Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Learning from the Olympics

In the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Michael Phelps only won5 gold medals. This was such a "tragedy" that the news media hounded him for his failure. See, he was trying to enter the ranks of those who have won 7 golds at a single Olympics like Carl Lewis and Mark Spitz. Alas, the poor kid got only 5 gold medals. A tragedy!

When interviewed about his failure to make 8 golds in swimming and beat Spitz' record he said ..."My goal is one Olympic gold medal. Not many people in this world can say, 'I'm an Olympic gold medalist.'" Isn't it amazing how a single shift in perspective can make something like the monumental achievement of 5 Olympic Golds seem ordinary? It was unjustified for the news media to spin his win of 5 Golds as a failure.

Phelps is making another run for it now in Beijing and I'm cheering him on. He currently has 3 golds and the games aren't even halfover so he has a fighting chance. The only tragedy will be if the media diminishes this young man's greatness - no matter what the outcome.

Well, scratch that ...it probably won't bother Michael Phelps a damn bit. I mean, it seems that he is relatively unfazed by the way the news media treats him and he just keeps his eye on what's important to keep improving himself. Little by little he gets better and better every day and, news media be damned, he's going to do his best - whatever that best may be.

The only tragedy that ever really happens is when we stop improving - when we stop believing in ourselves ...just watch the Olympic athletes and you get a sense of this. Under the greatest possible pressure, they stand there with grace and, win or lose, they keep their composure. Can you imagine the preparation it must take to make oneself that way?

In the spirit of the Olympics, let's take that little every day tragedy in our lives - the tragedy of not believing in ourselves, of giving up, of listening to the doubts of others, and soldier on...with grace of course!

excerpt taken from Mark Joyner at simpleology.com


Kevin Mark said...

They seem to have forgotten that he's broken and set a couple of new world records...

Boss Of Me! said...

That was at the last Olympics. Phelps won his 7th gold medal last Sat, making his total tally 13. He's now the undisputed winner of most gold medals, trumping Spitz, the previous record holder.