Dear E. Jean,
I’ve been watching the Olympics. How do I get as motivated as these athletes? Watching all this extraordinary achievement makes me feel like such a loser. And the worst part is I can’t stop watching them.
I’ve been glued to the TV since they started, and I mean glued! Tonight while I watched the gymnastics I ate three bowls of cereal and a plate of lasagna! God! Am I the only person who's stopped exercising completely and is doing nothing but getting fat watching Shawn Johnson and Michael Phelps? I want to be successful, too!
I keep watching and hoping I’ll find out what their secret is, but nobody can put it into words. Should I just hire a life coach? — Coach Potato Girl
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Miss Couch, My Kumquat,
Oh, but the Olympic stars are revealing the secrets of their success. (And I’m not talking about Michael Phelps disclosing that he eats 12,000 calories a day or Nastia Liukin saying she likes to keep her “legs together on the dismount.”) Anybody watching the games has picked up a few Tips of Triumph:
- Don’t focus on what’s wrong, concentrate on what’s right.
- When an opponent falters, seize the opportunity.
- Half the battle is knowing exactly what you want to do.
- Play to your strengths. Know what you’re good at. And concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.
- When you can’t go on, go on.
- And the single idea which seems to be shared by nearly every athlete: “I suffered all those horrid practices, pains, tears, sweat, blood, and set backs . . . and now that I’ve made it to Beijing, thank God I didn’t give up!”
As for hiring a life coach, well now. I’ve seen a couple of specimens on Oprah who were so brilliant that I gained a brain size just looking at them, but, alas, in the real world, 99 out of 100 life coaches are total douchers.
The motivation required to find a good coach (i.e. a coach who did not receive his “certification” from an online moron factory) and the patience needed to listen to his bull hockey if/when you do locate one, will waste any energy you have left.
Best to form a “Just Do It” group with your friends and enjoy a hilarious time energizing one another, or read Self-Reliance by the great Ralph Waldo Emerson. Old Ralphy will jam you so full of success strategies, you’ll run the 100 meters of life in 10 seconds flat.