Like many Americans, we have been watching the Olympics with a fervor I wish I had for my own athletic endeavors. I am finding it much easier these days to excuse myself from what used to be my daily routine.
But having spent these last two weeks watching the sheer joy and exhilaration of the athletes who performed so superbly has given me a new interest and desire to do better, not only in the gym but in everything I do. I expect this is true for most Americans and many others as well.
Who doesn’t want to get all “10s” or stretch to reach the finish line? While not many of us can balance a ball while doing a back flip or dive from a 30 foot platform with perfect grace, we can create a winning presentation or perfect our sales pitch. In other words, we can do what we do even better.
What is so impressive about Olympians, no matter how they finished or what medal they may have won, is the years leading up to that one event. The hours, days, months and years spent in the water, in a gym or on the track can not possibly have been for just one competition. The focus and determination, the incredible dedication is really what makes an Olympian.
The good news for those of us who can’t do a cartwheel much less a triple back flip with a twist is that these principles can apply to regular people as well. Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers describes these same characteristics in, as he terms it, the skilled, the talented and the driven. While some have advantages leading up to their success, he estimates that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice or dedication to be successful.
I can’t imagine 10,000 hours on the elliptical, but I am making a pledge to spend more time on those things in which I want to excel. If only Rio wasn’t four years away! – Karen