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On the Olympics

Three things about the Olympics: Infectious, In Your Face & Inspiring 

London 2012 was infectious. I am now a fan of the Angolan Women's Basketball team - merely because I ended up getting tickets to one of their games. It was fab, as was the rich and informative TV coverage of all the other sports. Only a fully committed, card-carrying sport-phobic could resist the lure of competition, the flare, the dazzle and the second by second changes of fortune on the court/pitch/track/pool.

Did you get tickets? And then show up in the park? A very slickly managed park it was too. Mainly. And your event. Did you notice how much of an 'event' it was? How much the razzmatazz was in your face? So much so that, sometimes, maybe the sport got sidelined? For example as soon as basketball play ceased - for one of the many timeouts or a quarter break - the entertainment kicked in. 38 seconds of dancing, kiss cam, mexican wave, quizzes, commentary and singing. It's as if the crowd was a feisty toddler and the arena a first time parent constantly wheeling out new toys to prevent the child from actually having to initiate a thought or action of its own. 

And what about inspiring? Boris got it right, "...it makes kids realise that effort is directly proportional to achievement" (R4 interview when, inevitably, he was asked to trudge back to last year's riots and then cast the Olympics into a meaningful context.) However (inevitably too) he did go on to use the C word during a well-intentioned national call to sporting arms ('Compulsory', in case you were wondering, a word sufficient to de-inspire those bookish types famous at school for re-routing even the most teacher-monitored cross-country circuits). Helen Mirren (pre-recorded, event-padding, big screen clip) sorted this out, "The Olympics is a place where we recognise the urge to do our personal best." And from my point of view this urge is what matters. But it's not just a sporting urge. 

The real inspiration of the Olympics is to find out what your own personal best could be, and then to become it. We've had two weeks training on what that looks like and on how other human beings do it - at least how sporty human beings do it. But, hey, guess what, the mindset and attitude is exactly the same whether your personal best will be on the track, in the pool OR in the office, in the kitchen, the garden, the workshop, lecture theatre, on the stage or in the operating room.

Let the Olympics inspire you, take its processes, its aspirations and mindset, but don't be constrained by its forms. There are 1,000 ways to succeed. Find yours and find your children's.

And if you missed it first time around, there's a whole lot more just around the corner. Sport doesn't care who you are.

Posted in: Mindset/Skillset
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