Sunday, February 7, 2016
Sochi Olympics Inspire us to be Optimistic and Determined Whatever We Face
Olympians around the world have battled against depression, physical challenges, doubts and fears, coming out the victors no matter what their scores at the Olympics in Sochi. Some of them risk permanent injury – even death – to win medals and to win fans. They make it look easy, to spin and turn high in the air on the way down a mountain, or to simply jump on a bobsled and hurtle down the run.
I had an opportunity to take the Olympic bobsled run when I attended a meeting in the Salt Lake City area. On the drive up the mountain, I started to second guess myself about the wisdom of taking such a risk. I had to sign a form saying I wouldn’t sue the organization should I break my neck, back or even be killed. However, I had committed myself to do this with friends, John and Susanne Cunningham. I also felt more assured, knowing the driver would be an Olympian. So I put on the helmet, scrambled into the bobsled and held on for my very life during the 52 seconds it took to be thrown side to side, at five times the weight of gravity for what seemed an eternity before we came to a stop. I have a new respect for Olympic bobsledders. It may be fun to explain the experience now, but you can be sure I’ve struck such a ride off my bucket list!
Sports psychologists are in constant demand for athletes who compete at the highest levels. The mind controls our bodies in amazing ways. When we allow doubts and fears to linger even for seconds, the cells, muscles and organs of our bodies respond accordingly. I find that amazing, so I check my thoughts and attitudes throughout the day, aware that a positive attitude and response to events, will help me to perform at my very best, whatever I am doing.
Watching the Olympic events, you see the coaches speaking positively to the athletes just before they perform. Even the crowd’s response can energize athletes to believe in themselves enough to accomplish more than they might have otherwise.
The question then, is how do we receive that kind of encouragement in our ordinary walk of life, whether at home, the office, while shopping, playing with the kids, or serving in the community? The Olympics provide an opportunity to check our mindset constantly and to cheer on people in our lives wherever we go.
Just this past week, my Internet Coach, Mia Davies, shared her transformation as she experienced a new understanding of God’s love for her. That revelation in turn has given her a greater desire to share God’s love with others as well. Imagine what a difference that would make to athletes, knowing God loves them unconditionally. imagine what a difference that makes to me and to you as well, and then how we can spread the love wherever we go. I decided to follow Mia’s example yesterday, and it was actually delightful to see how my positive thinking and encouragement could have a wonderful impact on others.
So, I challenge you to have a positive, God-filled, Olympian kind of day, and spread that on to whoever you meet in the coming days. I’d love to hear how you’ve been able to encourage someone else lately, or how someone made all the difference in your day.