Been watching the Olympics? Do the athletes’ practice, perseverance and performance put you to shame?
Well, I’m no athlete, but I think I can do a little more than I am right now. All right, I can do a lot more in the realm of exercise and in life itself. Anyone out there with me on this? I know I’m not alone. The US Army is looking for a few good men, but I’m looking for a few couch potatoes who’d like to get off the sofa and make a difference for the good. Would that be you?
I’m not talking about a revolution, per se, but a group of like-minded people who want to accomplish something, maybe even something great. Things like this start small, most often with just one. So if someone is ready to pick my husband up off the floor from the shock, I’ll volunteer to be the first. How’s that for decisive?
We’ll still talk, but we may have to slow the chatter down a bit until our walk catches and matches our pace. All those great ideas we get along the way? We’ll write them down so they’re not lost and review them, perhaps weekly. I’m just saying. Ideas are good, but they might get in our way. We’ll start with one good idea, focus on it and run. But here’s the deal. We’ve got to figure out a way to measure our results. If we can’t measure them, how will we know if we’re successful? And what will keep us from returning to the couch? Ah, there’s nothing like a deadline to keep us on track and add a sense of accountability.
Just think. If it catches on, we could shake the world. Fellow couch potatoes, unite!
What do non-sports enthusiasts gain from watching the Olympics?
Ok, I must confess I only like to watch sports when it gets up close and personal. Maybe it’s because growing up, I did not have an athletic bone or muscle in my body. When teams were being chosen in gym, I was always last or next to last to be chosen. Somewhere, though, my kids picked up some talent – either a latent gene or one from their father. That said, when they played I was their best cheerleader. A few years ago when the Phillies were vying for the pennant and the World Series, I gave them my unwavering support, and now when the USA takes on the rest of the world, I’m right there.
My kids would look at the techniques and strategies, I look at the scoreboard or the position in the race, but that’s not what won these athletes their position in the roster. It wasn’t their innate talent or ability. That was there, but the victories came from hard work – preparation and determination.
Listening to Carmelita Jeter, the silver medal winner in the 100 meter run, talk about the grueling paces her trainer and coach required made her cry and me cringe. I’d have never made it, but Carmelita did. Her coach’s efforts produced resilience in her and earned her the silver.
Resilience is one of those characteristics that will do you well away from athletic events. Wherever life takes you, learning to persevere and focus on the task at hand produces a quality that will carry you through the current challenge and beyond. Maybe I should pay more attention before the next Olympics rolls around. There’s a lot more to learn than the score.
Why is it so hard to …, well you can fill in the blank. It could be dieting, exercising, working around the house or on a fun project. It doesn’t seem to matter that these are really good things especially when they are completed. After all, you do get a good feeling and a sense of accomplishment when they’re done, but for some reason there are times when you just can’t get started or if you’ve started, finished. What’s the deal with this?
A good quote may motivate you. The story about a successful athlete (like those in the Olympics) or a saga about someone who beat overwhelming odds can inspire, but the bottom line is we need to get up and do it. No one will come knocking on our door and offer to do it for us. We’ve got to move ourselves to action. Do we need to realize that our lack of action will bring consequences or do we just wait and hope we don’t reap negative rewards for our lack of effort?
I spoke with a frustrated teacher the other day and after listening, I’d feel that way, too. He was telling me about some students in his class who basically refuse to read – we’re talking English class where that’s the main focus! The problem is these students would prefer to play video games or hang out with their friends rather than read. They are capable, but because they made other choices when it came to the use of their time, their skills in the area of reading were diminished. When the teacher apprised the parents about the problem (Guess what. The kids were not doing well in the class – surprise, surprise.), their comment reinstated the fact that the kids did not like to read. If the kids don’t care and the parent’s don’t care, it’s a whole lot harder for the teacher – not impossible, just more difficult.
The thing is, these kids illustrate some of my own struggles and maybe some of yours. I don’t like to diet and exercise and so I have to really push myself to do it if I want to lose weight. Sometimes I’m successful and other times, I’m not much different from those kids. At least I know that I have no one to blame but myself if my clothes don’t fit. Those kids and their parents probably won’t look into the mirror to find their culprit.
You’ll not find much time left on the countdown clock for the start of the 2012 Olympics. Very soon you’ll hear the words, “Let the games begin.” Will you be watching?
Whether you’re a dedicated sports enthusiast or an occasional viewer, take advantage of the events in these next couple of weeks. Look beyond the gold, silver and bronze to see the stories of commitment, concentration, control, and courage that enabled these athletes to accomplish their goals and realize their dreams. Regardless if they win a medal, they qualified to participate in the XXX Olympiad. That is no small feat.
As you watch and listen to commentators regale you with facts and statistics, see if they inspire you. Regardless of their innate talent or abilities, each one (not just the track stars) had hurdles to overcome whether physical or emotional. None of them woke up one morning and decided to try out, and each one learned from the experience. I think we can learn from them as well.
You might enjoy reading what Penelope Trunk learned about business from playing beach volleyball or Christie Rampone gained in the area of leadership from her soccer experiences. And, you’ll become aware of many more inspiring stories once these games begin.
We will hear a lot to inspire us, and we’ll see examples of successful results. Will it be enough for us to do what it takes to follow our dreams? It could.