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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 December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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