Off and on all week, I have a watched the 2016 Summer Olympics coverage from Rio. To be honest, I only follow gymnastics and swimming, but I am amazed by all the athletes dedication, passion, and focus on their field. I began to wonder, how many hours must they practice daily? What is their diet like? their self-talk before the competition? What does it take to reach that point?
In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field- that would amount to forty hours a week for about five years. Those who track the behaviors and requirements of star athletes say it requires much more than that. In addition to the thousands of hours of intense training and focus, it requires adequate rest, overall mental well-being and acuity, a "gold-medal mindset", which is persistent and positive, and a rigorous diet.
What if I adopted that "gold-medal mindset" to everything I do? I will never stand on the Olympic podium singing the anthem with thousands cheering, but I can dedicate my life daily to intentionally fulfilling the purpose God has for my life. There will be challenges, setbacks, nay-sayers, injuries, and a tremendous amount of time and financial investment in myself and my dreams, but with God as my Coach and the Holy Spirit as my Guide, I will win gold.
In the scriptures, Paul often uses the metaphor of life as a race and a fight. He admonishes me to fight the good fight of faith and run the race with patience. It takes thousands of hours studying the Word, daily fortifying ourselves, and having the "gold-medal mind" of Christ. In the end, I always win against the adversary.
The last thing athletes must have is a vision for gold. They see themselves winning, they train themselves to win, and they are surrounded by people who want to see them win. As my vision for my life becomes clearer, I have to envision success and surround myself with people who share that same vision. We can all take a lesson from the athletes and live our lives with excellence, persistence, dedication and vision for our own Olympic gold.