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How Olympic athletes are staying resilient

The pressure to stay game-ready

When you’re the best in the world, the amount of stress it takes to gain that 1% (or less than that) improvement to maintain your top form is extraordinary.

Being the best in the world only amplifies the pressure to stay game-ready.

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How Olympic athletes are staying resilient

How Olympic athletes are staying resilient

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200506-how-olympic-athletes-are-staying-resilient

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Anticipatory emotions

These feelings are triggered by the anticipation of a future event that cause you to either prompt you to take comfort in an inevitable success or, conversely, to feel alarmed about an imminent failure.

Adjusting your expectations can be tricky, but in most cases, once the event has transpired, you can find at least partial relief in knowing the outcome.

The pressure to stay game-ready

When you’re the best in the world, the amount of stress it takes to gain that 1% (or less than that) improvement to maintain your top form is extraordinary.

Being the best in the world only amplifies the pressure to stay game-ready.

Tackling loss

  • In order to move forward and tackle a loss, first lean into your disappointment and anger. It may also be helpful to keep a journal as a way to come to terms with your predicament and ensure your future actions are in line with your emotional well-being.
  • The next step is to create and maintaining a new routine, a critical piece in keeping yourself game-ready.

Staying game-ready

Staying game-ready requires finding a process that allows for continual adjustment.

By preparing too early and holding too tightly to one idea, you can restrict yourself from doing your best work.

Using seatbacks in your favor

Research shows that experiencing an unexpected setback can give anyone the fuel to propel ahead later in their career, and eventually live longer and more successful lives as a result.

It takes time and work to steer your negative emotions into a productive direction, but the benefits of doing so can be well worth the effort.

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Keeping close relationships

Forced separation, while new to most, is a fact of life for the world’s migrants. Many continue close ties with relatives, despite years or decades of physical distance.

Phone calls

Video communication can be too draining and may make feelings of separation more intense. Written communication can feel too impersonal and may not be accessible to people with visual impairments.

Migrant families rely on phone calls for almost all of their communication as calls are intimate and convey emotions without the constant visual reminders of separation.

Communicate to connect

Migrants greet something like this: "I send greetings to you to my grandchildren, to my daughter-in-law, and to all those who surround you."

Such elaborated greetings articulate family relationships that stretch across space. They continually create and re-create connections despite the distance.

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Smile ≠ happy
Smile ≠  happy

Those who smile often are thought of as more likeable, competent, approachable, friendly and attractive.

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Duchenne smile

Duchenne was interested in the mechanics of facial expressions, including how the muscles of the face contract to produce a smile.

The Duchenne‘ smile is long and intense, though it involves the contraction of just two muscles. First the zygomatic major, which resides in the cheek, tugs at the corners of the mouth, then the orbicularis oculi, which surrounds the eye, pulls up the cheeks, leading to the characteristic ‘twinkling eyes’.

Fear smile
“When bonobo chimpanzees are afraid they’ll expose their teeth and draw their lips back so that their gums are exposed,” says Zanna Clay, a primatologist at the University of Birmingham.

In babies, a broad grin can either mean they’re happy or distressed and studies have shown that men tend to smile more around those considered to be higher status.

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Postponing the 2020 Olympics
Postponing the 2020 Olympics

The postponement of Tokyo 2020 was not a decision taken lightly: it came after the pressure to cancel or delay the event due to the risks of the new virus.
The financial blow of canceling the ga...

The 1916 Summer Olympics

The Berlin Games were canceled due to the outbreak of World War I in July 1914.

Organizers initially thought that the war would be over by Christmas but an armistice was not reached until November 1918.

The 1940 and 1944 games

Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan, had been originally set to host the 1940 Olympic Games (summer and winter), making them the first non-Western cities selected to host. But the war between Japan and China started in July 1937 and made the Japanese government decide to lose their right to host the Games.
The new hosts: Helsinki, Finland (for summer) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany (for winter). But the outbreak of World War II caused the events to be canceled entirely, after the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939. The same happened with the 1944’s Summer Olympics in London and Winter Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Working Hard

"Work Hard" is one of the oldest pieces of advice for success. According to the author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to attain mastery.

...

40 Hours A Week

Truly working 40 hours in a week is rare because just completing your work hours doesn't amount to real work. 40 hours of great work output can come from 60 or more hours of 'regular' work.

Work can also take many different forms, and is not confined to the working that is 'visible'.

Work Becomes Play

Discover something you love to do, that you’re good at doing, and that you can get compensated for.

When work becomes play, it doesn't stress us out and doesn't seem to exhaust us. Work that is fun for us, becomes great work. Joyful, meaningful work is one of the keys to being successful.

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Anticipatory grief
Anticipatory grief

Conventional grief, the kind of grief that occurs after the loss of a loved one, or even loss of one’s dreams, is commonly discussed and understood.

Anticipatory grief is a lesser-known...

A Cauldron Of Emotions

Grief involves anger and loss of emotional control, often a state of confusion.

Anticipatory grief, for those who experience it, is sometimes even more severe and stressful. It does not lessen the burden of actual grief after the loss has been experienced, and is not a substitute for it..

Purpose of Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief is a chance of closure and personal growth which comes at the end of life. It is a chance to reconcile differences and heal the heart with forgiveness.

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Mental Health During Lockdown

All over the world, governments have implemented lockdowns, restricting all non-essential travel, closing all the places where people can gather.

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  • Small things: Self-isolation can be dealt with ‘micro-lifts’, small, quick activities like saying hi to someone on FaceTime, joining an online group, or learning a bit of a new language.
  • A healthy diet: While it can be tempting to just sit on the sofa with zero movements, or snacking all day, it is a good idea to eat well, and eat healthily.

Engage With Nature

Whatever the limits and constraints, try to get some nature exposure and exercise, even in a garden, terrace or balcony. You can also take care of the houseplants or open the windows to let fresh air in the room.

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Data and how it frames your thinking
Data and how it frames your thinking

What’s more important than how much data you have is how it frames the way you think.

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Thomas Bayes'd thought experiment

He wondered how he could predict the probability of a future event if he only knew how many times it had occurred, or not, in the past. Bayes figured out that even when it comes to uncertain outcomes, we can update our knowledge by incorporating new, relevant information as it becomes available.

His theorem describes the probability of an event, based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event.

Importance of using probabilistic thinking

Data can be imperfect, incomplete, or uncertain. Most of the time, there is more than one explanation for why things happened the way they did; by examining those alternative explanations using probability, you can gain a better understanding of causality and what is really going on.

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We need to take chances

We do not like to take a chance and put in a great effort, only to be rejected. Yet, if you don't take up the opportunity for fear of rejection, you will never realise your dream.

Re...

We find rejection upsetting

Even though rejection is seldom life-threatening, we always find it upsetting because of our interdependence. The more we value the approval and opinion of the person who's judging us, the more upset we'll be if they reject us.

Make rejection work for you

Instead of trying to avoid rejection, you can make rejection work for you. 

Be prepared to be rejected. Do not take a rejection personally. Rejection is part of the process. Instead of focussing on yourself, try and find out what is lacking. Be determined to improve.

As long as you have a dream, keep going. The result will be that you will create something even better.

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Jessie Owens defies Adolf Hitler

The 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany were supposed to demonstrate the Aryan racial supremacy. But Jesse Owens, a black athlete, won gold in the 100m, 200m, the 4 x 100m relay, and the long jump.

After the latter event, German athlete Carl Ludwig Long was the first to congratulate Owens, and the two walked arm-in-arm to collect their medals. It took a lot of courage for Long to befriend Owens in front of Hitler, something that Owens had great admiration for at that moment.

A landmark for disabled athletes

In 1948, UK neurologist Sir Ludwig Guttman, who worked with war veterans suffering from spinal injuries, added sport into his patients' rehabilitation program.

Others started copying Guttman's methods, and athletic competitions ensued. At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Guttman brought 400 wheelchair athletes to compete in the Parallel Olympics. Since then, the Paralympics have gone from strength to strength.

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