The response to last weeks post was extraordinary. There were more comments on the blog and more retweets than ever before. I was even asked to do a radio interview about it. The message was clear – we loved that feeling, how do we keep it?
Here are some suggestions…
1. Decide to keep it alive. Keeping the Olympic sprit alive is not something that others can do for us, it is something we do, individually, for ourselves. Keep it alive wherever you can, seek to be the very best you can be at whatever you do. Look for the things you are great at, practice, study and train until you can excel. It does not need to be a sport, it could be being a parent or some aspect of your job, there is fulfilment and joy in doing our best. And then through perseverance and practice doing even better.
2. Own it, don’t expect politicians, the media or anyone else to keep it alive for you. Outsourcing responsibility for the Olympic Spirit will ensure that it is eroded, compromised and reassigned. You know what the Olympic Spirit means to you. Hold onto it, take full responsibility for it and keep it alive in your life. Put posters, souvenirs or trophies on the wall to remind you and…
3. Follow or take up one of the Olympic sports that inspired you. Don’t be afraid to jump on the bandwagon of cycling, mountain biking, canoeing, rowing, running, diving, swimming, jumping, horse riding or just try several. We saw a dear friend during the Olympics, who discovered she was a passionate rowing fan. Inspired, she found a women’s rowing club nearby and joined. Do it – now – and keep doing it.
4. Don’t buy in to negativity and manipulation, whatever you experience, look for the positive. If you can’t find the positive in people, media or situations move on. Life is too short to live amongst negativity. Some of the most magnificent people we meet in life are the ones who are always positive and never have a bad thing to say about anyone. Surround yourself with positivity and be positive yourself. Even when the news looks bleak – there are always positive aspects to it.
5. Seek stories of human achievement. I find that the stories that move me the most are ones of human achievement. Whether it is sports, business, adventure or relationships, fact or fiction, I love stories of people overcoming the odds and doing something remarkable with their lives. I think we all do. Read the back stories of the athletes that inspired you in the games, watch movies and TV that inspires and boycott soaps and other dross that simply undermine the Olympic Spirit.
6. Support an athlete preparing for Rio in 2016. A 14 year old near you has their heart and body set on Rio 2012. Seek them out through schools and sports clubs and support them in whatever ways you can. If they make it to the Olympics that would be fabulous, if they don’t they, and you, have still done something outstanding that will set them up for years to come. Imagine the power, discipline and wisdom of a generation of Olympic aspirants running the country.
7. Have regular media holidays. Bad news exists and we cannot and should not bury our heads in the sand and pretend it does not, but much of what passes for news is not news at all, but sensationalist, cynical and negative manipulation of our fears and prejudices – a modern take on the monster myth, designed to inhibit people and keep them from being amazing. The Olympics gave Britain a media holiday, and you can take a media holiday anytime you like. I took a month long media holiday a few years ago and found myself to be far more discerning in my interpretation of news than I had been before. I could see through the propaganda and the manipulation far more than before. Now with online news aggregators like Flipboard and Google News, we can be our own editors, selecting the topics we want and balancing the bad news with the good. The “Cool” and “Offbeat” channels on Flipboard always provide an antidote to the more serious.
8. Inspire others. Take it upon yourself to be inspiring. As much as possible do and be your best. Be honest about your strengths and your weaknesses and pursue your authenticity. Help others to believe in themselves with encouragement and compliments. If you notice someone doing something well or behaving nicely, let them know it. My wife is brilliant at this and it is wonderful to see people light up and glow at the recognition. Think what it would mean to you to have your care, kindness, ability or talent recognised and offer that gift to others.
9. Imagine, dare to dream, to have a big vision, to hold onto it and pursue it. Olympic athletes are only there because they dared to dream big, to hold a vision that seemed impossible. Far to often we allow our dreams to be compromised by the fears of others. Have the courage to recognise your dreams and to articulate them as a vision. Make them visible and present in your life and start to plan for them. You are already on your way to making your dreams come true. All you have to do now is to persist until they do and not be discouraged by setbacks.
10. Be the change you want to see in the world. Few of us want a world of fear, violence, corruption and greed. By far the majority want a world of peace, love, fulfilment and happiness. The world we inhabit is a reflection of how the majority of us are in our thoughts, our words and our actions. When enough of us can live with peace and love, enough of the time the wolrld will also be that way.
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