Did you see it? Sunday night LIVE, Michael Phelps and three other US Olympic swimmers swam the relay race of their lives. They were not supposed to win. The French team was talking smack, saying they had come to ‘smash’ the Americans. The American team posted the French team’s comments in the locker room and didn’t respond. They went about their business. And they swam. They swam like they had never swum before! The final leg, America was behind almost a full body length. The French team was in the lead. Even the announcers thought the race was over. They said the US couldn’t win gold but maybe they could hold onto silver even though Australia was very close. But did the US team give up? Did they accept silver? No way! They pushed themselves. They stretched and reached for their dream. And in the last second, the last American caught the French and reached past him to win the gold! It was the most exciting race I’ve ever seen. And I’ve watched a lot of races in the Olympics. I’ve seen Michael Phelps win several of his gold medals, but I’ve never seen him so fired up! It was truly an American dream-come-true moment!
Boy was it fun to cheer. And we could so easily gloss over the win and move onto the next race, but let’s pause and look at the valuable life lessons in that relay race. One, use what others say to motivate you to do your best. Whether it’s positive or negative. Don’t get in an argument with them. Just do your work. Concentrate on what you have to do. Two, never give up. NEVER. EVER.
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run the with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
We all have our own race. I feel so often that writing each book is a race for me. Schooling my kids is also another race I’m busy with. What’s your race? So many distractions get in the way. It’s hard to get up early. There’s so many things to do rather than write. What’s distracting you today? What’s hindering you? I’ve had others put down writing. When I was up for an award early on in my writing, someone said, “What’s the prize, an ice cream cone?” Ouch. I’ve had painful critiques. What are others saying that is affecting how you think you can write, swim, run or whatever? Listen to what they’re saying, learn from it. But don’t let it pull you down. If it’s it’s positive don’t let that distract you. Can you imagine how distracting it must be for Michael Phelps to hear every day how he’s supposed to win 8 gold medals? Anything less will be a disappointment to the media. But he has to concentrate on EACH gold medal. Not get distracted. And he couldn’t listen to the nay-sayers either. He used the negativity (you can’t win the 4X100 relay) to motivate him. So, write, school, run, swim, just ‘do it.’ Do it to the best of your ability.