Do You Persist Like An Olympian?
Persistence is the one trait that can separate the successful from the unsuccessful. The ability to persist on a given path regardless of setbacks, unexpected events, bad news, and resistance—to continue firmly in some state, purpose, or course of action in spite of conditions—is a trait common to all those who make it. Persistence is a quality absolutely necessary to make any dream a reality.
With the Olympics happening down in Rio, I wanted to highlight a few athletes and their story to give you some encouragement today.
1. Zahra Nemati—She loved to compete in Taekwondo as a young girl and excelled at it for awhile, but when she was 18, she got hit by a car. The accident shattered her spine and she became paralyzed in the legs. That bad event didn’t stop Zahra from competing in the Olympics this year. In a wheelchair after the accident, she began training in archery. She represented Iran as the flag bearer during the opening ceremony. She became the first Iranian woman to win a gold medal.
“Never give up and show the world you are capable of things they all thought impossible! Never quit not matter what.”
2. Michael Phelps—We all know the massive success Michael Phelps has had. He broke a 2,000-year-old record with his Olympic medal count. You see the glory today, but just two years ago Phelps was so frustrated struggling to figure out who he was outside the pool that he began drinking heavily and started thinking about if he should end his life. He overcame that and is making history now. He got to work and he overcame his fears.
“Work is good; work will get you out of every bad situation and overcome all negative situations.”
3. Yusra Mardini—She had a promising swimming career back in her home of Syria, but when war started her pool was bombed. She fled with her sister to Turkey, then they got on a boat to go to Greece with 18 others. Apparently the boat was meant to only hold 6 or 7 people and somewhere in the Aegean Sea the motor broke. Yusra, and 3 others who were able to swim, pulled the boat over 3 hours to an island for safety. Her swimming talents ended up saving both her life and those with her. She is part of the first ever refugee team in the Olympics this year.
“The quality I most admire in others is the persistence and tenacity to find a solution when there doesn’t seem to be one.”
4. Simone Biles—She has been a star down in Rio, winning 3 golds and becoming perhaps the most decorated women’s gymnast of all-time. Life has not always been easy for her though—when she was young her biological mother struggled with major drug and alcohol abuse, and Simone was taken into foster care. She later got adopted, and has since put in a lot of hard work to get where she is today. Simone said, “I wonder what my life would be like if none of this happened. I want to know why my mother did what she did. But those aren’t questions for me because that was her lifestyle when I wasn’t even born. I have everything I need so there are no blanks left unfilled.”
“Success is never achieved with ‘maybe’.”
The lesson you can learn from all of these athletes today is not to let bad things take you away from your goals. We live on a planet where bad stuff happens—each of us will face some hardship. You will either let it drag you down or you will come out with gold.
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