“A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer.”
Olympic Gold Medalist
Wonderful words! They popped out of an excited young woman after winning a gold medal in the 4×4 relay. She and her three teammates had just boiled the water in a thrilling race. After it was over, they were asked about how relaxed they seemed to be. Moments before the race began they were taking selfies and laughing.
“A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer” — I think this young dynamo is onto something. The women’s U.S. gymnastic team, which also won a gold medal, is another group of happy campers. Simone Biles, who just won gold for the woman’s best all-around gymnast, is known for her sunny personality. As one sports reporter observed, “Bile’s joy is contagious. To end the team’s qualifying, she performed on the balance beam, then ran off to embrace her teammates in a happy, sparkly huddle.”
“She’s a huge role model of mine, honestly,” Dannell Levya, a member of the U.S. men’s gymnastic team said of Simone. “I’ve been trying to emulate the way she goes about her gymnastics. She enjoys it. The last two years, just watching her really helped me enjoy my gymnastics more.” Joy. Is that the secret sauce that spices her success?
Carefree, yet fierce — that’s how Simone Biles and Kohei Uchimura, the legendary Japanese gymnast, have been described. To me, this sounds like a winning attitude, whether your field of play is a 4-inch wide balance beam or an 8×11 page. Having a relaxed, yet focused approach can make a all the difference in our own work. This is how we enter the zone — that magical land where words flow and time stand still. And when we add joy to the mix, the sky’s the limit.
Whether we’re pushing through a rough draft, polishing a story, or noodling around an idea for a novel, let’s take a tip from Olympian athletes who are admired by their peers for their joyful, playful attitude. Despite the thousands of hours of practice, the early mornings and sacrifices, the tumbles and disappointments, these outstanding performers love what they do and it shows — in their work ethic and their results.
We all know that writing isn’t easy. There are plenty of moments in the valley where we feel confused and lost. Plenty of times where failure seems to be our only friend. And yet, if we can find joy in the journey, if we can be grateful for the chance to do something we love, then we can rise above whatever comes our way.
So let’s “hum a merry tune” today. Let’s play. Let’s have fun. Let’s be carefree, yet fierce — and write on!