Perhaps you are one of the many people around the world
watching the Olympics. Robert and I choose not to have a TV,
so I don’t get to see much, but I do find it inspiring
whenever I see world class athletes in action.
These young women and men are extremely talented, but talent
alone does not get them to this level. Excellence in any
field requires talent plus many years of focused dedication
and determination. These young women and men deserve all the
admiration and applause we can give them for their
achievement of getting to compete at Olympic level,
regardless of whether they bring home a medal or not.
And for each brilliant athlete, there is a whole team of
people who are essential to their success, who also deserve
our recognition. Coaches, team mates, drivers,
nutritionists, physiotherapists and others all have a vital
part to play in the final results on the track and in the
water. Yet these remain largely invisible and unknown to the
world at large.
So how are we to judge the effectiveness and success of the
many who do not make it to this level? And what about others
who play a supportive role, without ever getting their name
in the paper?
To shift models for a moment – when it comes to a film
everybody knows the names of the Stars, and perhaps the
Director, maybe even the Script writer and Producer. Yet it
takes many, many more people to produce a film than that
handful of well-known names and faces.
Even amongst actors, the skill of the character who appears
in just one scene can be as great, or even greater than the
Star – and as essential to the success of the movie as a
whole. Yet in our skewed system of values, actors who don’t
become well known names are generally considered to have a
lesser career. Is this really so?
Should a Physiotherapist who runs competitively without
ever be placed in an event, consider herself a failed
athlete? Or should she be proud of the skill she brings to
her profession, brought about by her dedication and
determination to perfect her craft?
I am firmly of the opinion that every human being is gifted
in some way. I believe we each have a special something to
give the world. Our skills and talents, and the challenges
and difficulties we face and overcome, come together to
create our own unique way of doing things, a way of
expressing ourselves which is vitally important for the
planet as a whole. We each have a piece of the global
jigsaw, a part that only we can play. If we don’t give our
gift – nobody else can.
And when it comes to giving our gift, it really doesn’t
matter whether we are international Super Stars, or the
check-out operator who lights up the lives of tired shoppers
with a World Class smile. All that matters is that we find
what we are good at – and do it to the best of our ability.
The planet needs us to dedicate ourselves to becoming World
Class in our own lives. It is our responsibility to
recognise and develop our own talent – and pursue that with
the same dedication that the Olympians give to their sport.
Unfortunately most of us have not had our talent spotted and
nurtured. We have gone through an education system which
values some limited forms of intelligence (maths and
language skills and sporting prowess) and been completely
blind to others (such as the ability to know when someone is
unhappy and how to comfort them).
As adults, some people find their way to the field of
endeavour that suits them, set their own direction and live
happily fulfilled lives.
Others don’t. When it comes to life, how many of us are
swimmers trying to be gymnasts, or musicians who haven’t
found our instrument? How many of us are failing because we
are trying to ‘compete’ in an arena we are simply not suited
If you are feeling like you’ve failed right now, is it
possible that you are judging yourself by the wrong
standard? If everything seems to be a struggle, and nothing
is giving lasting joy, perhaps the goals you set yourself
aren’t the right ones? Are you a long distance runner
trying to be a sprinter? Or a character actor who thinks
you’ve failed for not becoming a Star?
I will talk some more in the next issue about how to listen
to the inner voice that guides us to find our true place.
For now take some time to ponder the questions: What makes me
happy? What do I REALLY want out of life?
Have a wonderful week!
With much love
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