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How to Win Your Life’s Own “Olympic Gold”

How to Win Your Life’s Own “Olympic Gold”


    When Missy Franklin was two-years-old, she wandered 30 feet into the ocean after a fish. The water was 12 feet deep. “I don’t think she needed to be rescued,” her father recently said about the incident.

    Even as a tot, Missy had an innate fascination with the water. Fortunately, both she and her parents recognized this passion. Today, she is an Olympic Gold medalist swimmer. Her nickname?  “Missy the Missile”.

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    When you look at the bookends of Missy’s story, it seems obvious that she would achieve her Olympic goal. After all, if she always wanted to be a swimmer, she must have known that she would succeed, right?

    It’s just not that simple. Missy Franklin, like every other Olympian, has worked her tush off. Take Gabby Douglas, for example. Now a two-time Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, Gabby felt so weighted down by the sacrifices she made for her sport that she almost quit gymnastics altogether.

    But did she quit? Absolutely not.

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    Behind every Olympian is a story of early mornings, bad days and hard-headed devotion. Mornings in the pool, at the gym, in the rink.  Because when you want to achieve your dream more than you want anything else, those crack-of-dawn mornings and hours of tears are all worth it.

    Most of us were not made to become Olympic athletes. If you can’t handle pain or stand the thought of flipping your body through the air, you’ll never be able to force yourself to become an Olympic gymnast. Unless you want to succeed at your sport more than you want anything else, it doesn’t matter how svelte or fit or young you are.

    But that’s fantastic news!

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    The thing is, while Olympic gold is a fantastic dream, it’s far from the only one.  And I’m a firm believer that every single person has a unique set of strengths and desires that paints their passion. Not sure what your’s is? Promise me that you’ll keep searching.

    Gold comes in many forms, from becoming a reporter for the New York Times to saving lives as a world-class surgeon. Once you define your unique dream, you’ll do anything necessary to see it through.

    If you want to have your “Olympic moment”, you’ll put up with painful hours sitting on a hard chair in front of your computer screen, waiting for inspiration to strike.

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    • You’ll put up with the jitters in your gut while receiving a critique on a project that you spent all night perfecting.
    • You’ll put up with the dirty dishes piling in the sink when you spend every spare minute working towards your dream.
    • You’ll put up with the strange looks from the other people at the dinner table when you say “no” to desert for the thousandth time.
    • You’ll put up with all of it, because your eye is on the prize – a shiny golden box of glory that makes you blind to anything standing in your way.

    Go get ’em, tiger.

    (Photo credit: Gold Medals via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on January 3, 2020

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

    The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

    1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

    Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

     I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

    To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

    And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

     2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

    Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

    3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

    Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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    4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

    The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

    5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

    Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

    6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

    Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

    7. Positive people smile a lot!

    When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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    8. People who are positive are great communicators.

    They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

    9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

    One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

    10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

    Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

    How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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    I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

    Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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