Olympic Strength – It’s In All of Us

by Lance Ekum on · 24 comments

“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid” ~ Audre Lorde

The Olympics.  Athletes who have taken the love of their respective sport to their highest level. Power.  Dedication.  Commitment.  Resolve.  Words that describe these athletes who compete in the Olympics.  They have taken the ideals of what the Olympics stand for and made it a part of their life.

  • The balanced development of the body, will and mind
  • The joy found in effort
  • The educational value of being a good role model
  • Respect for universal ethics including tolerance, generosity, unity, friendship, non-discrimination and respect for others

Today I'll be talking about the first bullet point – the balanced effort of the body, will, and mind.  The picture above is from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It's a fitting picture in that it describes what these athletes must possess in order to have the strength they need to compete in the Olympics – Strength of Body, Strength of Mind, Strength of Spirit.

Strength of Body: The athletes competing in the Summer games have spent many years training their bodies in their respective sport.  This has taken dedication and commitment to their body through proper physical training and nutrition.  They don't only exercise when it's convenient or have a few extra snacks every day.  It's continuous taking care of their bodies in every physical sense, including the training that is required for their sport. 

Our Takeaway: Our body is the one body we have to work with during our lives here on earth.  And you have choices.  How do you treat your body?  Do you feed it junk, or high quality foods?  Do you keep it in good physical shape, or do you let it deteriorate?  Choices.  And, you can make small steps in the right direction here.  Our bodies are amazing things, and even small changes can do wonders for how we feel.  If this is an area you're lacking in, start small and make positive changes in the right direction.

Strength of Mind: Our minds are powerful things.  For athletes training for the Olympics, they need to understand their sport in every detail.  This requires learning the many intricacies of it.  And on top of that, many of these athletes are also still young and in school.  But even those who have finished formalized school still continue to learn new things.  A sharp mind is necessary when playing their sport. 

Our Takeaway: Are you learning new things?  The world is filled with so many wondrous opportunities for learning.  Books.  Classes.  Cultures.  Who knows what you might discover about yourself in the process.   After you've taken that class – you can teach what you've learned to others.  

Strength of Spirit: Essentially, this is the soul of a person.  It's what we all have deep-down, that thing which really drives us forward when we nothing else will.   For the athletes competing in the Olympics, it's what they give when they just can't give anymore.  Somewhere, they find the will to push a little harder.  They push themselves to practice a little longer.  They keep on when others have stopped.  Because they know that is what it takes to make it to the Olympics and have a chance to compete with the best in the world. 

Our Takeaway: Deep down, you all have this strength of spirit.  What you need to do to really use it to it's fullest, is to find the thing which you love and are passionate about.  Take, for instance, a parent-child relationship.  It's not uncommon to hear of parents doing extraordinary feats to protect their children.  This is strength of spirit at work.  They know with all their heart how important that child is to them, no matter the circumstance.  Now, think of your life.  Have you found that thing, personally, which you are passionate about?  What sets your heart on fire?  That's where you'll find the strength of spirit alive in you.

Conclusion Olympic Strength:  The athletes competing at the Summer Games in Beijing possess this and the qualities that make it up:  Strength of body, strength of mind, and strength of spirit. Olympic Strength: 

You possess it too. It's there in all of us, waiting to be discovered. 

Seek out what you love, and Olympic strength can be yours!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin August 18, 2008 at 5:46 am

Hi there Lance

I like the way you have written about this! I too think it’s important to find what sets our spirit on fire, and that’s where we’ll find our strength.

I might say one thing – I have noticed, from watching athletes on the telly over the years, that they often eat rubbish! I mean, things like white bread, meat pies. processed foods – no brown rice, tofu or steamed veggies in sight!

Cheers – Robin

Robins last blog post..Reincarnation… A Scenario

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Leanne Magraith August 18, 2008 at 6:06 am

Getting a balance of body mind and spirit also helps me too because I seem to have found that the more balanced I am the stronger I feel too.

Leanne Magraiths last blog post..Let’s Pull Faces in the Mirror

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Writer Dad August 18, 2008 at 8:30 am

Each and every one of us have it. It’s just about digging deep enough to pull it to the surface. Have a great day.

Writer Dads last blog post..Big Sloppy Thanks

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Mark Salinas August 18, 2008 at 9:21 am

I always look forward to your insight….balance of spirit, mind and body. Nice post!

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Stacey / CreateaBalance August 18, 2008 at 9:41 am

I, of course, agree with the importance of balancing spirit, mind, and body (it’s exhausting just thinking about it). Sometimes I feel I am living my own Olympics of life >>> Creating a writing practice, creating a healthy eating/exercise practice, creating a spiritual practice for my children full of new and old traditions, creating a decluttering practice, creating a healthy finance practice…I can go on and on.

Hmm… This is beginning to sound like a new post for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

Stacey / CreateaBalances last blog post..Why Read My Words

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Chris - Zen to Fitness August 18, 2008 at 9:48 am

Great post, got this on my iPhone while out and about and was very impressed. I’m posting now while watching the olympics! Balance is hugely important and right now my focus is on the mental side and quieting down my mind through relaxation/napping and meditation.

Chris – Zen to Fitnesss last blog post..Arthur De Vany – Evolutionary Fitness

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Bamboo Forest August 18, 2008 at 11:32 am

A good break down of the profundity of the Olympic pursuit. Olympic athletes are very special. And, as you have pointed out – we can learn a lot from them.

Bamboo Forests last blog post..How to Live a Life of Freedom

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Bobbi August 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I love this post! I need more of that strength, and I am incouraged by there ability and mindset. I love the Olympics!

Bobbis last blog post..The Hills Are Alive!

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chris August 18, 2008 at 2:44 pm

As a former competitive athlete, the strenght of mind is the key. This is what separates the best from the mediocre.

I can only speak from my experience. I lost the edge when I lost my mental focus. Physically I was still dominant but mentally I became weak. So, I walked away from competitive tennis.

In addition, all the tournaments that I won was a result of my mental focus and not my physical prowess. In fact, most of the time, I was out gunned by bigger and stronger oponents. But my will to win never let me down.

To be successful you have to have the following Heart, Mind, Body…precisely in this order.

chriss last blog post..Car Chronicles On Location: Nobody’s Perfect

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Annette August 18, 2008 at 3:02 pm

such wisdom in your words 🙂 I have found great motivation and inspiration through the athletes. Their spirit is what I strive to have…….that, to me, is the one that I have lacked in the past.

Annettes last blog post..A Quick Ramble and Another First

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Marelisa August 18, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Lance: Long jumper Irving Saladino won Panama’s First Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing. I’m so proud of him! When he was young he didn’t have financial backing, or a great gym to train in, in fact, I understand he didn’t even have proper shoes. And he comes from a tiny banana republic. Now that’s physical, mental, and spiritual strength!

Marelisas last blog post..Making Time to Create

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Lanceman August 18, 2008 at 7:31 pm

@Robin – OK, I guess I can’t vouch for what their diets are!! Right on about where the fire is, that’s where we’ll find our strength.

@Leanne – Great point, the more balanced we are the stronger we are. We can’t rely on just one of these, they all are important.

@Writer Dad – That’s right, each of us possess it, we just have to find where it is for each of us.

@Mark – Thanks, balance is the key!

@Stacey – it can be exhausting just thinking about it. Especially when we have lots going on in our lives (like you do!). And that makes it even more important. That we determine what is important to us, and how to best use our strength in the Olympics of our life — I like that saying!!

@Chris – Zen to Fitness — Thanks! Sometimes one area will take precedence over another, and that’s ok, as long as we don’t forget about the other areas.

@Bamboo Forest – the Olympic athletes really are a special group of people, especially when you think about what they have been able to accomplish. It is the true definition of Olympic strength.

@Bobbi – We can be so close to accomplishing whatever it is we want to, but because one of these areas “gives up”, we don’t achieve what we had hoped. So close, yet so far. For me, it’s spirit that I think I need the most work on…

@Chris – Tennis, eh? That sounds fun (well, in a non-competitive sort of way)! The mind, and spirit, I think, can really be the difference between good and great. No matter what the strength is. The best athlete is not always the strongest physically…

@Annette – Yes, I think too, that spirit is the hard one. But I also think, that what’s hard for me might be easy for someone else. So, I’d say we’re in the same boat – workin’ on the spirit! These athletes are great inspiration!

@Marelisa – That’s awesome! What a well-deserved medal! Some people train in elite facilities with great coaches to get to the Olympics. Others struggle to get by. One is not necessarily better than the other, but it sure is a feel-good story when you hear of someone like Irving Saladino whose has overcome great odds to become not only a competitor, but the best in the world. That is inspiring!!

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Vered August 18, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Another inspiring article! Above all, I agree that we should never stop learning. I believe research even shows that constant learning sows down the aging process.

Vereds last blog post..Top 10 Fashion Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs

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Davina August 18, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Hi Lance. I like how you’ve approached this from 3 different perspectives. Three things that make me come alive and support these perspectives are: dancing, writing and being in nature.

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Barbara Swafford August 19, 2008 at 3:29 am

Hi Lance,

I love your post. It encapsulates all that goes into making a winner.

P.S. Did I win a gold medal?

Barbara Swaffords last blog post..NBOTW – He Had Me With “Hello”

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Lanceman August 19, 2008 at 5:03 am

@Vered – Learning, yes – so important. And it doesn’t mean just through school. We can learn for so many resources – school, books, friends, computer, mentors, etc.

@Davina – That’s a great point, that if have something in each one of these categories that make us feel alive, then we are much more likely to continue improving in that area.

@Barbara – Thanks! And, yes, you’ve won the gold – you’re awesome!!

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Dr. Cason August 19, 2008 at 6:21 am

You nailed it Lance!

Seek what you love. It brings you back to you.

Dr. Casons last blog post..The Ugly Side of Being a Doctor

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Evelyn Lim August 19, 2008 at 8:53 am

I enjoyed this article. Well written and excellent point about balancing mind-body-spirit!

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Kelly@SHE-POWER August 19, 2008 at 5:48 pm

I like how you make us all feel like there is something personal we can take away from the Olympics, Lance. I find strengthening the mind and spirit easier than the body though because I like my earthly pleasures too much!

Kelly

Kelly@SHE-POWERs last blog post..The Smiling Dog in the Mirror

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FitMom August 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Love this post. I KNOW that the strength of mind is my weakness. Need to learn how to strengthen it. Making me think again. Or this particular subject is one in which I need to read more, learn more and THINK more positive thoughts.

FitMoms last blog post..Dreaming big and laughing out loud

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Lanceman August 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm

@Dr. Cason – I like that — seek what you love, it brings you back to you!

@Evelyn – Thanks!

@Kelly – Thanks! Earthly pleasures – they can be sooo good (and sometimes sooo bad)! I struggle at times too (like when I walk through the kitchen).

@FitMom – You’ve hit on a great point – we need to first identify where it is that our weakness is — before we can do something about it.

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Avani-Mehta August 20, 2008 at 1:34 am

Lance, This is a wonderful article. Watching athletes perform is like watching magic – which they have created through sheer dedication and hard work. It’s amazing what we can achieve if we commit wholly to it – as you have aptly mentioned – by strengthening body, mind and spirit.

Avani-Mehtas last blog post..Decoding Anger – Anger Management Series Part I

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Lanceman August 20, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Avani – It is amazing – the athletes at the Olympics exhibit this dedication to real strength – and we can too!

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scheng1 May 6, 2010 at 11:37 pm

That’s true. Sometimes a little mouse can roar! There is a Chinese saying that situational need can produce a hero.
.-= scheng1´s Last Fabulous Post ..Healthy eating and Raw Food Diet =-.

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