Life Lessons From The 2016 Rio Olympics

Life Lessons from The 2016 Rio Olympics

I’m Olympic obsessed. Like. Fo real. I was in Atlanta during the 1996 games, and every since then, I’ve caught the bug. As I type this, I am wearing official Olympic gear (Salt Lake City 2002, courtesy of a thrift shop in Atlanta). While I do enjoy the Winter Games very much, I can’t hide my enamorment (this is a real word, trust me) with the Summer Olympic Games…probably because my birthday is in the Summer, and all things wonderful are in the Summer (e.g. Summer vacation). This is fact.

As I sit in my living room watching diving (what else is there to watch when the gymnastics are over and done with?), I am reminded of how I’ve really missed my opportunity to be a world class gymnast.  Or a world class swimmer. I mean, heck, they make beach volleyball look so effortless that maybe I’ve missed my calling to be a world class beach volleyball player. They don’t even need special shoes, because they don’t wear any!

And then I am jolted back to the blinding reality that I am terribly uncoordinated and very overweight and well, at nearly 5’8″ I am too tall for gymnastics and too short for volleyball.

We all have our proverbial race to run. Mine isn’t to run it as a US Olympian. But I’ve learned a lot from watching these athletes do their thing:

First, it’s great to be the best in the world at something, but sometimes, it’s just worth being better than you were the day before. Many Olympians see the competition and get psyched out. Sometimes they see how well others do and worry that what they have isn’t good enough. Sometimes they see others and get comfortable. What if we all focused on our own race. Not someone else’s? What if we woke up each morning aiming to do a little better, be a little more productive, spend a little more wisely.

Life Lessons From The 2016 Rio Olympics

I’ll be honest, I spend quite a bit of time being jealous or covetous. I see these cute things people are wearing, and wish I could just commit to buying something that beautiful. I see this beautiful makeup on women and wish I was that committed to makeup application. But I am not the people I am jealous of. I am me, and I know I have very specific goals. This does not make me less that I don’t have the cute accessories or flawless face. It makes me me. I choose what to spend my time and money on, and my choices define me. I may not be the cutest or best girl in the world, but I am the best me there is. And I can’t be the best version of myself while looking to the left and right and seeing if I’m keeping up with the Joneses. This is not just true in the financial realm, obviously. You have a race to run. You won’t run it well comparing your race to anyone else’s.

And second, to win big, you must sacrifice big. I’m always amazed and sometimes brought to tears to think of how much my favorite athletes have given up to be where they are. I love me some vacation time, but for girl training to be elite gymnasts, even at an early age, their parents have to schedule their vacation around a special gym so their daughter won’t miss her practice time. I think of all that a family of any Olympian has to sacrifice. Time, money, sleep (guuuuuurl don’t mess with my sleep!). Parents giving up everything so that their children can have a chance to win gold.

These athletes do amazing things because they have put in the time and hard work. They have sacrificed sleep and parties and hanging out with friends. They’ve sacrificed TV and concerts and traditional schooling. They’ve gained much, but had to give much in return.

I’ve written about this before, but I can’t stress it enough. There are things you will want in life. Goals I am more than sure that you have right now. At some point, you will have to choose to sacrifice. And then you will have to choose again and again. To be successful, you must go after your goals with a single-mindedness of an Olympian.  I can’t reach my body and health goals AND have my literal cake and eat it too.

And me not eating cake when it’s offered, well that’s just about as big a sacrifice as I can think of! lol.

Stay focused on your race my friends! Hope you’ve been enjoying the Olympics as much as I have!


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