How To Take Olympic Inspiration And Use It For Motivation In Your Life
The Olympics showcase the best of the best in world sport, demonstrating the artistry and strength of the human body and the power of human will. Sitting on the couch watching the action – body full of adrenalin as you cheer on the competitors from your country, root for the underdogs and share tears with athletes during medal ceremonies – the Olympics is a prime opportunity to reboot your motivation and update your #lifegoals. But how can you actually apply the epic inspiration we get from the Olympics as motivation and lessons for your own life – even beyond elite sports?
Each Olympic performance is a display created by a lifetime of dedication and hard work. It’s important to remember that while you receive a concentrated dose of the awesomeness of Olympic sport every four years, the athletes have been slogging it out in gyms, pools and parks every day in preparation for years, some even for decades. This unseen work and unparalleled dedication is what makes them eligible to compete on the world stage.
You might not be destined for the Olympics, but applying even a fraction of this kind of dedication to your work in any arena will see your performance improve. Understanding that it takes time to achieve greatness will allow you to plot out long term goals and the short term stepping stones it will take to get you there.
Remembering the drive of the Olympians, pushing themselves to continue working in times of discomfort or adversity, can help you keep going when you feel like your dreams are still far out of reach.
It’s an example of what the human body – yes, even yours – is capable of
If it’s fitspo you’re after, the Olympics is your answer. Rippling muscles, outlandish flexibility and impressive endurance are the cornerstones of the sporting smorgasbord. Don’t be put off by the elite level you see on the TV. Rather, recognise it as a display of what human bodies of all shapes and sizes are capable of, and that yours has potential beyond sitting on the couch, too. File away memories of the teams that come together to pull off an unlikely win and individuals who smash personal-best times to inspire you when you’re at the gym or working out in the park.
It’s not just about fitness, it’s about teamwork – at work, home and on the court/field/track
The Olympics teach us that it’s not all about the individual. Take your lead from the Australian women’s rugby sevens team or the Japanese male gymnasts this year and learn to work well within the teams you’re in. Whether that’s your work team, a sports team, your family or circle of friends, keep in mind how a team works together, shares generously and picks each up other up when they’re down – the team is always stronger than each individual.
Even if you think you work better alone, you don’t – it’s about connection
When focusing on your own performance, remember that no Olympian is an island. Even in individual sports, there’s always a coach standing on the sidelines, a parent in the crowd and a friend cheering along at home. Connect with people who are wiser and more experienced than you, listen to advice from those who have come before and identify the role models who can show you a pathway to your goals. Take and appreciate the support offered by those who care about you and your dream, and don’t forget to thank them from the proverbial podium when you get there!
Got competition? Get focussed
We all have perceived competitors in life. They might be the other candidate at a job interview, a close friend who shares similar career or life goals, or the owner of an Instagram account that engenders envy. Rather than expending energy spying on these opponents on social media, make an effort to focus on the successes in your own journey, and use competition to drive you forwards.
Minus the occasional disagreement or social media jab, the Olympics is a great display of sportsmanship and respect. Imagine how much better you’d feel giving a competitor a handshake acknowledging a game well played and then returning to your work, rather than dwelling on jealously or perceived injustice.
Even when it’s over, it’s not really over
If you want them to be, the Olympics is an opportunity for much more than sideline spectating. Take the inspiration you feel and camaraderie experienced when watching along with the rest of the world, and use them to fuel your drive towards your own goals. And, if nothing else, appreciate the fact that if you fall or fail or horrendously break your leg in the process, you’ve probably not done it in front of millions of people, and there’s always the chance to get back up and have another go.
Lauren Sherritt is a playwright and freelance writer based in Brisbane. Lauren’s work has been featured online at Junkee, The Financial Diet, Birdee, LifeMusicMedia, lip magazine and Australian Stage.
Lead image: Twitter @AUSOlympicTeam, Dane Bird-Smith winning Australia’s 500th Olympic medal.