Mar 17

Are you motivated enough?

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Are you motivated enough?

We’ve just had another successful Winter Paralympic Games. What stands out for me as an able-bodied person is how much we have to learn about motivation from people who have different physical and mental challenges to me. We hear a lot about can do versus a can’t do mentality. These Games have reminded us that the only limit to what we can do is ourselves.

Negative Filtering

I was taken with this quote from one of the Team Canada, Sledge Hockey team members:

Its not what is missing, its what is there….

Dominic Laroque

Yet what do most people tend to do? – they take the negative details from a situation and magnifying them while filtering out all the positive aspects. Something known as a cognitive distortion.

Laroque only has one leg, he doesn’t have the luxury of wondering what life would be like if he had two… so he has not constrained himself in terms of what he can or cannot physically do. However, lets not pretend it is easy for him but also reflect on the determination and motivation that took him to Beijing for the Paralympics.

Nothing is impossible

Lets turn our attention to Ibrahim Hamatou the Egyptian athlete. He has no arms, but is a highly successful table tennis player, using his mouth and feet. Here is what Ibrahim says:

Nothing is impossible. The disability is not in arms or legs. The disability is to not persevere in whatever you would like to do

People with disabilities have little choice. I heard one Paralympic athlete say that every day is hard, but they simply have to get on with it. Yet there are lots of people around who choose helplessness… and yet we see blind skiers who have simply found an alternative way to be successful at something they clearly enjoy.

Two questions

The first, in respect of Laroque’s quote – are you making the most of what is there?

The second in respect of Hamatou’s quote – if life isn’t working for you, are you persevering enough in those things that are important to you? Life, family, career etc.

If the answer to either question is ‘no’ then the question has to be what are you prepared to do about it? Here you have a choice, do nothing or do something. Do nothing is the easy path and is unlikely to get you the success that Laroque and Hamatou have achieved.

We can’t all be Olympic athletes, but we can achieve the satisfaction of knowing that we have the motivation to enjoy our lives to the fullest extent possible … and to actually DO it.

If you want one final reminder of what can be achieved, check out this video for the 2012 London Games:

One Of The Most Inspiring Ads Ever – London Paralympics – YouTube

The Coach

One thing that strikes you about the video is the extent to which the sports coaches push the athletes to their absolute limit… This might seem extreme, but it reminds me of a story I once heard about Daley Thompson. He was a British decathlete who won gold medals at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. After winning one of his medals, he called his coach and rather than reflect on his achievement they had a conversation about how he could have run an even better race in the last event. His family and friends were very happy with his achievement, but were puzzled the coach didn’t appear to be as over the moon as he was… Thompson replied “my coach is there for me”. He knows what I am capable of and he wants to help me to achieve my dreams, the medal is nice, but I want to achieve so much more.

This paraphrases the story quite a lot, but the other key element is, if you really want to succeed, get a coach. Back to the video, at the end you see that the coaches are there for their athletes – its about pushing you to achieve what you are capable of and more.  It’s also a form of leadership and to quote Steve Jobs:

Leadership is about inspiring people to achieve things they never thought they could…

Steve Jobs

Maybe you feel you have enough motivation and don’t need a coach. Maybe you are content to simply stay where you are. However, lets go back to what we said at the beginning “the only limit to what we can do is ourselves”. Something to reflect on in  the wee small hours…

If you need some help, why not give us a call?

P.S. Whilst I can empathise with Paralympians I cannot truly understand some of the challenges they have in life, because I simply don’t have mobility issues etc. However I do recognise that they show us how truly inspirational the human spirit can be in overcoming obstacles and reminding us how important it is that we live life to 100% of what we are individually able to achieve. I also have a fervent hope that one day we will watch “An Olympics” where everyone of all abilities and capabilities compete together in the same overall competition.

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