Olympic Lesson

First published on 12th August 2012

I’ve been grabbed by a thought I really wanted to write down and share… here it is:

Watching the 2012 Olympics over the last 2 weeks I was struck by the colossal amount of inspiration that has come from the competitors, the staging of the events, the city of London, and us, our energy, positivity, excitement and enthusiasm.

We stopped doing what we seem to have learned to do almost as a default, complaining at small things and making them into big things and got swept away on the flow of good feeling that comes from seeing people achieve remarkable things. We remembered the pride and confidence we have as a nation and our amazing ability to make things happen.

As I watch the closing ceremony tonight I am gripped by the huge feeling of responsibility we have to (in the spirit of these games) create a ‘legacy’, make things different, better because of what we have witnessed… to learn our Olympic Lesson.

But what is this lesson? I’m sure many of us have been struck by many things, from the decency of the man who is Mo Farah to the purity and commitment of Jessica Ennis, but I think there is something bigger, something which can serve us all if we can be inspired by it, pick it up and apply this Olympic Lessons in our gritty real world, and it’s this…

If we as a country can achieve this, if we have this within us, what can we achieve if we put the same energy, focus, inspiration and resilience into building things, which are arguably more important than sporting achievement… things like:

  1. Quality of life: If we have economic problems and the ethics and structure of our financial institutions have not lived up to our highest expectations and have not served our best interests, how do we harness the talent, energy, positivity and focus of the Olympics to create our future financial security?
  2. Strength: The next time we find ourselves about to bitch and complain about something, to fail to be kind to others, to fail to try something because we are afraid, to fail to be resilient and pick ourselves up after a fall or to remain optimistic in adversity, we can remind ourselves we have more capacity, we can be better.
  3. Achievement: When one of our athletes is in the tense final stages of an event with a chance of winning, what do we shout at the TV … ‘COME ON’… It’s the spirit of this moment, the energy of this shout which comes straight from the heart with huge amounts of passion which can serve us all in work and life to bring out our best efforts. Important things are hard but if we give our selves the same shot in the arm that we want our words to give our athletes we can also achieve remarkable things.

So our Olympic lesson… Let’s NOW use this inspiration, focus, energy and resilience to improve our quality of life and our happiness.


As Emeli Sande sang in the closing ceremony

“we’re all wonderful, wonderful people so when did we all get so fearful? Now we’re finally finding our voices so take a chance, come help me sing this song”