TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
Elite athletes have always fascinated me. I admire their will, focus, and competitive sprit. They exhibit extreme dedication, letting absolutely nothing come between them and the goal. To me, they have many, many admirable traits and life skills. In fact, when my mother was a hiring manger in corporate America, she routinely sought out former athletes for all of the same reasons. They had discipline, structure, could follow directions, and were team players. “Athletes make the best employees,” she would say.
And in my opinion, they have the strongest mind and the best body composition to boot. Which is why training style and mindset have been adapted from athletics. Although I didn’t play organized sports,
and gravitated toward more individualized, non-team sports (being a selfish only child) like bodybuilding, I always respected the players of sports.
And so when I think of looking at life through the lens of sports—of defeat and victory—I think of the Olympics, the tippy top of the pyramid. What an honor it would be to win a gold medal. And what a
disappointment it would be to get a silver. To come so far, be so close, and have it slip from your grasp.
If you were only a split second faster, you would have won the gold.
But imagine what it might feel like to be the bronze medalist. If you were just a second slower you wouldn’t have won shit. You barely made it. You’re lucky to be standing up there. You made it to the podium and now have an Olympic medal.
The point being, your happiness always depends on your perceptive. This is an easy metaphor to understand but hard to remember. The next time you feel jealousy, envy, or disappointment because you don’t have the body, or a million followers, or a thriving business, or a fat bank account, think like a bronze medalist, not the silver. Gratitude changes the attitude. Change your focus.
This may sound counterintuitive in today’s “It’s never enough, more, more, more” culture but instead of always comparing up, sometimes make sure to look down.
I do believe in ambition and thriving. I think we all need things to shoot for, or we get fat and lazy. And I do believe in being dissatisfied at times, as a way to improve.
You should look “up” to gold when you need to drive yourself to the next level and look “down” for satisfaction. Because most of the time you need to be more grateful for what you do have and remember how much worse it could be. Chances are you’re reading this on a $700 smartphone and you have food, water, and shelter. Half of the world’s population—more than three billion people—live on less than $2.50 a day. You spend more on your morning coffee. Travel around the world and you’ll realize just how incredibly lucky we all are.