Going for Gold in Life

UPDATED: May 5, 2008
PUBLISHED: May 5, 2008

In Beijing this summer we’ll see those five brilliant, interlocking Olympic rings on flags, TV and billboards. The world’s best athletes will compete for gold and the triumphant will stand, listening to their national anthems on the winner’s platform. They come from different countries, diverse cultures and they represent a variety of sports. But the peak performers all have something in common—traits and attitudes that make them champions in sport and in life.

The first trait of winners is belief in their dreams. Performance is not a measure of value; it’s a reflection of it. You perform up to the expectation that you and significant others have of you in advance. So the expectation equals motivation. And motivation is an inner force that compels behavior.

The most important belief you will ever have is about your potential. Why would you be motivated to learn if you didn’t think you were worth the effort? You must look at yourself as an uncut gemstone of potential—a diamond in the making that only needs to be cut and polished with experience, skills and knowledge.

Belief is the single most important thing. I believe I can do something more than I am doing, and I won’t let anything stop me. You project on the outside what you feel on the inside. The most important opinion you will ever have is the one in your head. That makes you your greatest coach.

How do you increase your worth and project the belief in yourself? Give your name first when you meet someone. Smile because it’s a light in the window to let someone know you care. Don’t use trial and error; read biographies of people who have overcome the most to become successful. The most successful people read the most. Use mentors. There are dozens of ways to increase your belief in yourself.

With a belief in yourself you can cultivate your talents. Talent is inborn. You will never have another ounce of talent because it was given to you at the moment you were conceived. It’s a combination of all the marvelous things that came before you. For example, the ability to hold a scalpel steady is inborn; musical talent is inborn. There are 19 natural gifts that have been discovered. Your job is to dust off and uncover your talents so they can bud and blossom.  The things you love to do in the evenings and on Saturdays are where your talents lie.

Believe in your talents. Believe in your worth.