Are there any other Olympic fans out there? Can I get a big “Whoop, Whoop?”
Seriously, these games are kind of killing me; going to bed after 11:00 so I don’t miss anything good (or falling asleep on the couch because I can’t pull myself away) and waking up at 5:00. Holy cow, I’m tired! Whose idea was it to put this event at the very beginning of the school year when we are still adjusting to early mornings?
But, man alive, it is utterly fascinating to see what the human body is capable of doing. Not my body, mind you. I’m pretty sure I was not designed for such athleticism. My experience as a hurdler on the 7th-grade track team cemented that one for me; I’m still scared of jumping over those things.
And my childhood dream of being a gymnast was somehow thwarted when I didn’t stop growing until I was 5’9″. Perhaps I would be better suited for beach volleyball. I’m pretty sure I could rock the bikini like Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross (but you will never know). Plus, look at the size of Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson compared to the gymnasts.
But tell me, have you been following Michael Phelps’ journey? From highly successful Olympian to DUI arrest to contemplating suicide before reading a Christian book (“The Purpose-Driven Life” by Rick Warren) that, as he told ESPN,
Turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet. (source)
That transformation led him back to the pool to prepare for Rio, where he won six gold medals and one silver, cementing his status as the most decorated Olympian in history. After many of those races, he physically struggled to get out of the pool because he put every ounce of strength he had into racing. I was inspired just watching, and that was before I saw this (you simply must take one minute to watch):
I especially love the quote at the end:
It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.
I have not been able to stop thinking about that profound statement since I watched this video for the first time a few days ago. We do not see what goes on behind the scenes to make these athletes so amazing. They work harder than we realize to train their bodies and minds to be ready for the rigors of competition.
What I love about that thought-provoking statement, however, is that it not only rings true in the context of sports but also in the arena of life. I believe that the things people choose to do when nobody is watching are the best indicators of who they truly are because those actions are raw and unfiltered. It is easy to put on a show for other people, but what happens in private moments when the pressure to perform is off, and where will those choices ultimately lead? To greatness, ruin, or somewhere in between?
I don’t know about you, but I do not always make good use of my time or work as hard as I should. There is a myriad of distractions at any given moment, and I tend to go down the rabbit hole of information, getting lost in the search and emerging with little of value. Sitting down to look at social media for a minute can easily turn into an hour of wasted time. Then, at the end of the day, I wonder why I didn’t accomplish much and why my goals still seem so far out of reach, even though it feels like I have been working on them forever.
Maybe; just maybe it is because I am not giving my all in those moments when I am alone. Perhaps I need to reevaluate how I am spending the minutes and hours of daily living that seem so insignificant, slip quietly away, but eventually add up to a lifetime. More than anything, I want my life to be a collection of fulfilling pursuits and experiences that add value to the world around me. That will not happen if I waste my days chasing (or getting distracted by) things that don’t matter.
Today I am making a plan that will (hopefully) slow the time-wasting drain. I am not very good at creating plans, you guys, but I am going to give it my all. For now, that involves limiting my time on Facebook because that place and I are currently struggling with our friendship, and it is sucking all of the good energy right out of me.
What about you? Is there anything that you are doing in the dark that is keeping you from enjoying the light? Is there something that you could add or subtract from your life in order to hone your focus and direct your efforts into things that will bring you more joy and satisfaction?
Would you be willing to join me on a quest to create a more meaningful and productive life by choosing one thing that is holding you back and working on it this week? I would love some company on this journey. Together we can make a difference for ourselves, our families, and, by extension, the world around us, one step at a time.
P.S. While my social media presence may be scarce for a little while as I figure out how to be more productive there without losing my sanity, I love to interact with my readers via email; that is the best way to connect with me. You can sign up for my email list here if you haven’t done that yet, and get a free email course as my gift to you (which you can opt out of and still receive email updates):
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