I am not a faithful follower of sports but I do enjoy watching various competitions from time to time and of course, I’m taking in some of the Olympic events. While watching Shaun White Tuesday night, a thought came to me that I believe applies to many of us. Our mind is most of our battle. Here is this amazing athlete who has consistently been at the top of his field. I love watching him not only for his visually effortless execution of difficult moves but also for his personality. He always seems to have a smile on his face and appears to embrace life with passion. He is gracious even in his losses, hugging and congratulating his competition in what must have been a deeply disappointing moment for him. That night I saw a person who can deliver, hands down above the rest, do something quite uncharacteristic. It wasn’t a horrendous performance, just simply not enough to win. And it was not because he no longer has the ability. He proved himself clearly in the qualifying round. It was because something got into his head that got in the way.
Isn’t that how it is for many of us? We know we can keep our anger from destroying those around us. We know we are equipped to do our job well. We know we can speak from an authentic place. We know who we are and what we are ok with. We know others don’t define us. We know we can stay away from our addiction. And yet, moments arise when all the positive things we know go out the window and the negative voices are so loud we do the very thing we have worked so hard not to do.
Sometimes we throw down a gold medal performance, sometimes we get fourth and sometimes we are dead last. Anything less than what we are capable of can be utterly discouraging. We can feel so defeated we want to quit and walk away from all of our hard work. Remember, it is just a moment in a compilation of millions of moments. This one moment does not define you. I will not remember Shaun White placed fourth at the 2014 Olympic Games. I will remember his smiling face, his zeal for life and mostly, how he will live on as one of the greatest snowboarders in history.