Becoming an Olympian requires more than just superhuman athletic ability and strength—it also calls for an uncanny ability to bounce back from failure and persevere in the face of what may seem like unsurmountable odds. And while the world may envy their physiques, eating habits, and the number of gold medals slung around their necks, we're endlessly fascinated with the spirit and mental toughness of Olympic athletes.
Thanks to New York magazine's Brad Stulberg, we can begin to tap into the positivity, willpower, and mental endurance that propels Olympic athletes forward. Put simply, those that will be representing our country in Rio on Friday tend to focus on the process of achieving something great, as opposed to the end goal. In other words, they take things one day, one race, and one step at a time. That way when they do come into contact with unavoidable roadblocks, it's easier to bounce back from them.
"You wouldn't know it from browsing the self-help aisle of your local bookstore, but scientists are beginning to question whether focusing too much on goals runs counter to long-term performance and general well-being," writes Stulberg. He then goes on to cite a Harvard Business School report on the downsides of goal-setting, which include "reduced intrinsic motivation, irrational risk-taking, and unethical behavior." Focusing on the process, rather, requires a kind of superhuman concentration that keeps you in the "here and now, even during the pursuit of distant goals."
How do you bounce back from failure? Share your tactics below, and shop the official Olympics app to watch your favorite athletes in action.