How Much Balance Do We Need to Excel and Succeed?​

How Much Balance Do We Need to Excel and Succeed?​

I’m a sucker for the Olympics. You name the sport—yes, even ones I don’t know or understand—and I can spend hours transfixed. Not because of the sport itself, although I often wonder how people chose that specific sport. But because these athletes use physical, mental, and emotional balance to excel and succeed at their sport.

I wonder how they can maintain all their balances to excel and succeed. Especially since athletes often win (or lose) by hundredths of seconds or centimeters. 

What can we learn from them to optimize our various balances?

Here’s what I’ve seen athletes do so far:

  • Remain in the present, especially if they suffered some defeat earlier. (It doesn’t appear to matter when—yesterday or four weeks ago. They see their reality.
  • Acknowledge the past, but don’t dwell on it. Successful athletes build personal resilience into everything they do.
  • Continually work on improving something. Not just in the past four (or more) years, but from yesterday to today.

I’m sure these athletes also have some physical abilities the rest of us mere mortals don’t have, but I suspect they use hard work, not just ability.

Remain in the Present with Senses

I’m pretty good at staying in the present unless something jolts me back to my childhood. Then, I tend to react just as I did before then. Yeah, not so mature here. To counteract that and stay in the present, I focus on my senses—what do I see, hear, feel, smell, and taste? That’s my reality. Otherwise, I can fool myself into believing I’m in the present.

Then, I can ask, “What am I responding to?” When I realize what forms my response, I can make better choices. 

Build Personal Resilience

Resilience is our ability to persevere. We might have to create new alternatives to persevere. Yesterday, I learned in the speed skater pursuit event that the skaters can now push the skater in front of them. The push transfers a little energy to the skater ahead of the pusher. Yes, that’s a legal move and a new alternative to make the team faster. 

I’ve experienced that little bit of energy. Every so often, my husband pushes my back so I can make it up a steep hill. I’m no speed skater—and never will be! But that little transfer of energy helps me. 

Continual Improvement

All these athletes are at the top of their games. Still, they experiment, making small adjustments so that they can find their next bit of excellence.

We can, too.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve made adjustments to my online teaching, writing, and exercise. So far, all my adjustments have created improvements. I’m sure I will choose an option that will make something worse. However, I can’t know what I could improve unless I consider more adjustments.

I don’t know how much balance you need, but I think we can learn a ton from watching how these athletes compete. Maybe you think we can learn something else from the athletes? Let me know. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the rest of the Olympics as much as I will.


I opened the Q2 2022 Writing workshop for registration. If you’d like to take the workshop, check out that page and add yourself to the writing workshop email list.​​

Read More of Create an Adaptable Life

If you only read the newsletter, I hope you also read the blog where I write a question of the week each week. Here are other links you might find useful:

Till next time,


© 2022 Johanna Rothman

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