are. Don't let worry or fear steal your joy in the moment.
So...what did I miss? Share yours - and your favorite Olympic sport - in the comments!

Have a great week,


Emily R. King said...

I enjoy watching the Olympics, too. I'm such a dweeb. I tear up whenever someone wins gold. I can't help it. I understand how wonderful it is to achieve a tremendous goal.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I love the Olympics too for many of the reasons you point out. So many inspiring stories out there of hard, hard, hard word paying off. ;)

Nicole said...

Yay! I love, love, love this post. For me, you can't get better than the Olympics for inspiration and stories of stunning achievement. I'm hosting an Olympic Blog Relay at Write Me A World, so check it out!

Lisa Regan said...

What a fabulous post. All true. This applies to writing as well--and getting published!

Lynn Proctor said...

great lessons for life thanks :)

Rowenna said...

Great points! It's so true that a crazy combination of hard work, natural ability, and luck take a role in shaping an Olympian. I watched some of the track and field trials, and it was so devastating to watch one man lose his chance because of a false start--all that work gone in one moment. But the Olympics, like publishing, isn't usually a one-shot deal--he may compete again, or compete in other events. There's always tomorrow :)

Kelley Lynn said...

All these are SO TRUE!

And I'm like you. Rarely watch TV, but its always on now. :)

elizabeth seckman said...

I love them too, but I must admit...I miss the tension of the Cold War got to beat the Russians fun!

Carol Kilgore said...

I loved the Queen and Bond :)
Like life, the games are all about the journey.

Carrie Butler said...

Well said. :) #6 was my favorite!

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I love, love, love watching the Olympics and you're spot on with your points. It really is a mirror of the writing journey. (Though I'm allowed to eat dessert! ha ha!)

Jolene Perry said...

Well. Said.

Also, your friday funnies rocked :-D