I always learn something new when I watch the Olympics.
Whether it’s the 100-, 200-, or 400-meter dash, the games are a thrill to watch. I also enjoy hurdles, shot put, and basketball. In fact, I like them all because I learn from every athlete that steps into “their zone.”
This “zone” happens after the athlete knows that they will win. In each respective sport, especially competitive ones, you can tell who will win from the very beginning. Usain Bolt is an excellent example of this.
Here are the 5 lessons I learned from the Olympics:
1. Preparation: As an athlete myself, I know when I need to get into the gym to exercise. However, I’m only an amateur when it comes to running, stretching, lifting, and other physical and mental exertions. These Olympic athletes put in extensive training, working out 9-12 hours per day for sometimes 7 days per week.
Unlike me, they cannot afford to be “out of shape” for more than a day. Sure, they might get a rare day off, but they’re still eating copious amounts of raw vegetables and indulging dozens of supplements. They’re also watching film about how they could improve their techniques. Then they go out there and practice for countless hours in order to be prepared.
In Life: Our life is all about preparation. Yet, people rarely take time to set their lifelong goals, select their clothes for the next day, or prepare their meals. We live in a fast culture where everything is prepared for us beforehand. However, if you develop the diligence to prepare for at least an hour before the next day, you’ll be well ahead of the race.
5 Ps: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!
2. Dedication: Those who enter the race are in it to win it. Often times, this means that they will need to walk away from their loved ones for up to 4 years to train for their sport. Most of the time, they remain abstinent to help enforce their disciplines. Moreover, many of these athletes have little to no financial support as they dedicate themselves to world-class training.
The dedication for an Olympic athlete is unparalleled to any other industry. Sometimes, there is little to no pay off for their training. For instance, if they get disqualified because of a false start during a race, they receive no special treatment or remuneration, despite working relentless hours to qualify for the event. Now that’s dedication!
In Life: Are you dedicated to your work? Would you be willing to work 7 days a week without pay? Most highly successful people will work about four years, without pay, like these Olympic athletes. I personally worked a couple of years before I saw a huge spike in my income. Are you committed to your work or do you just do it for the money?
What you do when no one is watching will determine who you are when you show up!
3. Technique: When it comes to track and field, technique matters. A pole-vaulter will take tens of thousands of attempts before they get to a world-class level. Keep in mind that pole-vaulting isn’t a life skill that you necessarily need, unless you are a professional pole-vaulter.
These athletes set the bar high (pun intended) when it comes to their respective sport. From the grip of their toes to the position of their neck, they perfect the minute details of their performance. After hours of coaching, their disciplined techniques will make or break their performance, which could determine the prize.
In Life: Most drivers on the road don’t even use the right techniques. When they drive, they apply cosmetics, text on their phones, read books, or smoke cigarettes as they drift from lane-to-lane. They put little thought into their parking and barely stop at stop signs. Can you imagine how they perform in other aspects of their lives? Improve your techniques.
4. Patience: In training, many athletes are ready to perform. However, they must wait until the actual event starts. For instance, imagine a sprinter who has to train for a 100 meter dash. In training, they may have already broken the record several times, but they still need to wait until game-day, when their performance really counts.
When the actual event starts, they sprint for about 10 seconds. Can you believe that it requires life-long training to win a 10-second race? Whether they win or not, they still have to wait another four years before they run another race. Would you wait four years to have your spotlight?
In Life: Most people get anxious if their food isn’t done microwaving after one minute. Others want a promotion within their first few weeks of working a new job. There are so many people around the world who lack patience and their results in life show for it. We all need more patience.
If you do more than you’re paid to do, you’ll get paid more than you do.
5. Endurance: Most Olympic athletes will vomit dozens of times during their training. Many will faint countless times during practice. Some will give up and take up a day job, leaving their Olympic dreams behind―forever. The endurance of Olympic athletes requires unprecedented faith and courage. It requires the highest endurance.
Endurance is the ability to see through an endeavor. Despite the fatigue, failures, and frustrations, Olympic athletes will fight through blood, sweat, and tears to build their endurance. Many trials and tribulations will strike, but they will do whatever it takes to keep going. Because they have a dream, it keeps them going and makes them stronger.
In Life: Most people will struggle to count the money in their wallet or bend down to pick up a piece of paper. When it comes to going the extra mile, people complain and throw a fit. They have no endurance. Remember, if you do more than you’re paid to do, you’ll get paid much more than you do.
There’s a price you must pay to reach the top of your field. Like Olympic athletes, you need to prepare vigorously for at least four years before you have the opportunity to win big in life. Are you dedicated enough to pay the price? If you are, one step closer to winning the grand-prize!