“Part of being a champ is acting like a champ. You have to learn how to win and not run away when you lose.” –Nancy Kerrigan, former Olympic ice skating champion
Nancy Kerrigan, retired American figure skater, once placed 3rd and bronze in the U.S and World Figure Skating Championships in 1991 as well as won the bronze medal in the 1992 winter Olympics. These were major victories in her career, and later the next year, she became United States Figure Skating Champion.
However, in the World Championships that year, she placed fifth in the Prague program and did even worse at her televised next performance when she fell three times, messed up a landing, and seemed dazed and depressed throughout.
Still, Kerrigan didn’t give up. She simply focused and worked harder. And in the following Olympic season in 1994, even after being clubbed in the right knee with a police baton, she recovered and placed second, earning herself the silver medal for figure skating.
Now, how many of us would take such a defeat and still continue on?
I’m not sure how many of us really would.
But Kerrrigan’s story only shows us that we have to. If we want to get what we want, and be able to do what seems impossible, we must start acting like champions and promise ourselves to never again run away when lose.
“You’ve got to look for tough competition. You’ve got to want to beat the best.” – Grete Waitz
A challenge is the surest way of improving. That is to say, if you want to be the best at what you do, you’ve always got to try to beat someone better than you at it.
Because if you don’t surround yourself with the best, and you don’t try to be better than them, how could you ever expect to be the best?
Right, so that’s why, to be the best, you’ve always got to strive to be better, to look for tough competition, to want to beat the best.
And if you can do that, with every victory of yours, you’ll be that much closer to being the best.
“Passion is a huge prerequisite to winning. It makes you willing to jump through hoops, go through all the ups and downs and everything in between to reach your goal.” –Kerri Walsh, beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist
A wise man once said that when you want to succeed more than you want to breathe, you’ll be successful.
And he was right. Passion for what you do, passion for your dreams can get you over any hurdle placed in your path.
Because when your dreams mean more to you than the breath that keeps you alive, there is nothing in the world that can stop you from accomplishing them.
“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” –Mark Spitz, former Olympic swimming champion
Mark Spitz, a nine-time Olympic champion and former world-record holder in seven events for swimming, won seven gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and set world-records in all seven of his events that year.
He set around 33 world records for swimming between 1968 and 1972 won seven gold medals in the just one 1972 Olympics!
The only person who ever beat his record for number of gold medal in one Olympics is Michael Phelps who won eight.
And Spitz worked hard for that, having started swimming competitively incredibly early and sticking with it all his life. I’d say, if we want to ever match his level of success in what we do, we should take the man’s advice and always prepare and practice and work hard for what we want.
After all, it is true, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
“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.” – Jesse Owens
It is good to have dreams, to have something to always want to work towards, but if that’s all you have, you’ll never get anywhere.
You see, dreams on their own are mere wastes.
But paired with things like determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort, these dreams are worth the world, because with such things, you’ll be able to make even the wildest of your dreams come true.
“Everything that I’ve ever been able to accomplish in skating and in life has come out of adversity and perseverance.” –Scott Hamilton, former Olympic figure skating champion
To become an Olympian one must possess a sort of impenetrable grit to be able to always carry on despite the failure, despite the pressure, despite anything that could ever stand in one’s way.
And that is exactly the kind of grit Scott Hamilton had when he won four gold medals between 1981 and 1984 in the Winter Olympics.
A smaller guy, due to a childhood disease that was misdiagnosed many times and corrected itself, Scott Hamilton continued on through it all. Just imagine, to get to where he was, he would have had to be practicing and practicing and continuing on even on his worst days when all he wanted to do was give up.
And that is why his quote is so powerful, because even after the Olympics he managed to be so successful with skating and he managed to get so far in life despite the adversity. He had an insane level of perseverance and determination.
And if we could even get to half his level, there would no problem big enough or hard enough to stop us.
“If you think you’re done, you always have at least 40 percent more.” –Lauren Crandall, captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic field hockey team
Lauren Crandall, two-time Olympian and captain of the U.S women’s field hockey team, has placed high in multiple World Championships let alone the fact that she went to the Olympics twice in 2008 and 2012 and is due to go this year in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
She said once, “If you think you’re done, you always have at least 40 percent more.”
And she’s right.
If Lauren Crandall just stopped trying to improve after her first success, she would never have gotten anywhere near where she got.
And that’s the same for the rest of us too.
There is no end point for our passions, no point at which it’s okay to stop improving. If you really want something, like really want it from the bottom of your heart, you’ve got to never let yourself believe you’re done and always keep getting better, and through all of that you will end up exactly where you want to be.
“One word: ‘Fight.’ Anyone can do it when it feels good. When you’re hurting, that’s when it makes a difference, so you have to keep fighting.” –Erin Cafaro,2008 rowing Olympic gold medalist in women’s eight
In victory, everyone can continue. Your true colors show through defeat.
So, in the times you’re defeated, you must have the courage to fight and never stop. Because if you can fight and survive through the worst of your failures, there is no doubt at all that you can fight your way to the top.
“The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours.” – Peggy Fleming, gold medalist in figure skating in 1968
There’s no better way to stay motivated than the pure love and passion for what you do. And so, if you’ve got that, you’re set. You’ll know exactly what you want, and you’ll want it bad, so all the failures you go through, in the grand scheme of it all, won’t be so bad. With that motivation and effort of yours, you’ll come out on top, and you will see your victory someday.
But, if you don’t absolutely love what you do. If you’re doing it to please someone else, you’ll never be great at it.
So, you’ve got to love what you do. It has to be yours.
And if it is, nothing can hold you back.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph, gold medalist in athletics in 1960 and bronze medalist in 1956
Nothing is truly impossible. What holds us back is our own refusal to believe in the notion that we can accomplish each and every one of our wildest dreams.
We always underestimate ourselves, saying that when things don’t go exactly our way, we just can’t do it. And that’s not true.
Within every one of us, is the potential for greatness. We’ve just got to believe. And if we can do that, we can make all of our dreams come true.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali, gold medalist in boxing in 1960
Failure is something that many people in the world fear. For no reason other than the crushing feeling that comes with it, like it’s the end of the world.
But it’s not.
Yes, failure feels terrible when you work so hard for something. But that shouldn’t be enough for you to give up. You’ve got to learn from your failures and you’ve got to stop being afraid of taking risks.
Because if you never take risks, yes, you won’t ever fail, but you’ll also never succeed.
And so, it’s true, if you want to taste the sweetness of victory someday, you’ve got to be brave enough to take risks, because he who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan, gold medalist in basketball in 1992 and 1984
Without failing, we can never learn. We can never improve and get better. So truly, failure is a good thing, it motivates you to do all you can to win next time and as a result, you do.
So, when you fail, be upset, but learn from it. Because if you continue to keep getting better at what you do, one day, all those failures will pay off, and you will finally succeed.
“Never put an age limit on your dreams.” – Dara Torres, gold medalist in swimming in 2000, 1992 and 1984, silver medalist in 2008 and 1988 and bronze medalist in 2000 and 1988
At age 41, Dara Torres was the oldest person ever to earn a place on the U.S Olympic team. And I think we can all learn something from her.
A lot of people give up on their dreams because they think they’re too old or their dreams are too childish, but you’re never too old to realize your dreams. Just look at Dara Torres, she was 41 years old, pretty old for an athlete, and she still made it to the 2008 Olympics and won three silver medals in three events that season.
So, if she can do that at her age, whatever your dream is, you can do it too. Even if you think you’re too old, never put an age limit on your dreams.
“Focus, discipline, hard work, goal setting and, of course, the thrill of finally achieving your goals. These are all lessons in life.” – Kristi Yamaguchi, gold medalist in figure skating in 1992
There are a lot of factors that go into being successful, focus, discipline, hard work, and goal setting. These are some of the most important lessons of life.
So don’t neglect them, do your best to learn them well.
And when you do, that thrill of finally achieving your goals, will be the greatest lesson you’ve ever had the pleasure of learning.
“We have the can-do factor and us doing what we do, I think, inspires people to just try that little bit harder, whether they are able-bodied or disabled.” – Lee Pearson
Lee Pearson was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a condition that causes joint contractures, meaning that some of the joints don’t move as much as normal and could possibly be stuck in one position with the muscle and tissue around it weak or missing.
People with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita are usually able to live long, fulfilling adult lives despite their condition. And that is exactly what Lee Pearson did, much more actually.
Lee Pearson is a three-time gold medalist at the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Summer Paralympics with his total number of medals for equestrianism at the European, World, and Paralympic level amounting to 34 medals in total.
Now, if despite his condition, Pearson can accomplish so much, then despite our shortcomings or disadvantages, we too can accomplish anything we truly set our minds to.
“If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.” – Carl Lewis
Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? The kind of prophecy that a lot of us have unknowingly made true simply because we believed in it?
Right. So, what does that have to do with anything?
Well, if we never believe that we can accomplish your dreams, we never will, because of our self-fulfilling prophecies we constantly force upon ourselves.
You see, when you lack the confidence in yourself that you can do something, you tend to get inside your own head and hinder yourself in your performance by constantly telling yourself that you can’t do it. And because you believe so much in that notion, you inadvertently cause it to become true.
So, if you ever want to win, you’ve got to have the confidence and belief in yourself that you are capable of winning. You’ve got to say over and over again to yourself, “I can do it!”
And one day, with all your hard work, that will be true, and you’ll have made even the wildest of your dreams come true.
“I think the way to become the best is to just have fun.” –Shaun White, gold medalist in snowboarding
If you’re not having fun with what you do, then no matter what, you’ll never be the best at it, because you’ll never have the right motivation to keep working hard at it.
That’s why you’ve got to find your passion, the one thing that you absolutely love to do with all of your heart. And when you find it, you’ve got to remember that the most important thing is to have fun with it while you’re working hard.
And if you can do that, always be happy with what you do, nothing else will matter.
“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.” – Serena Williams
Those people who are amazing at what they do, the athletes, the musicians, the entrepreneurs, and everyone else who is talented at something, did not get that talent with pure luck. They were not born with it, nobody just gave it to them.
Those people worked insanely hard to get to where they got with their passion, and that alone is why they are so amazingly talented at it.
That’s why, whatever your passion is, luck has nothing to do with it, you have to work hard and put in a ton of effort. And if you can do that, there is nothing stopping you from becoming just as talented as your idol, even just as talented as say, Serena Williams.
“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” ― Michael Phelps
Those dreamers who dream of seizing the universe, those ones that do everything in their power to make such dreams of theirs come true, those are the ones that get everything they could ever want and much more.
So, be one of them. Dream as high as you possibly can and never stop working towards that, because one day, with all your hard work, will come the utter ecstasy of having made all of your wildest, most impossible dreams come true.
“My competition isn’t resting!” –Kim Rhode, five-time Olympic shooter
Kim Rhode is a five-time Olympic medalist for shooting.
One medal is beyond impressive. Five is insane. And she did it.
Kim Rhode won a medal in five back-to-back Olympics and became the only woman to win three individual Olympic gold medals in shooting as of 2012.
But she didn’t do it out of luck.
She did it out of pure hard work and determination and nothing else.
She said to herself, when she felt like lazing around and not practicing, “My competition isn’t resting!” and look where that got her.
So next time you know you should practice but really don’t want to–because let’s face it, we all feel like that sometimes– think of Kim Rhode and never forget that if you want to be successful at what you do, you’ve got to keep practicing and doing it, because if your competition isn’t resting, you can never hope to beat them unless you don’t either.
“If you think you can’t, you won’t, and if you think you can, you will.’ When I’m tired at practice, I tell myself that I’m not tired, and I can push through. If you tell yourself you’re tired or if you tell yourself you’re sick, your body is going to follow the mind.” –Kellie Wells, USA indoor and outdoor hurdles champion
If you constantly tell yourself you’re going to fail, you will, because, by saying such things over and over, you begin to regard them as unchangeable fact, effectively hindering yourself in your performance.
So, if you want to be able to continue on, to get where you want to be, you’ve got to tell yourself that you will succeed, because even if you don’t believe it now, by repeating it so much, in time, you will.
And when you finally do that, you’ll know that there is nothing in the world you can’t accomplish.
“Failure I can live with. Not trying is what I can’t handle!” –Sanya Richards-Ross, USA bronze medalist at 400 meters
Failure is not the end of the world.
Even if you fail right now, if you keep working hard and improving, one day you will succeed.
And so, failure can be lived with.
But not trying is what can’t.
Because if you never try, you relinquish every last ounce of possibility there was for you to succeed, effectively defeating yourself before you even start.
So try, and fail, but try. And know that failure is not the end, it is merely the first step on your journey to victory.
“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be
done, all it takes is an imagination.” –Michael Phelps, USA gold medalist in swimming
The idea of being an Olympian, of transcending hardship and becoming one of the greatest athletes in the world, it seems impossible to most people.
But it’s not.
Yes, to become an Olympian you need a certain kind of hard-headed grit that only comes through a lot of adversity and perseverance, but it’s not impossible. Just look at Michael Phelps. He’s not only an Olympian, but he won eight gold medals for swimming in one Olympics, the most amount any swimmer has earned in one season.
That’s insane. That’s impossible. But he did it.
And if it’s possible for someone to accomplish something like that, then whatever it is you want to do, you can do, it’s not impossible. Really all it takes is a lot of hard work and an imagination.
“There’s always a point where you get knocked down. But I draw on what I’ve learned on the track: If you work hard, things will work out.” –Lolo Jones, Olympic hurdler
Failures and setbacks are inevitable, they are simply inescapable facts of life. And you shouldn’t be afraid of them, because ultimately they are only events that you must go through in order to learn the most important lessons of life.
And if you just work hard to learn from and use these failures to your advantage, things will just have to get better for you.
“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.” –Florence Griffith Joyner, Olympic track and field champion
Florence Griffith Joyner is known as the fastest woman of all time for the world records she set in the 1988 Summer Olympics. She ran 100 meters in 10.49 seconds, and though it’s debated whether or not that record was wind-assisted, her fastest wind-legal time was still just 10.61 seconds, a world record than nobody since has beaten.
That is why it’s remarkable the attitude Joyner had towards those who didn’t believe in her. The fact that she believed in herself to do anything is so amazing, and goes to show just how useful such an attitude is in gaining success.
I mean come on! 10.61 seconds! That’s insanely fast! And she did it!
She did it because she never failed to believe in herself.
And if Joyner can believe in herself and become the fastest woman in the world, you can do just the same and do anything you want as long as you never forget to believe in your ability to do anything.
“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.” –Andre Agassi, USA gold medalist in tennis
When you are on the top of the world, and then you fail hard, it can be soul-crushing, as I imagine it was for Andre Agassi after he got a wrist injury and could only play 24 matches that year, leading to drug abuse that he eventually got past.
But he picked himself up again the next year, rocketing up in rankings and tennis success.
And if Agassi, can go from such a low in his career and manage to turn it around, and eventually become No.1 ranked tennis player in the world, whatever low you’re at right now, whatever failure or setback, you can get out of it.
There is no substitute for just plain hard work, and with it, absolutely nothing can stop you from being the best.
“I didn’t set out to beat the world; I just set out to do my absolute best.” –Al Oerter, gold medalist in the disc throw
All that matters at the end of the day is that you can say to yourself that you have done your absolute best. Because even if you’re not the best just yet, you’ve got to know that you gave it your best shot.
And if you can do that each and every day of your life, chances are, in the process, one of the best is what you’ll become.
“Falling in life is inevitable—staying down is optional.”-Carrie Johnson, two-time Olympic kayaker
Carrie Johnson, gold medalist in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico and the first U.S canoe/kayak athlete to be named to the 2012 Olympic team, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2003 while rehabilitating an elbow injury.
The illness left her unable to train for the 2003 season. But instead of just wallowing in self-pity, Johnson decided to continue on kayaking and placed high in the World Championships and World Cup for kayaking multiple times among other competitions of the sort.
And even though she’s retired from kayaking as of now, she’s still continuing on with her life as a veterinarian after completing the program at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medecine.
This sort of grit through tough times is quite inspiring and we could all learn something from Johnson. Seeing as, even with an illness that brought her down, she didn’t let herself stay that way, and she went on to become even more successful in her career.
And if we all could do that, there would be nothing in the world impossible to us anymore.
“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does– that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams, gold medalist in tennis in 2008 and 2000
In everyone’s life, there are those people who will tell you that you can’t do it.
But what you’ve got to do is believe in yourself and your ability to do anything, because if you can do that, you’ve already won half the battle, and if you believe in yourself, there is nothing in the universe that can stop you from achieving your dreams.
“I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it.” – Olympic swimming champion, Michael Phelps
It’s true, nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it. Just look at any of the Olympians. To be among the greatest athletes of the world, that must have seemed impossible to them, hell it seems to most of us even now! But they did it, with tremendous effort and hard work. They did it.
And so, with a lot of hard work and effort, anything, no matter how impossible it seems, you can do it.
So, what’s your passion? The one you came here for. I’d really love to know down in the comment section below.