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Great Achievers Do Not Come From A Smooth Path

Great Achievers Do Not Come From A Smooth Path

There are many people in this world that we can look up to for their determination, success and ability to overcome obstacles to achieve greatness. As a source of inspiration for those who want to reach levels beyond our apparent capabilities, high-achievers seem sub-human; the lucky few who got their chances and worked hard for it.

But these people are just like you and me. They had their faults along the journey they set out on, they faced their challenges and overcame them. Despite how it looks, they struggled, worked hard and stuck with their beliefs that they could achieve their goals and dreams.

There’s no doubt about it – Michael Phelps is extraordinary. A 28-Olympic gold medal athlete who has dominated the swimming world for over ten years continuing, to stay at the top and beating all those who compete to emulate his unwavering success. But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride to the top and there are a few lessons we can learn from this great Olympic champion.

Limits Are There To Challenge You

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Michael Phelps 2

    Limitations can be the cause of many failed attempts at success. They give us the belief that what we want can’t be achieved or is too hard to overcome. But Michael Phelps is proof that his limitations weren’t there to get in his way, but instead guided him on a path that took him to his ultimate success.

    At school, Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD, meaning he had huge problems concentrating in the classroom. Feeling frustrated and dejected, his mother encouraged him to start swimming as an alternative way to focus and his weekly swimming became a passion. He was finally able to channel his lack of focus in the classroom into swimming practice and finally found an outlet that allowed him to flourish.

    Never use your ‘limitations’ as an excuse to give up on your dream and never let self-limitation be a hindrance to what you want to achieve – nothing is impossible.

    It’s Okay To Make Mistakes. The Key Is To Learn From Them

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    Michael Phelps 7

      Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Phelps has made his fair share of them through his career, namely drink driving convictions and possession of marijuana, that led him to be banned from competitions for months at a time. While mistakes can understandably bring a lot of us down, the key is to learn from them and don’t let them get in your way of success.

      “I’ll make a million mistakes in my life, but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I’ve been able to learn and grow.”

      Despite the mistakes he’s made, Phelps has managed to take stock and re-evaluate his direction showing us that, although we are human and mistakes are inevitable sometimes, it’s how you respond to them that propels you harder back onto your path. See mistakes as a honing device that redirects your focus and values. Its alright to fall, it’s more important that you get back up.

      Motivation Is What Truly Drives You

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      Michael Phelps 6

        You can’t succeed in anything without motivation and Michael Phelps used his endless hard work in the pool and love of the sport to spur him on to get better and better. The Australian champion, Ian Thorpe was Phelps’ idol growing up and when Thorpe claimed that he didn’t think it was possible for Phelps to win eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps used these remarks as motivation. He stuck Thorpe’s words on the inside of his locker as a reminder that he was going to do everything to prove him wrong.

        “I’m really proud of him not just because he won eight golds. Rather, it’s how much he has grown up and matured into a great human being. Never in my life have I been so happy to have been proved wrong.” – Ian Thorpe on Phelps winning gold in 2008.

        Motivation sparks determination and is the number one element to achieving any goal in life. Motivation allows consistency and it’s this consistency that builds up your dream and makes it a reality.

        Be A Great Achiever, But Be An Even Greater Inspiration

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        Joseph Schooling and Michael Phelps

          For anyone who watched this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, you will have seen Singapore’s Joseph Schooling win gold against Phelps in the 100m butterfly final and it was a humbling picture of the young Schooling standing beside his hero that showed just how much Phelps has been an inspiration to young swimmers.

          “If it wasn’t for Michael, I don’t think I could have gotten to this point. I wanted to be like him as a kid. I think a lot of this is because of Michael. He is the reason why I wanted to be a better swimmer.” – Joseph Schooling

          “I’m proud of Joe. I wanted to change the sport of swimming. With the people we have in the sport now, I think you are seeing it.” [I want to teach kids] to believe in themselves, to not be afraid to know that the sky is the limit.”

          Phelps demonstrates that real success isn’t just about personal achievements, but by how much we can influence others. True achievers are the ones that inspire others to be better.

          More by this author

          Jenny Marchal

          A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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          Last Updated on July 15, 2019

          41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

          41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

          Some things in life are hard to describe, yet we can recognize them when we see them.

          Love is one of those things.

          True love comes in many different forms, but here are some that many of us know well.

          True love means supporting those who can’t support themselves

          supportive couple

            A young man comforts his date in Times Square, New York City. Image by mbtrama

            strong hug

              A young man holds his significant other close to him. Image by Brad Fults

              running help

                A young track competitor helps one of her injured opponents over the finish line. Image from ViralNova.com

                feeding kitten

                  A soldier in the Korean War takes time to feed a baby kitten. Image from US Naval Insititute

                  It’s having the perfect selfie partner

                  mom and daughter selfie

                    A mother and her daughter take a selfie together. Image by Andrew Fysh

                    girlfriends

                      Two young girls pose for the camera. Image by Rolands Lakis

                      selfies

                        A happy couple takes a picture together. Image by Kayla Heineman

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                        selfie

                          Two best friends take a selfie together. Image by Jason Wahido

                          dude selfie

                            Friends take a selfie together. Image by Glenn Scofield Williams

                            It’s all the warm fuzzies

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                              A young man spends time with his dog on a beach. Image by Magdalena Roeseler

                              DSC06952

                                A pet owner hugs his dog while on a day trip in San Francisco. Image by Taro the Shiba Inu

                                It means having a friend to photobomb you

                                photobomb

                                  A boy makes a funny face as he poses for a picture with his brother. Image by Michael Bentley

                                  old man photobomb

                                    A man photobombs his wife while their grandson snaps a picture. Image by Frank

                                    family photobomb

                                      Family members photobomb their relatives’ Thanksgiving day family photo. Image by Beth Scupham

                                      boyfriend photobomb

                                        A friend photobombs the photographer and their friend, the woman in the foreground of this photo. Image by Lachlan Hardy

                                        True love means being there even when life gets unbearably hard

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                                        shoulder to cry on

                                          A family watches the Vermont National Guard depart for Afghanistan. Image by The U.S. Army

                                          flood dog

                                            During a monsoon in the Philippines, a boy carries his dog to safety. Image by Romeo Ranoco

                                            A woman is rescued from flood waters by a resident standing on top of her car during heavy rain in Chalandri suburb north of Athens

                                              A man helps a woman out of her vehicle during a flood in Chalandri, Greece. Image by John Kolesidis

                                              lunch

                                                A woman has lunch with her husband every day, even after he’s passed away. Image from ViralNova.com

                                                hug

                                                  A woman hugs the mother of 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, who was one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Image by Spencer Platt

                                                  rubble

                                                    An Oklahoma couple pauses while trying to salvage belongings from a family member’s home after a tornado. Image by Adrees Latif

                                                    sister and brother

                                                      A girl puts her arm around her little brother as they wait outside of Sandy Hook Elementary after gunshots are fired. Image by Reuters.

                                                      headstone

                                                        A woman sits at her husband’s grave the day before their wedding anniversary. Image from NBC news

                                                        It means taking the time for long goodbyes

                                                        110321-N-BT887-100

                                                          A man says goodbye to his son before deploying. Image by Official U.S. Navy Page

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                                                          national guard goodbye

                                                            A South Carolina man says goodbye to his son before deploying for Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                            saying goodbye

                                                              A Sergeant hugs both of his sons before being deployed to Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                              And cherishing reunions

                                                              husband home

                                                                A woman hugs her husband as she sees him for the first time since his deployment to Iraq. Image by The U.S. Army

                                                                boyfriend home

                                                                  A young  woman hugs her significant other as he returns home for Kuwait. Image by The National Guard

                                                                  mother hug

                                                                    A mother drops to her knees as she hugs her son on her return home from the Persian Gulf. Image by The National Guard

                                                                    True love is letting yourself feel young when they’re around

                                                                    elderly women

                                                                      Two friends on their smartphones. Image by Robert Neff

                                                                      feeling young

                                                                        A young couple getting their picture taken. Image by db Photograph

                                                                        sprinkler dad

                                                                          A father plays in a sprinkler with his daughter at Millennium Park in Chicago. Image by Ben Forsberg

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                                                                          subway couple

                                                                            A young couple on a subway enjoys sharing time together, while the girlfriend’s father sneaks a photo of them. Image by Gareth Williams

                                                                            wheelchairs

                                                                              A couple holds hands on a fall day. Image by David Amsler

                                                                              It’s letting yourself be silly… just because they’ll enjoy it

                                                                              silly faces

                                                                                A grandfather makes faces at the camera with his granddaughters. Image by Tim Pierce

                                                                                vote for pedro

                                                                                  A woman’s father wears a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt to make his daughter laugh. Image by emdot

                                                                                  True love is allowing yourself to show how you really feel

                                                                                  date night

                                                                                    A young couple kisses in the back of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Image by Derek Key

                                                                                    playing violin

                                                                                      Violinist Nancy Dinovo plays at a memorial service for the victims of 9/11. Image by Christopher Morris

                                                                                      True love is timeless

                                                                                      old friends

                                                                                        Friends spending some time together. Image by Cristian Bortes

                                                                                        sitting around a fire

                                                                                          A group of friends sits around a campfire eating. Image by New Old Stock

                                                                                          elderly couple

                                                                                            An elderly couple walks down a street together. Image by Matteo Paciotti

                                                                                            Featured photo credit: Matteo Paciotti via flickr.com

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