Article of the Week: Olympic Edition

Have you had the chance to watch any of the Olympic events in Tokyo? I hope you have because there have been some amazing performances, personal bests and
some disappointment and heartache too. I’m always looking for lessons and metaphors from life around us.

1. You are only competing against yourself. I watched several track events on the weekend including the women’s and men’s 100m heats and finals. Of course I was cheering for Canadian Andre De Grasse in the men’s 100m race. The medal winners in that event all ran personal best times. That’s my point. All you can do is bring your best to anything you do. De Grasse will never run like someone else – he’s Andre De Grasse. You are not your neighbour, your mother, your brother or your friend. Don’t copy someone else. Do you.

2. We’re all training for something. But wait…I’m not training for the Olympics. Are you training yourself to constantly long for the weekend? Are you training yourself to see how little work you can get away with? Are you training yourself to be comfortable….really comfortable? You know what’s scary? That smart phone screen time notification that tells you how long you’ve been staring into your phone in the last 24 hours. Olympic events take incredible mental and physical preparation. Many of the athletes have been working for their entire lives for a few moments of competition. Whether we realize it or not, we invest our time into training for….something. Maybe that something you’re training for is great or maybe it’s not. Take an inventory and make some changes if needed.

3. Practice becomes permanent. I learned this one when I was 13 years old at a basketball camp at Brock University. Practice does not make perfect. Andre De Grasse has practiced his starts thousands of times I’m sure, so that when it’s race day, his body, his nerve system specifically, has been so well trained, that he doesn’t have to consciously think about how to start. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to be constantly molded and reshaped as a results of our activities and thoughts. When we repeat an activity, either healthy or unhealthy, it strengthens those nerve pathways. Gratitude, patience, grace and empathy are all traits that can all be practiced regularly to help others and enhance their lives.

Life is not a contest, but there are always opportunities to be challenged and grow. What’s the one thing that you will do differently this week?

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