Beating the Odds: Thinking Like an Olympian

We need to think like champions to beat the odds, such as winning the Olympics without any swimming skills, earning a PhD without a high school diploma, or making a billion when we’re in extreme poverty.  People are succeeding at all these things.  So, why not us? After all, we’re champions at heart.

I aim to win gold at the Olympics for my age despite relying on flotation devices a year ago.  Anything is possible for any of us, as I’ve read and listened to many high-performance psychology (audio)books that say the sky is the limit.  It all starts with setting the goal; the most exciting goals are the wildest.

But, with every wild dream, there are obstacles.  For instance, yesterday, I discovered that my swim coach swims for sixteen hours a week.  At best, I’m doing a meager three to four hours of swimming a week, plus about 3.5 hours of stationary cycling and 2 hours of weights.  My exercise duration is far from the ideal 16 hours of swim time.  Plus, I have constraints, such as only swimming on weekends.  No matter what we do in life, we’ll face constraints.  The trick is to maximize opportunity in light of those constraints.  For instance, I can swim a maximum of 5 hours on weekends; however, I’ve got to get that number to at least 10 hours total a week.  So, to get around constraints, we can make adjustments.  To illustrate, I can double my stationary cycling sprints to about 6 hours a week plus do 40 minutes of weight training three days a week, which brings me closer to the 16-hour mark, although with a mere fraction of it dedicated to swimming, as I can only swim on weekends.  So, what do we do after making adjustments that still don’t meet our goal? We set a seemingly impossible goal: In my case, I swim five hours on weekends and also swim on weekdays for 1.5 hours each day.

With that goal in mind, I negotiated an opportunity yesterday.  Namely, if I clean over ten items daily, including daily vacuuming and cleaning my desk, I can swim one to four extra sessions a month.  That could mean up to four additional hours of swimming each month.  One extra hour of swimming a week brings me closer to the goal of 16 hours.  It’s far away, but it’s progress, and it all starts with the goal.  We can realize anything impossible with goals.

I’ve also built extra mini treats to motivate myself with cleaning.  And we all need rewards to celebrate even our small wins.  For instance, after cleaning ten or more items on my list, I can savor any of the following treats:

  • Watch a fifteen-minute video on making documentaries.
  • Watch 15 minutes of YouTube shorts on sprinting or swimming.
  • Do 10 minutes of sprint intervals on my stationary bike.
  • Do a full 40-minute weightlifting workout.

Whatever treats excite us are most optimal when they advance our “impossible” dreams.

Yesterday, I discovered a method to learn outdoor running sprints and indoor swimming techniques rapidly.  I clicked on the YouTube video shorts in my phone app and scrolled through the shorts, viewing and liking all the instructional sprinting and swimming ones.  After ten minutes of liking these shorts, almost every short that appeared after that was a sprint or swim instruction.  After 20 minutes of rapid-fire shorts, I learned much about how to do proper crawl strokes like my heroes, Summer McIntosh and Maggie MacNeal, and run sprints like my heroes, Olympian Femke Bol and Jessica Zelinka.  It’s addictive and educational.  Also, to keep my motivation supercharged, I listen to audiobooks, such as How Champions Think by Dr.  Bob Rotella, all day while I work.  The more stimulus we pump into our souls about the dream, the more likely it will come true.

Today, I located a world multi-time Olympic champion swimmer who would be ideal to coach a loved one.  So, I connected with this coach on LinkedIn, and if my loved one wants to go ahead and compete in the Olympics, the budget will shift from me to him, assuming he and the coach are willing.  And then, when the budget increases, it’s back to game on for me, too.  But the game never stops when we’re gunning for the goal.  Our goals get more thrilling with every tiny win! It’s called defying the impossible.  We are all miracles with missions to accomplish.  So, what missions are burning inside of us? If we don’t know yet, I guarantee, we soon will!