Being a hero isn’t about killing yourself. It’s not about crazy persistence and unhealthy stubbornness.
These qualities may lead to outstanding achievement. But often consume and destroy one’s life. Long-term success is about being kind to yourself. And others.
Olympic values guide us on the way to becoming a hero in our everyday life.
In this context, excellence is about
“giving the best of oneself, on the field or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives.“
Being a hero doesn’t mean squeezing sweat and blood out of one’s body to please others. It is about giving the best of yourself. Being your best isn’t about meeting some impersonal meaningless standards that have been set for you by someone else.
Each person needs to decide what “being your best” means to them personally.
Another important element of excellence is the ability to simply take part. Not trying to impress anyone (including oneself) with major achievements. Just staying and carrying on. Doing an average job on an average day and shining beautifully on some of the days. There’s no point in trying to be amazing every single day. You burn out and quit. You cannot be a perfect partner, carer, employee, parent or friend 24/7.
What you want is to persevere by taking part and staying in the game. A game that is more about resilience than short-term success.
“the drive and motivation to overcome both physical and mental barriers in order to achieve your goals.”
The word “drive” has been over and often mis-used. To such an extent, that it now has an aggressive feel to it. As if you are meant to have a crazy drive that will eventually make you drive into a wall. Better – go at a moderate speed and enjoy the scenery. Your car may break down, you may have to stop at a garage to fix a few things. But, eventually, you’ll hit the road again and continue on your journey of discovery.
Olympic values are very different from the famous “just do it” motto. The latter encourages one to persevere regardless of the cost of “just doing it”. The cost to oneself, one’s environment and those around you. Olympic respect is about
“knowing one’s limits” and “taking care of one’s health and the environment”.
Being a hero is just as much about looking after yourself as it is about getting of your comfort zone.
The social or community aspect of individual success goes beyond respect. It must include equality which means
“showing respect and humility towards all those around you in the spirit of fair play”.
Striving to be a hero in a broken world is not very rewarding. Helping others on their road to success is what creates your personal legacy.
Here, courage means
“having the self-belief and confidence to overcome anxiety and face difficulty”.
Anxiety about what others will think, say or do; or how they may judge your actions and appearance. It is the courage to just take part and to stay in the game when things get tough.
In this context, to be inspired means
“to be motivated by the achievement of others and to be a positive example to others”.
There is nothing more therapeutic and encouraging than a story about someone who inspires. Sadly, we often get to hear about the stories that make us jealous and lower our self-esteem. Be selective when looking for inspiration. Disturbingly thin and filthy rich celebrities will not help you grow. Real stories about real people who have gone through many failures on their road to success will lift up and strengthen your spirit.
Crucially, be an inspiration. Each and every person can share something to motive and inspire others. Your pain and hurt can be transformed to bring healing to other people.
Make it happen.
Elena is a teacher. She isn’t very sporty but thoroughly enjoyed teaching about the Olympics to her class. Elena loves riding a bike and walking her dog – for a bit of exercise and active meditation.
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