As the Olympics came to a close I reflected on the captivation it holds for so many of us in every corner of the world. Every couple of years we tune in to witness extraordinary feats of the human body. We marvel at the Michael Phelps. We delight in the tiny gymnasts flying through the air higher than anyone in the NBA. Our mouths drop watching Usain Bolt “jog” to the finish line as the world’s fastest.
But often the ones we cheer for the loudest are the underdogs. The ones who’ve had to overcome the most insurmountable odds simply to even walk in the opening ceremonies. Like the members of the refugee team. The ones who fall. Like Abbey D’Agostino of the United States and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand. And the ones who win gold when really they shouldn’t. Like Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa.
We cheer because as cheesy cliche as it sounds, they are all winners regardless of the medal outcome. For getting back up. For sacrificing their own gains for the betterment of their competition. For challenging those who told them they couldn’t do it. And we cheer louder because we see ourselves in them. Our dreams. Our mistakes. Our desire to succeed doing what we love.
Often we forget that we all as human beings have the potential to embody the Olympic spirit at all times even if we may never compete under the rings. So as a reminder here are three ways to live as an Olympian in every moment:
GET BACK UP: We all fall. We all make mistakes. We all have fears. We all have doubts. So take some chances. Do the things that scare you the most. That you worry others will judge you for. You may fall multiple times. So you just get right back up every single time. You will never ever regret it.
TEAMWORK: Help someone else back up. Because we’ve all been there. And you’d want someone to help you back up. We can’t do everything on our own. We need a community even if our pursuit is more individual. The Olympics seems to be the one gathering where almost every country in the world can put aside their differences for an extended amount of time to cheer one another on. You can do this in your own community, however, large or small it may be.
EXCELLENCE: Find at least one thing you’re mad passionate about and dedicate yourself wholly to it. It could be running backwards. It could be whistling. It could be bundt cake baking. It doesn’t matter what it is since it’s simply the act of mastering something-anything-that builds confidence and pride. And makes you interesting. You may not win a medal or an Oscar or a place on your company’s awards wall but you still will feel that you won. Excellence is always found in the effort.