What makes an athlete, an Olympian? Surely there are many things that contribute to their success: positive habits, willpower, superior practice...the list goes on. All of these things add up to them being world class in their sport. To put it simply, they are master preparers. They spend years preparing for only moments in time. The more prepared they are, the higher the chances those moments turn into a lifetime of fame.
I love watching the Olympics. It’s something I look forward to every time it comes around.
Getting to watch high caliber athletes put years of training to the test gets me fired up. Even more, than the event itself, I love watching the interviews of the athletes. Their stories of hardship, struggle, and pain just to get to this point are incredible. And for those who don’t make it to the podium, it’s another long 4 years before their next shot.
We can learn a lot about our own success from these Olympians.
They are incredibly dedicated, put in years of work, and achieve some of the most incredible feats known to man.
As we look at our own success whether it’s in business, our health, relationships, or even financial success - if we prepared like Olympians do, our results would be multiplied.
Think Like An Olympian
For most of these athletes, it takes their entire lifetime to prepare for an Olympic event. That's years of training, dedication, and sacrifice just to get a shot at Gold.
But we don't see that. We only see them in the moments where they put it all on the line. We don't see the daily grind, the daily struggle, and the commitment it takes to play at this high level.
As technology has changed, so have our expectations of how quickly our success should come. The fact is, we want things to happen now, not 4 (or even 10) years from now.
We want things in an instant, but it takes time to develop skills. It takes time to develop career capital. It takes time to build a business.
When an Olympian is interviewed after they lost the race or match, what do most of them say? "It's time to prepare for the next one in 4 years."
Their mindset is on the long road to success, not the short term gains.
Leadership is, among other things, the ability to inflict pain and get away with it - short-term pain for long-term gain." - George Will
If you want to win for decades and not just years, you have to start to think like an Olympian and start playing the long game.
Commit Like An Olympian
In a world where we are constantly being sold on the “overnight success” stories, Olympians prove that there is no shortcut to success. It takes hard work and a commitment to achieve greatness. It takes years of preparation, sometimes a lifetime.
These long-term gains are made up of daily, consistent action towards a goal. Whether that's swimming the extra lap, or making the extra sales call - the sum of your daily actions are what creates your results in life.
Just look an example of a day in the life of an Olympic athlete.
The are truly dedicated to their craft and yet, in our lives, we underestimate the importance that small daily actions can have in our lives.
The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” ― Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge
What you do today will affect you for years to come - for better or worse.
You can choose to take action and move your life in a positive direction or you can choose to move in a negative direction. There is no staying the same, change is inevitable.
So, I propose that rather than waiting for a wake-up call, you prepare like an Olympian. Begin to change your daily habits and stay consistent towards your long-term goal. Your progress will be slow, it will be painful, but it will also be worth it.
Prepare like an Olympian
There is no telling what life has in store for us around the corner. There are challenges ahead that we don't know are coming. We will get blindsided, we will get pummeled.
The more prepared we are to face these challenges, the more we will be able to conquer them. You see, a good life isn't about not having problems, it's about having the right kinds of problems. They only become the right kind, if you have the right abilities and the right mindset to conquer them.
As you watch the Olympics this week, take a page out of their book. Whether it's in our pursuit of a better career, a loving relationship, or a social life - the quality of our lives depends on our commitment to prepare.
Learn from these Olympic athletes, commit to a life of preparation. One day you'll be on the podium of your own success.
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