He is known all over the world for being the most decorated Olympic athlete ever. Michael Phelps is an Olympic swimmer. He has got a total of 28 Olympic medals. Out of these, 23 of them are gold medals. The most astonishing thing is that he has managed to amass all these in only 5 Olympics. Michael is well known for his favorite swimming style, the butterfly. After attaining Olympic glory multiple times, he decided to retire from professional swimming at the age of 31. However, he gave a glorious farewell to the Olympic pools by winning 5 gold medals and 1 silver medal. His is a story of courage, grit and determination. Read on to discover 10 powerful lessons we learned from Michael Phelps on grit and perseverance.
Prepare yourself to be successful
Everyone knows that Michael almost always wins every swimming race that he enters. That’s why he is the greatest swimmer. However, he had to engage in countless hours of preparation before he could become the best. Ever since his first Olympic appearance in 2000, Michael trains for up to 6 hours every day and consumes 12,000 calories of food to maintain peak physical ability. He also performs visualization to increase his mental ability while swimming. This shows that you have to prepare yourself thoroughly before you become a roaring success. Set a goal, figure out what you need to do to achieve it and then pursue it with everything you have.
Be bold enough to announce your goals to the world
Before he won 8 gold medals in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Michael had already announced to the world that he would win gold in his best events. His competitors and fans heard these announcements and many of them believed in him. Doubters heard these announcements too and criticized his bravado. Well, during the Olympics, Phelps put all their doubts to rest by winning all his best events and then some more. From this performance ewe learn that you can announce your goals to your friends, family and your online following. There will be doubters but you can consider them motivation for success. Announcement makes you want to prove your word and if you work hard enough, you will.
Work with both your strengths and your weaknesses
To achieve his wins, Michael Phelps is always in a tip top physical condition. He maintains high levels of fitness and an amazing physique too. His workouts are very intense and he credits good genetics for his overall ability. Everybody knows that Michael Phelps is very athletic. However, not many know that he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and swimming is his way of utilizing all the excess energy that his body generates. Many view ADHD as a terrible condition but Michael turned it into his fuel for swimming. He saw his main weakness and used it to fuel his greatest strength. You can learn from him and turn your weaknesses into the fuel you need to work harder or smarter.
Assemble a dream team to help you achieve your goals
Despite gracing magazine covers and sports photo shoots on his own, Michael Phelps had a lot of help from a team that supported him and wanted to see him make it. Some of the notable mentions are his mother Debbie Phelps and his longtime coach Bob Bowman. His schoolmates and team mates also made up the dream team that Michael relied on to become the greatest swimmer ever. He teaches us that you can’t make it to the top on your own. You need a team that can support and assist you to accomplish the goals which you have. They can be family, professional team-mates or your friends too.
Begin with small goals and then grow into bigger ones
Michael began his swimming career at the age of 7. He joined a swimming team with his sisters. He was very afraid to get his head underwater. Therefore, he decided to swim on his back. Interestingly, the first stroke that he ever mastered was the backstroke. At his tender age, Michael had no idea that he would grow up to become the greatest swimmer of all time. But one thing he was sure of was that he would overcome his fear by trying to swim in the breast stroke too. Over time, he tried and mastered this stroke and after years of training, he became an Olympic gold medalist. From his experience we learn that you can achieve big goals by dividing them into smaller, more manageable ones. This makes our dream less intimidating, more realistic and keeps us on track.
Be highly disciplined
If you want to be successful at anything, you have to put in the work. There is no shortcut to greatness. Michael Phelps is one of the hardest training athletes globally. He trains for 6 hours every day throughout the week. When he is not performing some physical training, he is at rest, letting his muscles relax as he meditates and visualizes. He never stops. This is because he understands that to be a world-class athlete; he needs to maintain world-class actions too. He watches what he eats and never misses a day of training. Therefore, we can learn that discipline gives great results.
Suggested reading: 6 Sure Methods to Gain More Self Discipline
Survive the disappointments to enjoy greater success
On the day that Michael Phelps qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he was the youngest American to ever accomplish this in 68 years. He had made quite a huge achievement. Unfortunately, Michael did not achieve any notable positions. He felt down and disappointed. However, he did not give up. He qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics and lost again. This was a hard hit for the young swimmer. When he went home, he trained harder than ever and in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he won 8 gold medals and set a new record for the most gold medals won in a single sport. He went on become a swimming legend. If Michael had given up, he would never have become the greatest. He held on and braved the disappointments and eventually was victorious. We can learn the lesson of true perseverance from his experience.
Do not give up
If there is a guy who has experienced setbacks during the prime of his life, it is Michael Phelps. Soon after he participated in his first Olympic games, Michael was arrested for driving under the influence. He was only 21. He was pasted in the news and his name was tarnished. After that, he suffered injuries as he trained and was unable to maintain the intensity required for Olympic level competition. Despite the pain, Michael kept on going. During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, his goggles started to leak in the middle of a race. He was unable to see clearly as he swam and only completed the race by counting how many strokes he was making. He still won the race. Michael Phelps is a living example that we cannot let our setbacks define or destroy us. We have to rise above them and win, no matter what.
Do what you are good at
One of the reasons why Michael Phelps is so good at swimming is because he was built for it. His body features are ideal for swimming. He has size 14 feet and hands as big as dinner plates. He is also quite tall at 6 feet 4 inches in size and weighs 195 lbs (pounds). His physical features make him perfect for swimming since his hands and feet are good enough to work as paddles and his tall frame glides in the water gracefully. Michael might have been awkward in other sports or hobbies. However, he found that he was exceptionally good in swimming. Therefore, he stuck to it and eventually became an Olympic champion. From this we learn that you should always choose to practice what you are good at. This is because you will enjoy it and eventually shine in it.
Get a pet
Not many people know that Michael Phelps has a dog named Herman. He is an English bulldog. His dog loves him and doesn’t care what the world says about Michael or how many medals he has won. Moreover, the dog appreciates him and helps him to manage his ADHD. Having a pet also makes Michael more responsible. Interestingly, having a pet makes you more responsible, empathetic, caring and disciplined. This is because it takes work to care for a pet and once he or she shows you emotion, the efforts are worth it.
Suggested reading: 20 Reasons Why Having a Pet Will Make You Happier
The Important Take Away
Many call him the greatest swimmer of all time. It is hard to argue with this since Michael Phelps has set and broken multiple world records. He teaches us lessons that we can use to get ahead in life and win. By learning and applying them in our own lives, we can thrive in our careers, relationships and more.