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5 Important Life Lessons We Can Learn From Lance Armstrong’s Doping Scandal

5 Important Life Lessons We Can Learn From Lance Armstrong’s Doping Scandal

For the full original unedited article, visit Celestine’s blog, Personal Excellence.

In one of the biggest scandals ever uncovered in sports history, Lance Armstrong came clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) throughout much of his professional cycling career last Thursday (January 17) in a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

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    Lance Armstrong–Oprah Winfrey Interview: Key Highlights

    I didn’t catch the interview when it was broadcast on TV. I only knew about the interview after it was over, when my friend Karl told me about it over brunch. It didn’t take long for me to locate the full interview online though.

    (Watch them as soon as you can. OWN has been getting YouTube to delete the full interviews, so they might not even be online by the time you see this.)

    Below is a video of the interview highlights (special thanks to Telegraph). Watch up to 0:50 to get up to speed on the lies he had fabricated and successfully shielded for a good 14 years (1996–2010) before former teammates such as George HincapieFrankie Andreu, and Tyler Hamilton began speaking out against him starting 2010 and United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) launched an investigation of him and charged him with doping in June 2012. He then confessed about his PED usage for the first time on this Oprah exclusive.

    Lance Armstrong: From Mythic Figure to Disgraced “Liar”, “Cheater”, and “Bully”

    If you don’t know who Lance Armstrong is, he was a seven-time Tour de France (one of the most prestigious cycling races in the world) winner, cancer survivor, and founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization to support cancer survivors.

    I had previously featured his Nike commercial of him speaking out about his cancer as one of the 15 most amazing commercials that will inspire the greatest in you (#15 on the list).

    After USADA issued an official doping charge at Lance Armstrong in June 2012 (here’s USADA’s 202-page report with full-fledged evidence that supports their charge), Cycling’s ruling body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), stripped Lance of all his seven Tour de France titles and issued him a lifetime ban from elite competition.

    His sponsors like RadioShack, Nike, Trek, Oakley, Giro, 24-Hour Fitness and Anheuser-Busch dropped him within one and a half days—a $75 million loss.

    Lance’s foundation was renamed Livestrong Foundation and he resigned as its chairman, in what he referred to as his most “humbling moment”. Lance had regarded his foundation as his sixth child. (He has five children: three with his ex-wife Kristin Richard, and two with his current girlfriend Anna Hansen.)

    5 Life Lessons We Can Learn from Lance Armstrong’s Doping Scandal

    This post isn’t to berate Lance Armstrong or debate about the morality behind his past actions.

    He was definitely wrong for using performance-enhancing drugs (PED) during his career and unfairly winning the Tour de France titles with the help of said drugs.

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    He has definitely betrayed the trust of fans around the world, friends, family members, and business associates with the lies he had fabricated and so vehemently concealed for over a decade.

    There’s also no denying that he crossed the line big time when he insulted, sued, and issued personal threats at investigators, former teammates, and their family members who spoke out against him, under moral and legal obligations no less, having been sworn under oath.

    I’ve created this case study to distill life lessons we can pick up from Lance Armstrong’s fascinating, over decade-long doping scandal. Scandals will come and go (think: Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Jack Neo, Bill Clinton—no one talks about their past scandals today, with the exception of Tiger Wood’s case since it’s still in recent memory), but the biggest question is this: Beyond flagging the scorned personalities and berating them for things they cannot undo, what can we learn from these scandals as human beings, such that we will never commit these “mistakes” nor inflict the same harm to people around us?

    Here are five life lessons I have picked up from the Lance Armstrong saga:

    1. Have a Set of Values that Guides You in Life, so You Will Never “Lose Your Way”

    • Lance: When I was diagnosed, I was a better human being after that. […] And then I lost my way.
    • Oprah: You lost your way.
    • Lance: […] it’s easier to say I feel different, I feel smarter, I feel like a better man today. But I can’t lose my way again. And only I can control that. I’m in no position to make promises; I’m going to slip up every now and then. But that’s the biggest challenge for the rest of my life—is to not slip up againAnd to not lose sight of what I got to do.

    Lance Armstrong spoke of the various atrocities he committed over the 16 years (1996–2012) to protect his mythic image of being that man who overcame all odds to beat cancer and proceeded to conquer seven Tours de France. He used PEDs, cheated through his bike races, lied about it (including under oath in a 2005 SCA deposition, which meant he committed perjury), bullied people who tried to come clean, and betrayed the trust of people who believed in him.

    Lance Armstrong as a Bully

    • Oprah: Were you a bully?
    • Lance: *stumped look, followed by an awkward laugh, before finally acceding with a nod* … Yeah, yeah. I was a bully.
    • Oprah: So, what made you a bully?
    • Lance: I think just… again, just trying to perpetuate the story. And hide the truth.

    In fact, Lance was so much the bully that he insulted his former teammates and friends (people like Emma O’Reilly and Betsy Andreu) with words like ‘whore‘, ‘crazy‘, ‘bitch‘, ‘alcoholic prostitute‘, etc., sued the people who threatened his story, and even issued death threats at them.

    Watch the video below where the USADA head revealed death threats which he received from Lance himself during his 2012 Armstrong investigation.

    Lies Lance Armstrong Made To Cover Up His Tracks

    Lance was so convincing in his lies that many people, including his very own children, believed in him, even when unfavorable evidence from U.S. federal and USADA investigations began to mount and former teammates and friends began to speak out against him.

    Check out this video of the times throughout his career where he denied (vehemently too, might I add) ever using drugs (courtesy of Telegraph)

    I remember following Lance Armstrong on twitter before and seeing tweets where he staunchly spoke out against the people accusing him of doping. He called the prosecution a “witch hunt”, and that he had been tested no less than 500 times in his entire career and had never once been tested positive. He blasted the people who accused him of doping and retweeted the tweets of his many fans who advocated their belief that he did not dope.

    I never took a stance as I have always been neutral to Lance Armstrong, but he seemed so convicted of his innocence then that I found it hard to believe that he was lying. Looking back, it’s kinda sad to know that he was lying through his teeth the whole time.

    Never Thinking His Behavior Was Wrong

    The funny thing was that he revealed in the Oprah interview that he did not feel his behavior (doping, lying, bullying, etc.) was bad, wrong, nor dishonest at that time.

    • Lance: This story was so perfect for so long. […] You overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children… I mean it’s just this mythic, perfect story. And it wasn’t true.
    • Oprah: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?
    • Lance: At the time?
    • Oprah: Uh-huh.
    • Lance: No.
    • Oprah: It did not even feel wrong?
    • Lance: No. Scary.
    • Oprah: Did you feel bad about it?
    • Lance: No. Even scarier.
    • Oprah: Did you feel, in anyway, that you were cheating?
    • Lance: No. The scariest.

    Fierce Desire to Win that’s Not Guided by Values

    Lance’s answer to his blind-sided behavior? A relentless desire to win at all costs. This drive would have been great if it had been governed by certain core values. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

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    • Lance: Before my diagnosis, I would say I was a competitor, but I wasn’t a fierce competitor. And then in an odd way, that process (of being diagnosed) turned me into a person that… it was truly,win-at-all-costs. When I was diagnosed and I was treated, I said, ‘I would do anything I have to do to survive.’ And that’s good (Celes: in the context of fighting cancer).And I took that attitude, that ruthless, and relentless, and win-at-all-costs attitude, and I took it right into cycling.”

    Knowing Your Values

    The lesson I see here is to have a core values system that guides you in life. Not just performance-driven values like excellence, diligence and persistence, but also values that are in line with the highest good of humanity and our highest self, like truth, integrity, and honesty.

    It is clear from the way Lance conducted himself in those 16 years that he was missing values of truth, integrity, and honesty. Actually, longer than 16 years, as Lance had been doping even before he was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. This led him to lose his way and get caught up in this big mess.

    Do you have a set of core values that guide you? If yes, what are they? My personal set of core values which have been guiding me since 2008 are Excellence, Passion, Courage, Truth, and Authenticity. Truth, to me, encompasses being integritous and honest to others. These values, I live by them every single day, every single moment of my waking life. They guide my everyday thinking and decisions.

    If you have yet to identify your core values, perhaps now is the best time to do so, aye? I recommend identifying five core values, no more, no less. These five values will make up the five points of a star, where the star is you. Read more about values, my concept of the five core values, and how to identify them in Day 15: Identify Your Values in Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program.

    2. If the Culture Isn’t What You Want, Create a Different One.

    • Oprah: So, you’ve been quoted as saying ‘We’ve one goal, one ambition, and that is to win the greatest bike race in the world, and not to win it once, but to keep on winning it. And to ‘keep on winning it’ means you have to keep on using banned substances to do it.
    • Lance: Yes. And I’m not sure if this is the acceptable answer, but that’s like saying, ‘We’ve to have air in our tires. We’ve to have water in our bottles.’ That (doping) was… that was, in my view, part of my job.

    Part of Lance Armstrong’s justification for doping was that doping was part of the (professional cycling) culture (at that time; he says that the sport is now clean thanks to the biological passport) and that he simply had to dope if he wanted to win.

    However, he later acknowledged that he could have done better. He could have tried to stop the culture but didn’t.

    • Oprah: You said it was not possible to win without doping.
    • Lance: Not in that generation. […] I didn’t invent the culture. But I didn’t try to stop the culture. And that’s my mistake. And that’s what I have to be sorry for.

    If you are faced with a culture that violates your values, what would you do? Would you perpetuate that culture? Or would you change it?

    3. Don’t Lie, Cheat, or Do Anything Unethical. The Truth Will Prevail.

    “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

    “The story was getting out of control. Which was my worst nightmare.” ~ Lance Armstrong, on the public fallout after USADA’s charge and exposé of his doping

    14 years of elaborate cover-ups, over 500 drug tests, and successful evasion of Tour de France’s doping controls to score seven victories—you would think Lance Armstrong would continue to stay unexposed if he was able to evade detection for so long.

    He was able to escape the prosecution of even U.S. federals (something he claims not to be involved in). In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation of him, pursuing allegations such as fraud, drug trafficking, and witness tampering. In February 2012, after a two year investigation, federal prosecutors dropped the case without any explanation.

    • Oprah: When they dropped the case, did you think, ‘Now. Finally over. Done. Victory.’?
    • Lance: It’s hard to define victory. But I thought I was out of the woods.

    However, in a twist of fate, in 2012 USADA launched their own investigation of Lance Armstrong and uncovered overwhelming evidence that he had doped throughout his professional career. In July that year, USADA charged Lance with possession, trafficking, and use of banned substances. He was then striped of his Tour de France titles, banned from elite competition, and nuked by his sponsors, all within the span of one and a half days.

    Moral of the Story

    The moral of the story? Don’t lie, cheat, or do anything unethical in the first place. No matter the circumstance, it does not justify bending the universal value of truth. Nobody likes to be lied to, and the fallout is never pleasant when the truth is revealed. For the trust that is lost, you have to work hard to earn it back. Even then, you may well never earn it back.

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    Inspirational Quote: “The worst thing about being lied to is simply knowing you weren't worth the truth.” ~ Unknown

      Besides, when you lie, it’s already a given that you have make a new lie to cover the old lie. You are virtually signing yourself up for a lifetime of lies. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a very tedious way to live. Thanks, but no thanks.

      As the Chinese saying goes, 紙是包不住火, which literally translates to “You can’t wrap fire with paper”. What it means is that the truth (fire) can never be covered up for long, no matter what you do or how hard you try. Lance tried to cover his lies up for 16 years and eventually succumbed to a confession after the huge public fallout following the USADA report. Truth will indeed always prevail.

      4. “It’s Not About the Bike”: As You Call Out the Bad in People, Don’t Negate the Good They Have Done Too.

      Lance wrote a book in 2001, titled: “It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life“. It shares his story of “triumph” and “transformation” and his fight against cancer.

      Given the scandal’s outbreak, detractors would probably joke about the title today and go, “Yeah it’s not about the bike. It has always been about the drugs.” There is also a gag going on Twitter now about an Australian library rebranding Armstrong’s book as “fiction” rather than “non-fiction”, which turned out to be just the librarian making a good-humored joke in light of Lance’s confession.

      Still, doping fiasco aside, Lance does have a heart for cancer survivors, being a cancer survivor himself. It shows during the interview. (Whether he was faking the emotions is a separate discussion altogether.)

      • Oprah: What was the humbling moment that brought you face to face with yourself?
      • Lance: I believe it was a Wednesday. Nike called. And this isn’t the most humbling moment. I’m going to get to that.And they said, basically, cliff notes here: That they’re out. Okay. *shrugs* And then the calls started coming. Trek. Giro. Anheuser-Busch. Everything. (Celes: These were Lance’s sponsors.)
      • Oprah: On the same day? The same couple of days?
      • Lance: Yeah. Couple of days. Everybody out.Still not the most humbling moment. Not a fun period.
      • Oprah: But how did that hit you though?
      • Lance: You know, in a way, I just assumed we’d get to that point. The story was getting out of control. Which was my worst nightmare. I had this place in my mind that they would all leave.The one person I didn’t think would leave was the foundation. And that was the most humbling moment.

      The Good that Lance Armstrong Has Done

      In 1996, Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer which had spread to his brain and lungs. Even though the doctor said he had a less than 40% survival chance, he beat the disease and was declared cancer-free in 1997.

      In that same year, Lance founded Lance Armstrong Foundation (now Livestrong Foundation) which provides free support for anyone with cancer. The foundation has since raised nearly $500 million for cancer awareness.

      During the interview, Oprah read an email her friend sent to her regarding Lance:

      “I’ve heard that he is a real jerk.

      But I will always root for Lance. He gave me hope in a very dire time. My first-born son had just been diagnosed with leukemia two weeks before his first birthday. And I’m in intensive care barely able to breathe, and my brother sends me Lance’s new book, ‘It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life‘.

      I read it cover to cover, through the night. It showed me that there was hope for my son, to not only to live, but to thrive. I had a choice to make that night on how to respond to my son’s illness and teach him how to face the world.”

      While this scandal showed that Lance was a complete fraud and bully, we should not negate his inspiring cancer survival story where he beat cancer when the odds were stacked against his favor.

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      We should not negate that his story (including the fake mythic part of it) has/had, in the past 15 years, inspired many around the world to step up, strive for their goals, and achieve their dreams, something they might not have done otherwise.

      We should also not negate that while Lance Armstrong could have continued lying straight to his death bed, he did not, and instead did this public confession, which has already triggered a huge public fallout, with people’s trust in him totally crushed and lawsuits starting to line up. He is facing at least three civil suits at the moment.

      When you look at Lance and his doping scandal, and as you make your assessment about his character, remember the good he has accomplished, be it directly or indirectly, and not throw out the baby with the bath water. The bad that he has committed should not negate the good in him and the good he has done.

      5. It’s Never Too Late for Redemption.

      “I made my decisions. They are my mistake. And I’m sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say that I’m sorry for that.” ~ Lance Armstrong, during his interview with Oprah Winfrey

      To be honest, I’m not too sure if Lance was 100% honest during the interview. He claimed that he did not dope during the 2009 and 2010 Tours de France, though the USADA report provided evidence that he did.

      If he was indeed lying, it was probably to protect himself criminally, as there is a five-year time span for statute of limitations. If his last doping was 2005, federal authorities would not be able to charge him since it’s more than five years ago. However, if his last doping was 2009, there is a case for them to open a criminal investigation against Lance.

      But let’s say Lance did not lie during the interview and he was completely truthful. While it’s a confession that comes 16 years late, it’s better late than never.

      • Oprah: Are you facing your demons?
      • Lance: Absolutely. Absolutely. Ya. It’s a process. And I think we’re beginning to process that now.

      First Step for Lance in His Path of Redemption

      I’m happy for Lance that he made this confession. Lance’s former friend, Betsy Andreu, has confirmed that Lance is “someone who doesn’t know how to tell the truth and how to say I’m sorry”. Even if he didn’t tell Winfrey the whole truth, or even if he came across as unremorseful in parts of the interview, the point is, this is a first step.

      “…I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people. For the rest of my life.” ~ Lance Armstrong

      I always believe everyone, no matter how far gone, always deserves a second chance. It’s never too late for redemption. And I believe Lance’s path to redemption is just starting now, beginning with this confession on OWN.

       

      More by this author

      Celestine Chua

      Celestine is the Founder of Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to boost productivity and achieve excellence in life.

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      Last Updated on November 17, 2019

      40 Amazing Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

      40 Amazing Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

      With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, starry-eyed lovers worldwide are getting ready to celebrate their love and planning the perfect date for their partner. However, there are many loving, caring, and generally great people out there who simply can’t think of a single romantic thing to do, let alone create the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience for their loved one. If you are looking for some great date ideas that will put a smile on your partner’s face and melt their heart, then just keep on reading. I’ve got a pretty big list of choices for you. Here are some great ideas ranging from tried and true classics, to the fun and slightly unconventional.

      1. Rom-coms marathon

      This is a very basic yet highly romantic way of spending the day with your partner. Take a few days to prepare the right playlist and create a romantic atmosphere at home. You can order out some food, open a bottle of wine and cuddle up in front of the TV.

      2. Recreate your first date

      Rated pretty high on the “romantic gestures scale,” this is guaranteed to impress your significant other. It requires a good memory and a bit of work to make it just right, but it is well worth it. Walk down the same streets where you first kissed and have a couple of drinks in that old coffee shop where you had your first drinks together. Don’t be afraid to spend a bit extra and add a little romantic gift into the mix.

      3. Cook for your loved one

      Start researching good recipes for a romantic dinner for two, get the right ingredients and prepare a couple of practice dinners to make sure you’ve got your technique and presentation down pat. Cooking for someone can be a big turn on and you can create some incredible meals without spending too much money. Take it up a notch by dressing classy, decorating your dining room and presenting your partner with a printed menu.

      4. Organize your very own ancient Greek party

      Here’s another one of those creative date ideas for the stay-at-home couple. The ancient Greek private party can be a very fun and erotic experience. You can decorate by using big bowls full of grapes, spreading some white sheets all over the place, placing some plastic vines here and there, putting up a few posters depicting Greek parties and having plenty of wine lying around. Wear nothing but light sheets or costumes and channel some of that hot-blooded Greek spirit.

      5. A romantic weekend getaway in the mountains

      For those looking for a change of scenery and an escape from the busy city, there is nothing better than a quiet, romantic weekend in the mountains. There are plenty of fun activities like skiing that will keep you active. You can have fun making a snowman or engaging in a snowball fight, and, of course, there is plenty of privacy and great room service waiting for you back at your room.

      6. Fun day at the shooting range

      A bit unconventional but an incredibly fun and exciting date that will get your blood pumping and put a huge smile on your faces. Try out a number of guns and have a bit of a competition. Some outdoor ranges have fully automatic rifles, which are a blast to shoot.

      7. Rent an expensive sports car for a day

      Don’t be afraid to live large from time to time—even if you can’t afford the glamorous lifestyle of the stars, you can most definitely play pretend for a day. Put on some classy clothes and drive around town in a rented sports car. The quick acceleration and high speed are sure to provide an exhilarating experience.

      8. Go on a shopping spree together

      Very few things can elicit such a huge dopamine rush as a good old shopping spree. Get some new lingerie, pretty shoes, a nice shirt and tie, a couple of new video games or whatever else you need or want. This is a unique chance to bond, have fun and get some stuff that you’ve been waiting to buy for a while now.

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      9. Hit the clubs

      For all the party animals out there, one of the best date ideas is to go out drinking, dancing, and just generally enjoying the night life. Visit a few good clubs, then go to an after-party and keep that party spirit going for as long as you can.

      10. Spend the day driving around the city and visiting new places

      This one is geared towards couples who have been together for a year or two and want to experience a few new things together. Visit a few cool coffee places on the other side of town, check out interesting restaurants you’ve never been to, and consider going to see a play or having fun at a comedy club on open mic night.

      11. Wine and chocolates at sunset

      Pick out a romantic location, such as a camping spot on a hill overlooking the city or a balcony in a restaurant with a nice view, open a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates and wait for that perfect moment when the sky turns fiery red to embrace and share a passionate kiss.

      12. Ice skating

      There is something incredibly fun about ice skating that brings people closer together and just keeps you laughing (maybe it’s all the falling and clinging to the other person for dear life). You can have some great fun and then move on to a more private location for some alone time.

      13. Body painting

      Speaking of private locations and intimate moments, body painting allows you to spice things up back at your place and add a new element of fun to foreplay. You’ll need adequate body paints and some brushes and the rest is up to you. You can do tiger stripes, paint a t-shirt on your partner, or go for something more abstract—the choice is yours.

      14. Model clothes for each other

      This one goes well when combined with a shopping spree, but you can just get a bunch of your clothes—old and new—from the closet, set up a catwalk area and then try on different combinations. You can be stylish, funny or beautiful. It’s a great after-dinner show and a good way to transition into a more intimate atmosphere.

      15. Dance the night away

      If you and your significant other are relatively good dancers, or if you simply enjoy moving your body to the rhythm of the music, then a night at salsa club or similar venue is the perfect thing for you. Alternatively, you can set up dance floor at home, play your favorite music, have a few drinks and dance like there is no tomorrow.

      16. Lock the doors, turn off the phones and have the whole house to yourselves

      This one might seem a bit obvious and kind of redundant seeing as how I’ve already mentioned a bunch of stay-at-home date ideas that require this step as a prerequisite, but when I say, “Have the whole house to yourselves,” I literally mean turning the whole house into romantic stage where you can explore your fantasies. Decorate each room a bit differently, have a lot of snacks and drinks lying around, put a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor and go from room to room throughout the day. You can start off with a steaming shower, have a romantic meal, then watch a movie cuddled up on the couch and eventually make your way to the bedroom.

      17. Organize a nature walk

      Being outside has many health benefits, but what you are going for is the beautiful view, seclusion, and the thrill of engaging in some erotic behavior out in the open. You can rent a cottage far from the city, bring some food and drinks, and explore the wilderness. This is nice way to spice things up a bit and get away from the loud and busy city life.

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      18. Act out a fun scenario wearing costumes

      Some role-playing may be just the thing you need to spice up your love life after a few years of being together, but it can be a very fun experience for new couples as well. Work on the scenario together (wounded soldier and nurse, a female cop arresting a robber, etc.), buy the right costumes and accessories beforehand and find a good setting. You could also rent a hotel room to add to the forbidden-fruit vibe.

      19. Travel abroad

      This takes a bit of planning in advance and may be a bit costly, but if you can afford it, there are very few things that can match a trip to France, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, or a number of other excellent locations.

      20. Go on a hot-air balloon ride

      These are very fun and romantic—you get an incredible view, get to experience the thrill of flying, and you’ve got enough room for a romantic dinner and some champagne. Just be sure to wear warm clothes, it can get pretty cold high up in the air.

      21. A relaxing day at the spa

      Treat your body, mind and senses to a relaxing day at the spa. You and your partner will feel fresh, comfortable and relaxed—a perfect date for the more serious couples who don’t get to spend as much time with each other as they’d like.

      22. A trip down memory lane

      This one is great for long-term couples who will benefit from reminiscing about all of their fondest memories together from the start of the relationship through to the present, reliving some of the most significant moments they shared.

      23. Fun times at a karaoke bar

      A great choice for couples celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together—it’s fairly informal and inexpensive, yet incredibly fun and allows for deeper bonding. Once you have a few drinks in your system and come to terms with the fact that you are making a complete fool of yourself, you’ll have the time of your life!

      24. Helicopter tour of the city followed by dinner

      A modern equivalent to the hot-air balloon ride, the helicopter tour is among the more reasonably priced date ideas and is incredibly romantic and exciting. After about half an hour or an hour of sightseeing you can finish off the upper-class experience by dining in a nice restaurant.

      25. Horseback riding

      Horseback riding is incredibly fun, especially if you’ve never done it before. And what girl doesn’t dream of a prince coming to take her on an adventure on his noble steed? It evokes a sense of nobility and is a very good bonding experience.

      26. Plan a fun date night with other couples

      Take a break and rent a cabin in the woods, go to a mountain resort, a couple’s retreat, or just organize a huge date night at someone’s place and hang out with other couples. This is a great option for couples who have spent at least one Valentine’s Day together and allows you to customize your experience to suit your needs. Also, you can always retire early and get some alone time with your partner if you so desire.

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      27. Cocktail night

      This can be done privately, or with other couples if you are organizing a group Valentine’s Day celebration at someone’s house. All you need is a bunch of different drinks, a few accessories like fruit and spices, and internet access to check out some cool recipes online. Try out all sorts of fun cocktails and mix some brand new ones on your own. Make it a fancy dress night for added fun.

      28. Make reservations at an exclusive restaurant

      A fairly old school move, except this time you can pick out a restaurant that serves a particular type of cuisine you’ve never tried before. Go for a place that has unusual menus and likes to make a show out of presenting the food, rather than just going for your regular “suits and monocles” type venue.

      29. Go to a concert

      There are a whole bunch of things happening around Valentine’s Day, so go online and check out what’s happening near you. You’ll surely be able to find tickets for a cool concert or some type of festival with live music.

      30. Fancy night on the town

      Buy some elegant new clothes, rent a limo for the night and go to a nice restaurant, followed by a jazz club or gallery exhibition. Walk tall, make a few sarcastic quips, and have a few laughs with your partner while letting your inner snob take charge for a few hours.

      31. Take a tour of the historical and cultural sites of your city

      For the cultured crowd and history buffs among us, a day spent learning about some of the local history and delving deeper into national culture is both incredibly fun and a great way to share a unique experience with a loved one. You’d be surprised to find just how much you don’t know about the place you live in.

      32. Live out a James Bond film at a casino

      A beautiful lady in a simple yet sensual, form-fitting, black dress, and a strong and handsome, if somewhat stern-looking man in a fine suit walk up to a roulette table with drinks in hand and place bets at random as they smile at each other seductively. This is a scenario most of us wish to play out, but rarely get a chance. It can be a bit costly, but this is one of the most incredibly adventurous and romantic date ideas.

      33. Go bungee jumping

      People in long-term relationships often talk about things like keeping a relationship fun and exciting, doing new things together, trusting each other and using aphrodisiacs. Well, bungee jumping is a fun, exhilarating activity you can both enjoy; it requires trust and the adrenaline rush you get from it is better than any aphrodisiac out there. Just saying, give it a shot and you won’t regret it.

      34. Take a tour of a winery or brewery

      Taking a tour like this can be a great opportunity to learn new things about wine or beer (or perhaps whiskey) and how it is made, while at the same time getting a chance to taste some excellent drinks and get a few bottles for later in the evening.

      35. Make a fun music video

      Meet up earlier in the day, take decent camera, and start shooting a music video. Rehearse the lyrics (you can even make up your own silly song), dress up, and start filming. You’ll have tons of fun doing it and you can edit the video later and have a cool memento.

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      36. Play some sports

      Some one-on-one basketball, a soccer match against another couple, a bit of tennis, or even something as simple as a table tennis tournament (make it fun by stripping off items of clothing when you lose a game). You can combine this with date idea #13 and paint team uniforms on each other and play in the nude.

      37. Visit a club with live music

      A great option for just about any couple—pick a club that has live performers (whether it’s jazz, rock or even a poetry reading) and dress up for the occasion. Be sure to make reservations in advance to avoid the Valentine’s Day rush, and focus on making your date feel comfortable.

      38. Take skydiving lessons

      Another adrenaline-filled date, skydiving is sure to get your heart racing like crazy and leave you with a goofy grin for the rest of the day. You can offset all the excitement by ending the day with a quiet dinner at home.

      39. Go for some paintball

      Playing war games is an excellent way to get your body moving, focus on some of that hand-eye-coordination, and engage your brain in coming up with tactical solutions in the heat of the moment. It is also a great bonding experience, adrenaline-fueled fun, and role-playing all wrapped into one. And when you get back home, you can always act out the wounded soldier scenario (see #18).

      40. Fill the whole day with random fun activities

      Just say no to plans, reservations and clichés—take your partner by the hand, have your credit card ready and just go out and have some fun. Bowling, followed by a drink at a coffee shop and then a romantic movie? Sure, why not? Going for lunch at a nice restaurant and then organizing a double-date game night? Go right ahead. Going for a long walk in the park, visiting a museum, followed by romantic meal at home and then going out to a club? Hey, who am I to say no? You can use some of the ideas from this article and mash them up together to create a fun-filled Valentine’s Day you’ll both remember.

      There you go, a whole bunch of useful date ideas for all you loving couples out there. You can pick out any one of these, make some adjustments or even combine different options to create the perfect Valentine’s Day date for your significant other. Plan ahead, have fun and celebrate your love proudly.

      Featured photo credit: Relevante design via unsplash.com

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