For two weeks every four years, a group of dedicated individuals come together to fulfil their dreams and show us what is possible when we devote ourselves to one goal. The Olympic Games are inspirational; millions of hours of concentrated, focused effort reaching their peak in the most joyous and global celebration of humanity I have ever witnessed. Everything that is good about our species is exhibited during this festival of achievement and togetherness which includes the full spectrum of athletes – from multiple gold medal winners to those whose greatest accomplishment is simply to be there.
Four years ago I wrote about the athletes and the essence of the Games (‘All Day, Every Day’). This post is about the rest of us, because it is possible for the whole of humanity to tap into the Olympic experience, be inspired, and create for itself precisely the same feelings: togetherness, achievement, and the guaranteed success of knowing that, by giving everything, we can make a difference to our respective worlds.
Reassuringly, there is no need to push ourselves physically, we just have to train ourselves mentally. At the end of a recent blog post (‘One Thousand Days’) I wrote about exercising my thoughts more deliberately on a daily basis. That’s it. That’s all we have to do. The key to transformation is the same as for any Olympian: daily practice over a number of years. Olympians pay exhaustive attention to every aspect of their lives. We need only watch our thoughts – work on our perception of our world. The list I wrote in the previous post offers enough to think about, but there is one thought in particular which has the power to change everything: I create my reality.
For every Olympic athlete it starts as a dream. Then begins the long road to personal immortality. They endure pain, injury and self-doubt along the way, but they carry on, supported by those closest to them. They overcome mental barriers and push themselves further than they ever thought possible or necessary. They have a single-minded focus on the goal, paying attention only to what they can control, remaining calm under pressure and unaffected by emotions.
Revealingly, they work in 4-year cycles, which may seem like a long time when thinking about the work involved, yet nowhere near long enough to fulfil an ambition. As I will explore in my next post (‘Give Yourself Two Years’) it is more than enough time to establish a basis upon which to achieve your dreams.
When listening to Olympians past and present, there is an unrelenting emphasis on their training. It is the foundation for everything else. It allows them, when they need to, to go back to what they know, and find strength and belief in the familiarity of routines honed over countless sessions, day after day. Knowing that they can rely on such resources helps them to relax, develop a mental resilience, and maintain self-belief. As a result, they have an ability to impose their will on themselves and their situation – they create their reality.
The athlete’s reward is an unforgettable, enriching experience played out in the company of like-minded people, and cheered on by billions around the world. If we applied the same qualities to our thought processes, practising daily for the next four years, paying closer attention to what we think, and guiding our thoughts towards the kind of world we wish to create for ourselves, imagine the beautiful reality we could establish. Furthermore, we could inspire each other and, united by our desire for personal and planetary glory, we would be the billions cheering ourselves on. With that kind of togetherness, support, and strength in numbers, how could we possibly fail?