November 18, 2007.
"We make progress only when we push ourselves to the highest level."
Every two years the world turns its attention to the summer or winter Olympic Games held in various international venues around the globe. There, with the eyes of the entire planet upon them, thousands of world class athletes test their skills and competitive spirit against the very best in their chosen events. Grace, speed, power and precision are on full display, each elite athlete striving to take home the gold.
What few see are the years and years of back breaking hard work, steely discipline and sacrifice that went into each athlete's training regimen just to make their respective countries' Olympic teams. While only one person can win the gold medal in any given event, every participating athlete is already a champion in his or her own right.
"Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It's our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit."
Mary Lou Retton
While the vast majority of us will never come close to being an Olympic athlete, that doesn't mean we cannot experience the same rush, the same exhilaration the Olympians feel whenever they go for the gold. We too can capture that Olympic caliber excitement in our own lives if we're willing to put our best to the test every day.
Inside each of us burns that same competitive drive to win that the Olympians possess, a fiery spirit that yearns to get to the outside and compete. By compete I'm not necessarily talking about competing with others, but rather striving to become the best we were born to be. We have an intrinsic need to succeed preprogrammed inside of us, a burning desire to excel in everything we do.
"You are what you think. You are what you go for. You are what you do!"
The Olympic athlete persistently pushes to be the best he or she can be; relentlessly moving towards the realization of his or her dreams. And while very few Olympians actually bring home the gold, each and every one is a champion in their own right. Win or lose, they worked overtime to bring out their very best; passionately pursuing their dreams with every ounce of energy, focus and effort they could muster. Who could ask for more?
We can certainly learn a lot from these world class athletes. Their dedication, perseverance and commitment to excellence are not just traits to admire, but highly desirable qualities we should incorporate into our own daily routines. While we may not possess their athletic prowess, within our hearts beats the same burning desire to succeed as the most decorated Olympic athletes in history. That's right! We share a common trait with the cream of the Olympic crop: an extraordinary will to win.
"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."
Just as the Olympian chases his or her dreams, we need to chase ours as well. And not just casually chase them mind you, but passionately pursue them with everything we've got, making the most of our God-given gifts.
Turning dreams into reality requires focus, resolve and gritty determination; the ability to be stronger, tougher and more resilient than any problem or obstacle encountered. A champion-like trait that we all possess, yet one we far too often allow to languish in mediocrity and what might have been.
Instead of settling for second place finishes and a second rate lifestyle, isn't it about time you started going for the gold every day of your life? And started going for it with everything you've got; boldly, forcefully, with nothing held back, nothing left behind? You bet it is! The moment you finally turn yourself loose and unleash that champion within, you'll start turning your dreams into reality - and start living the life you deserve.
The Bottom Line: Inside each of us beats the heart of a champion.
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