The 2016 Olympics is gradually drawing to a close and this year’s event has gone down in history as the edition during which many great feats were achieved. Athletes like Simone Biles and Michael Phelps broke old records and set new records for the world and self, demonstrating the saying “You’re your biggest competition”.
In watching or following this year’s Olympics, there are even more life lessons to be learned from these Olympians.
1. Hard work, discipline and perseverance pay off.
Michael Phelps trains for an average of six hours a day, everyday throughout year – including holidays. Athletes of his calibre also compete in race after race continuously, so it’s not magic he’s performing to delight our eyes at the Olympics. It’s the same stroke he’s repeated numerous times before, but he’s put in the time with no cameras in sight. Now, we’re watching the results.
2. Go after what you want.
Divine Oduduru is a prime example. The 19-year old who went viral for “I never experred it” gave us a lesson in going after what we want. He boldly called out Nigerians for the inadequate support of athletes representing the country and made a plea for sponsorship during the 2016 Nigeria Championships. Divine got sponsored by Union Bank for the Olympics and went on to wow the world in the semi-finals race where he finished 0.06 seconds behind Bolt. Although he didn’t qualify for the finals, Divine is indeed one to watch and as he goes no other place but higher.
In today’s world, it is hard to actively shut off multi-tasking. There’s always something else we’d rather be doing or that totally distracts us. We feel we can achieve more if we do two things at once or else, the itch will not go away. We work and check out social media and taking a phone call at the same time. The athletes, on the other hand, have mastered the art of concentration. When the camera zooms in on Simone Biles’ face before she takes off for an amazing floor routine, it’s easy to recognise that tunnel vision – the singular focus on the task she’s about to carry out.
It’s better to do one thing at a time give it your best than have your attention all over the place which makes you achieve little or nothing in the end.
4. Practice, practice, practice.
Sometimes talent isn’t enough. Purposeful practice is important too. The athletes have shown us that Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule, as the key to mastery of any discipline, works.
Also, the journey to success might be unpleasant and gruelling. Athletes do not like training — even during interviews of Olympians, few talk of wanting to work out — but they are better disposed than the rest of us to ignore the pain and boredom of constant practice in the interest of later glory.