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Friday, August 3, 2012

What the Olympics Is Teaching Me About Excellence

I've been watching the summer Olympics and am amazed at not only the abilities these young people have, but at the sacrifices they and their parents have made -- from financial contributions that sometimes require working extra jobs, getting up at the crack of dawn, driving long distances, and even being separated from them -- in order to train and qualify them for the Olympics. They are the cream of the crop. Sadly, sports broadcasters only focus on the top contenders. Some who aspire and sacrifice to make the Olympic team never make the cut. Those who do may never medal.

Everyone wants a gold medal. Though silver and bronze are still something to reach for, they do not hold the same sense of achievement as the lesser medals. Often, on a daily level, I am disappointed with my own performance. I want everything I do to produce gold medal results, but I have seen, that even the best Olympic contenders can lose--even the phenominal Michael Phelps. It is impossible to always be at the top of your game. What I have learned is that in order to attain a gold medal, or close to it, it takes a concentrated effort of learning what you need to know, practice, and finally, application. As we we do this, we come closer to excellence. If perfection is our goal, we will frequently be disappointed, but excellence is reachable.

However, we shouldn't let our quest for excellence eclipse our  life. Don't make achievement your only reason for exisitng. Take time along the way to ease back and enjoy yourself, in the end, it's not so much the end results that matter, but the journey of who you meet and what you learn along the way.

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Teena Stewart is author of The Treasure Seeker: Finding Love and Value in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father


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