I’m watching the Winter Olympics coverage tonight and shortly after tuning in they showed an interview with speed skater Apolo Ohno. I like watching top competitors and listening to what they have to say. It takes rock-solid mental conditioning to succeed at that level and a lot can be learned from watching their actions closely.
Apolo Ohno said something that struck a chord with me:
“Before every day you go to sleep, ask yourself one question: Did you do every single thing you could today to make sure that you did your best? It’s hard to answer yes… every single day.”
The idea of trying to extract every opportunity for improvement every single day is really motivating and zen-like to me. A lifetime can be viewed as nothing more than a series of days where you are either moving towards something or away from it.
After all the planning is done, execution on the plan happens daily. So if you believe in your plan, it really is about maximizing what you do every single day that gets you there.
Ohno goes on to discuss what motivates him:
“I don’t want to look at in terms of me outworking the competition. I like to look at it as me conquering myself. Me being able to face my own fears and distractions and weaknesses and saying that I overcame them.”
We all have fears, distractions, and weaknesses. I’m a shining example of suffering from all three! The sport of life is accepting responsibility for your own imperfections but refusing to let them rule you. The competition, every morning you wake up, is figuring out who is going to win on that day… you or your fears, distractions, and weaknesses.
Good luck to Apolo Ohno in Vancouver as he is competing to have the most career medals at the Winter Games by an American man.