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Getting to the heart of the matter   

2008-07-25 23:24:34|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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What makes a championship athlete? Is it attitude, confidence, courage, desire, determination, discipline, endurance, fitness, mental toughness, perseverance, physical ability, self-discipline or visualization?

It's probably a little bit of all these characteristics. It's also a lot of heart. There's no denying the heart of a champion.

I'm headed to China for the Summer Olympic Games for 17 days, and I'm all fired up to experience the heart of the gold-medal winners. Watching the men's Wimbledon final was a great prelude. Having been a tennis tournament player, I've long been a tennis junkie, but that was the best match I've ever seen. Two greats—Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal—slugged it out with each other for nearly five hours. They gave it everything they had. They played with all their heart.

Muhammad Ali, whom many people consider the greatest boxer of all time, said: "Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

One of my favorite Olympic moments was from the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico. If you are a track and field fan, you probably know all about the "Fosbury Flop."

Dick Fosbury was a good high jumper and he seemed to have reached the maximum height his body could clear. His head told him that he had likely met his potential. His heart told him otherwise. He began to experiment with every different way a body could be propelled over the bar. The style he finally developed was different than anyone else had ever seen. His jump is done head first, with the flat of the back clearing the bar and then the knees are drawn up, jackknife fashion. When people first saw him do it, they went away shaking their heads.

But in the 1968 Olympics, Dick Fosbury set a new Olympic high-jump record and won a gold medal for the United States. It was a triumph born of fresh thinking, dogged experimentation and heart. Today, many of the world's best high jumpers base their jumping style on the "Fosbury Flop."

Heart matters in every human pursuit. In fact, I think it's safe to say that heart trumps just about all the other senses when it comes to accomplishing the new and the unknown. Your goal may sound crazy, feel all wrong, look questionable, smell like failure and leave a funny taste in your mouth. But let your heart rule, and prepare to be amazed at the results.

One of the greatest violinists of all time was Nicolo Paganini. Born in 1782, he had a long illustrious career before his death in 1840. One day as Paganini was about to perform before a packed opera house, he suddenly realized that he had walked out on the stage with a strange violin in his hands—not his own treasured instrument.

Panic-stricken, but realizing that he had no other choice, he began to play with all the skill he possessed. Everyone agreed afterward that he gave the performance of his life. When he was finished, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

In his dressing room after the concert, when he was praised for his superlative performance, Paganini replied, "Today, I learned the most important lesson of my entire career. Before today I thought the music was in the violin; today I learned that the music is in me."

It also takes a strong heart to be a successful businessperson. Use your head, to be sure, but don't ignore what your heart is telling you. As legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

The Lakota, a tribe of Native Americans, tell a story of the great spirit of creation, "Wakan Tanka." The story goes that after Wakan Tanka arranged the other six directions—east, south, west, north, above (the sky) and below (the earth)—the Seventh Direction remained to be placed. Because it was the most powerful, containing the greatest wisdom and strength, Wakan Tanka wished to place it somewhere it could not easily be found. And so it was hidden in the last place humans usually look—in each person's heart.

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