Every four years we sit our selves down in our VIP seats known as our couch and we watch the stories of great triumph and terrible defeat that take place known as he Olympics. Those montages moves us to tears and cause us to cheer with for athletes who have endured hardships, overcome struggle and trained their whole life just for a chance at the gold. With fists’ clenched we sit on edge as the track races are off, sit in awe of the graceful gymnast routines and yell as the swimmers swim with all their might, reaching for the coveted prize. As I watched several interviews leading up and heard stories of past successes, it dawned on me that there was a commonality amongst these athletes, an Olympic spirit. It got me thinking that we all have dreams and goals in our lives, and though we may never compete in the world’s top prize, we too can posses the same spirit that causes these athletes to thrive!
What is your spirit like? What are the thoughts that replay in your mind daily? Are they that of a champion or are they of defeat and discouragement? The Olympics have a set of values that they instill and promote amongst those who compete. I found these to be quite inspiring and certainly if applied in one’s daily life, could make an incredible difference.
The first value reads “Respect; fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment”. Having an Olympic spirit is about being healthy in everything sphere of life; mindset, relationships, physically and even spiritually. You have to know your limits but you can never discover them unless you are applying yourself, expanding yourself. We watch in amazement as these athletes display such accomplishment, yet it doesn’t come easy. It is only with hard work, investment, focus, discipline and sacrifice that dreams are achieved.
Next there is Excellence – ‘how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life’; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives. Carl Lewis said recently in an interview with Oprah that he was always competing with perfection. Talk about a high standard, yet it was what he chose as his measure. It is easy to compete against another but this is like grasping at the wind; you will never outdo everyone in everything. Set goals that you can push yourself towards and don’t settle for sloppy seconds. Having the frame of mind that you and your family is worthy of the best; whatever that may look like. This is a great place start. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
Finally friendship – ‘how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences’. A true champion must be that of a friend. So often it would seem that in order to get ahead, climb the corporate ladder or achieve your goals that you must walk over others, use them as a stepping stone or leave them in the dust. However, the Olympics teach us a true winner is one who values friendship; celebrate the wins of others, rejoicing with those rejoice and weeping with those who weep. In addition to celebrate diversity and regardless of gender, religion or race that in the end, we are all human. Brothers and sisters sharing a planet, spurring each other on to be their best. You may never win a gold medal, never cross a finish line or ever stand on a podium. Yet each day you live, you run a race with an audience cheering you on. You might not ever be an Olympian but you can always choose to have the heart of one.