Obsession with greatness
Our obsession with extraordinary success and fame blinds us to the simple and ordinary pleasures of life. Our reckless achievement drive often squelches the joy of being.
Take for instance the strikingly different examples of Michael Phelps and Ian Millar.
We remember Michael Phelps as the most successful Olympian of all time with twenty-eight medals while hardly anyone sings the glories of Ian Millar who at the age of 65, at the 2012 London Olympics, represented his country Canada in the equestrian event for the tenth time! Yes, you read right – he has taken part in the Olympics for over four decades, whereas Phelps- often considered as the greatest swimmer of all time retired at twenty-nine, and after the 2012 Olympics, declared, “I’m done, I’m finished, I want to be done with swimming, and don’t want anything to do with sports anymore.” Phelps was also arrested a few times for driving under the influence of alcohol and USA Swimming suspended him from all competitions for six months. Contrast Phelps’ frustrations with Millar’s words when at age 61, he won his first Olympic medal- silver, in the 2008 games. When asked about how he feels to be a sports icon, Millar said dismissively, “I don’t know what they are talking about. I just do the best I can, and the best competitor I can. I love it all; I love every moment of it. For me, it’s all fun.” For most sports fans Phelps is a hero, and there’s nothing wrong with that -he richly deserves so, but it’s the likes of silent Millar who happily fulfill Pierre Coubertin’s ideals.
The fact that the world celebrates Olympic champions is essential because it inspires many to struggle well and succeed. But if you aren’t a champion in the world’s eyes, you could still be a hero in your own right. And if the world showers no glories on you, should that be a matter of concern? Are we to sell our souls to the flashing cameras and starry-eyed fans who would care less if you are indisposed today? There is more to our lives than the judgments of this world. Your authenticity is more important for you than the Brexit or North Korea- US tensions on the nuclear race.
To be continued….