It is fascinating to watch the Olympics for many reasons including watching how the different athletes handle pressure. Some people seem to seize the moment with relative ease while others sadly fall apart and make uncharacteristic mistakes. When you get to this level of performance excellence just about every competing athlete has superlative physical gifts and natural ability. What separates the winners from the losers is often their mental toughness and emotional resiliency. They have grace under pressure.
I attended a youth soccer game and a professional hockey game this weekend and it was interesting to watch how both groups handled frustration and adversity. As would be expected the kids had a much more difficult time with it. With a few exceptions, they were quick to get down on themselves and hang their heads. After a couple of unlucky plays they started to unravel and forget their training. It became increasingly obvious that many of them just gave up on winning well before this should have been the case. The pros on the other hand kept plugging away and fighting through their unlucky breaks. Their hard work and resilience paid off. Eventually things turned around for them and they won the game.
I’m not saying this just to state the obvious that professional athletes have more mental toughness than children, but instead to point out the importance of never giving up.
Most of us walk around with weights and burdens that don’t serve us well in life. It’s important to learn from your experiences, but once the lesson is learned, let it go. No one is perfect. In fact, we are all flawed. It may seem like other people live a charmed life, however I’ve live long enough to fully appreciate that things aren’t always what they seem. How else can you explain someone as talented, beautiful and wealthy as Whitney Houston ending her life in such a tragic way or someone as successful, funny and famous as Owen Wilson attempting to take his own life?