The Olympic Games have grown to become the world’s preeminent sporting competition. Millions of people around the world have found themselves huddled in front of a television over the past few days watching the lightning fast coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics. The XXXI Olympiad comes complete with intense competition, realized defeat, and examples of overcoming hardships. Whether rooting for Brazil, Spain, Japan, or the good ole’ USA, this is a great time to focus energy on achieving personal Olympic-size goals like the athletes you support.
While many are engrossed in the game, it is the personal stories of the athletes that peak my interest. The amount of social and emotional tragedy some of these athletes have had to face in pursuit of Olympic gold is amazing. Some had to be separated from their families or were forced to navigate through war-torn homelands. Others have had to endure physical pressures due to previous injuries that once threatened to end their careers. Whatever the journey, they have one thing in common; each athlete has paid a significance price complete with innumerable sacrifices in order to compete.
While watching the Olympics several principles appeared universal and consistent to many of the athletes mentioned in the games. Here are four empowering points to remember when trying to achieve Olympic-sized goals like a champ:
- It all starts with a reality check: There is a difference between a hobby and a passion. In the beginning, the athletes had long and hard conversations with family and loved ones. Before acting on the dream of competing at such a high level and investing large amounts of money, they had to be sure there was a serious commitment. Many things seem like an awesome idea, but you have to establish your future level of engagement.
- Move from interest to discipline: Here is where a huge divide exists. In today’s society, there are more than enough opportunities to let discipline slide unaccounted for. Infomercials promise rock hard abs with only a minimum investment of time or by popping a small pill. Other advertisements declare one can get rich by watching a video or attending a seminar. All of these options fail simply because life requires disciplined interaction. Either you pay the price or live with limitations.
- Sacrifices are the toll on the way to greatness: What will the dream cost you? Once this simple questioned is answered, you will have discovered your “secret.” In reality, being successful really is not much of a secret at all. If you are willing to walk away from what you have and toward what want to possess, you will have it. Many athletes train in seclusion for years in hopes of winning a chance to compete. What are you doing?
- Keep your focus on the next round: I watched the post-play interview with one of Team USA’s gold medalists and was shocked by her statement. She had just won Olympic gold but was already thinking about her training regimen for the next Olympics. She had not even made it to the Rio airport in route home before was planning for the next Olympic event. That is dedication.
I may not know your favorite sport or Olympic event, but I believe most have watched a few games lately. While enjoying the host of pageantry this international stage brings, make sure you do not miss the deeper meaning. We are watching the result of journeys that have cost participants greatly. For some, their process prevented them from living a normal childhood. However, the payoff is more than compensation as they stand with their goals accomplished as the world celebrates.
As the XXXI Olympiad nears its end, the energy does not have to fade. With dedication, a reality check, the necessary sacrifices and a focus-forward mentality, we all can accomplish great things in our lives and achieve Olympic-sized goals like a champion.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
History: The Olympic Games
Top Image Courtesy of Agência Brasil Fotografias – Flickr License
Inline Image Courtesy of 黃埔體育會 Whampoa Sports Club – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Gary Knight – Flickr License