Few things are more inspiring to me than the Olympics. Watching the athletes from different countries compete in literally hundreds of events leaves me captivated. Normally I'm not much of a sports fanatic, but when the Olympics come around on the even years, I find myself positively glued to the television screen. Suddenly even something like badminton or archery or beach volleyball has me following along anxiously as though I were watching the season finale of my favorite television drama.
Partly this is because of the personal interest stories that often follow the Oympic athletes. Partly it is because of the seemingly impossible feats the athletes are able to accomplish. But I think MOSTLY it is because of the example of dedication I see before me when I watch these athletes.
When watching the women's marathon, for example, I marvelled at the story of Edna Kiplagat, from Kenya. She is not only an amazing runner, but she is a mother. Her dedication to running has enabled her family to increase its quality of life significantly. Later I learned that she is six months younger than I am--just turned 38, and there she is running 26 miles in less than 2 1/2 hours.
And who isn't a little bit awed to witness the spectacular performance of Michael Phelps as he solidified his place in history as the most decorated Olympian? Or to cheer on Ashton Eaton in his quest for the Olympic Decathlon gold? Or to hold your breath as the women's gymnastics team sought and ultimately claimed the gold for the first time since 1996?
One theme runs through every single story of Olympic triumph. These men and women dreamed a dream and then paid the price to see it come true. Of course talent is helpful, but I believe the biggest thing that separates Olympic champions from other athletes is their complete dedication to becoming the best that they can be.
And so I can't help but apply that conclusion to my own life. I am still working at my dream of becoming a successful writer, but if I'm completely honest with myself (which I try to do as often as possible) I must admit that my efforts in that category are often pretty abysmal. There are too many things I allow to get in the way of this goal. Some of them are necessary at times--I will never regret the time I have spent and will continue to spend being a mother, for example. But just as often as not, I allow less worthy distractions to take over my writing time and to keep me from accomplishing any significant goals.
To that end, one of my favorite quotes is this: "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."
The Olympic athletes seem to follow this creed. I am ever more convinced that following it as a writer will prove just as valuable to me.