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  August 3, 2012
The Olympic Spirit...

 

 

Due to the 8-hour time difference between London and California, I already know the results of the of day’s Olympic Games.  Add to that fact, that as rule, I don’t generally watch a great deal of television.

Then why is it that I am compelled each evening to endure seemingly endless commercials in order to watch a taped-delayed Olympic sporting event that I already know the results?

Perhaps it’s not really about the competition at all.  Perhaps it’s really about the human drama... stories of dreams, perseverance, patience, overcoming adversity, triumphs and disappointment...

Let’s face it, the Olympics could be considered television’s ultimate reality show...

There will be medal winners in each competition... the odds-on favorites who make winning look easy... the hard-fought battles of strategy, might, agility, speed, and will, and of course the upsets where the underdogs come from nowhere to take their places in history.

We have a tendency to focus our attentions on the medal winners... but there will also be the many more athletes that won’t bring home a medal than do. 

There are multitudes who came to the London Games to just represent... their countries... their sports... their spirit.

The athletes of the Olympics have dedicated their lives to preparing themselves for competition.  They worked endless hours training in their sport.  They poured their heart and soul and energy into something that they believe in... but on that particular day... at that moment in time... they fell short of gold, silver or bronze.

They may not have been medalists at these Olympic Games, but you can never call them losers... they are indeed winners.

If a person has a goal... and they do everything in their power to achieve their goal but ended up, in the end, with a poor result... this person is not a loser... rather this person is a winner...

They are a winner because they came and gave it their best shot. 

The real loser is the person who never tried... failure isn’t coming up short but never doing something in the first place. 

It’s not trying to do the best of your abilities and talents.  It’s not having the willingness to take on new challenges, climbing new mountains, stretching yourself to the limits and focusing on becoming a little better each day than you were the day before...

There are several people today who want to do away with competition altogether (especially among children) because losing is a bad thing.  Losing is only a bad thing. 

The reason why failure is considered by many to be a negative thing is because they look at losing as the end result rather than a small part of the overall process.

When we first learned to walk... we tried... we fell down... we got up... and we tried again... getting better and better along the way until we mastered the skill...

Success and failure go hand-in-hand... the Yin and the Yang.    

There are many different studies that show that many of the world’s greatest achievers aren’t necessarily those who failed the least but rather those individuals that tried the most.  Winners are those individuals who are not afraid of failure because they know that failure is just a stepping stone to success. 

Winners focus their energies on the end goal... sometimes taking two steps forward and one step back... knowing that in the end they are still one step ahead as they work their way toward their goal...

I spend a lot of time with people who are much older than me.  I enjoy learning from their wisdom of age and they enjoy the company.

One question that I will often ask a person of advanced age is, "if you could go back and do one thing over again in your life... what would it be?"

At first, I invariably receive one of two answers:

The most popular answer from them is always, "I wished I would have spent less time working and more time with my kids/family". 

The second most popular answer is, "I wish I would have taken better care of my health".

After hearing one of those two answers (or typically both)... then I try to probe a little deeper.

"Okay, beyond those two things, what else would you "might have done", "not done", or "changed" about your life?"

After a bit of reflection, stories begin to flow.  They tell me about getting marrying too early... bad investments that they’ve made... about someone who broke their trust... starting bad habits such as smoking or drinking... dropping out of school to start working... and/or staying in a bad relationship...

They tell me about hardships that they’ve overcome...

They typically follow up their narratives by saying that even though they made mistakes they would not have changed a thing about their lives.  They speak proudly about how adversity made them a stronger person in the end.  The only things that they regretted were those things that they never tried...

Sure life sometimes knocked them down... but they got up, brushed themselves off, and kept on going... and they’re still here ready to live another day...

There are lessons to be learned from people with many years of life experience... those who perhaps have made some bad decisions, had some bad outcomes, and/or have failed to achieve all of the goals that they set out to complete...

We need to remember that winning isn’t an event but rather it’s a process...

... and those who failed to try are the only ones who have regrets in the end...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope to use our failures to make us a better company in the end.


Jim Kalb
President
jimk@optifuse.com
www.optifuse.com

www.optifuse.blogspot.com (blog archive)


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