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What the Olympics can teach us about achieving our dreams

We are given the privilege every four years to witness the spectacle of the Olympics. For a few weeks, nations come together to allow their world-class athletes to compete on a level playing field in order to find the best in the many events. It is amazing to see what these young men and women can accomplish—great feats of skill and determination that bring them to the heights of athletic performance and achievement. Truly amazing.
For us South Africans there were the special moments at this year’s Rio Olympics, when our athletes Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya won the mens 400 metre and womens’ 800 metre events respectively and we felt our national pride soar. Truly memorable.
As we reflect about what it takes to become a world-class athlete, capable of competing at the Olympic level, there are some fundamental lessons for all of us to learn as it relates to becoming world class in our chosen endeavours. According to master coach Jim Rohn the secret of how these athletes became world class is found in the combination of two fundamental ideas: desire and dedication.
A person doesn’t simply wake up one day and find herself in an Olympic team for whatever sport. No, it started years before. In fact, it probably started when she was only 6 or 7 years old or even younger nowadays. Maybe her father took her to an event and that little girl said, “Someday daddy, I am going to be a great champion.” That was the first sign of desire. World-class people start with desire. They have to at some point “want “ it. But we all know of people with dreams who are not successful, don’t we? Why? After all, they have desire. They want it. But the engine that drives the dream is dedication. Desire tells you what you want while dedication gets it for you.
Someone might see a young gymnast or swimmer and say, “Wow, that looks easy.” What they don’t see or perhaps overlook, however, is the “ 10000 hour rule” - referred to by author Malcolm Gladwell – which involves years of practice, the years of getting up at 4:30 every morning and going to the gym before school. It is the dedication of the young athlete, the many times of failing in practice, the many times of falling off the equipment and faithfully getting back on that turns a “wisher” into a resilient, world-class “doer.” A person with desire but no dedication will never achieve much and become frustrated; some of my clients find themselves in this position. You need the correct combination of both. So let’s take a closer look at each of these in more detail:

1. Desire
There are three parts to desire:
• Dreaming
• The Vision
• Focus
Have you let yourself dream lately? Just sit down and begin to spend some time just dreaming about what the future could be. Next we have the vision. Once you dream, you begin to cut back on all of the possibilities and narrow it down to what possibility you really want. You begin to create a vision(a mental image- picture or video) for your life. You begin to see the future as you want it. Lastly under desire is focus. Once you have the vision, you have to really focus in on that dream. This is where you get really specific about the detail of what your life is going to look like.

2. Dedication
There are also three parts here:
• The Plan
• Beginning
• Perseverance
Without a plan you will drift aimlessly. You will certainly not execute your dream if you do not have a plan. So write down your goals. Define what you want and how you are going to get there. Second is the beginning. This might sound simple and yet it is profound. Many people have a dream and they even have a plan, but they never begin. So simple: you have to start! To quote the Chinese saying, “ A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”. If you have a dream and a plan, take a step in the right direction and get moving.
Lastly is perseverence. Every road to every dream has a section that is hard to travel. Every great dream will encounter difficulties. The question isn’t whether you will encounter trouble, but how you will respond to it. Will you quit when the going gets tough or will you persevere? This is the essence of Resilience which is key to success in the 21st century. Every successful person I know and have studied has encountered problems along the way that tempted them to quit. They persevered, however, and achieved their dream.
So if we review the process, let’s think about where you are on the journey to becoming a world-class participant in whatever your dream might be:
1. Dream.
2. Create a vision.
3. Focus the vision.
4. Develop a plan.
5. Begin to pursue the dream.
6. Persevere.
In conclusion dear readers, we hope for the fulfillment of every dream that you have. That is what life is about, after all ? But to do so, you will have to combine your desire with dedication. And when you combine those two, you will be well on your way to leading a world-class life journey!
Acknowledgement: Jim Rohn

by Tony de Gouveia Psychologist
Tony de Gouveia is a Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice at the Akeso Clinic in Alberton
Tel: 907 2811 / 082 456 5046 ;

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