The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics Teach Us This Important Lesson

blue-81847_1280The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics are doomed to fail, according to many sources. Google the grand event and headlines read, “Rio is Not in Shape: The Summer Olympics in Brazil look Shaky,” “Dustin Johnson withdraws from the Summer Olympic Games in Rio,” and “The Dark Side of the Rio Summer Olympics.” It’s clear a pessimistic mindset dominates the narrative. But what these perceptions fail to address is the underlying quality of the athletes. It’s the spirit of perseverance and can-do attitude indelibly ingrained into the hearts of these elite competitors which are a vital lesson to learn.

The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics Teach Us Perseverance

There is no doubt entrepreneurship requires a healthy combination of bravery, brains, and bullishness. But it also requires realistic skepticism and thinking things through before making rash decisions. It’s said brave people aren’t without fear, they simply learn to deal with it and overcome it smartly. When you go into business for yourself, you’ll face uncertainty on more than one occasion. The fear of the unknown is paralyzing to many but it’s not necessarily the end of the endeavor.

Entrepreneurship is not the glamorous career path it’s been made out to be. It’s not about big ideas and ideals. It’s not about hopes and dreams. It’s not about guts and glory. It’s not even about invention and innovation. And it’s certainly not about a search for fame and fortune. More than anything, entrepreneurship is a game of attrition. It’s about having the determination, the discipline, and the cash to see it through. It’s about not giving up and being the last man or woman standing when everyone else has fallen by the wayside. —

Times will test your will and circumstances will make you feel like giving up. It’s only humane nature to experience a dichotomy of thoughts and emotions. But this primordial phenomenon is innate for a good reason: it causes us to focus and consider all options. Frankly, it doesn’t matter which path you take when you open a business, regardless if it’s new or a franchise, you will face difficulties.

How to Keep Going when You want to Give Up

It’s easy to find examples of successful people who didn’t give up on their dreams: Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, Sir James Dyson, the list goes on and on. Each of these individuals persevered against great odds. Even James Cameron managed to overcome a huge mistake regarding his Terminator franchise, remarking to the Toronto Sun, “I wish I hadn’t sold the rights for one dollar.” That’s right, a franchise which has grossed an astounding $1.4 billion worldwide since its introduction. You too, can learn to keep going when you want to give up, by doing the following:

  • Measure how far you’ve come. Fatigue does play a significant factor in entrepreneurship. Sometimes, you can draw strength from recognizing it and turning it into motivation. Other times, it’s more difficult. So, take time to measure how far you’ve gotten and don’t downplay your level of success.
  • Be grateful about what you’ve accomplished so far. It’s not just enough to take stock in how far you’ve come, you must also consider what’s truly important. Perhaps you’ve gone from a time of wondering when you’ll have a regular income to dreaming and acting to expand your business. Be grateful for what you have, don’t let the fear of the future undermine your appreciation.
  • Get out of your rut. One of the most common traps business owners fall into is sticking with a routine that simply goes against changing realities of the marketplace. Clinging to old practices can be dangerous and give a false sense of security. Change things up and be willing to accept industry changes.
  • Act, but not impulsively. Fear can cause you to stop in your tracks — don’t let it. Keep pressing forward but don’t do so impulsively. You need to take action and step in the right direction or you will inflict more harm. One of my favorite quotes; “Action Trumps Everything”.
  • Recognize and accept futility. There is such a thing as futility and it’s very important to recognize and accept it. In some instances, giving up is the only sensible thing to do. But more often than not, there is a viable solution. If you cannot come up with a feasible workaround, it probably doesn’t exist.
  • GRIT it out! GRIT can actually be measured and studies have shown that it’s not the talented who succeed, it is those who are passionate and those who persevere. It’s called GRIT and those with true grit usually have a higher rate of success than those who have less grit. Read Angela Duckworth’s book, “GRIT … the power of passion and perseverance”.

What difficult situations have you faced and pulled through? What’s your number one strategy for persevering? Please leave your comments and join the discussion.

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