I recently wrote about how to develop a winning attitude, using the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as the perfect platform to explore how winning is done.
I’d like to continue on the Olympics theme and pay tribute to Malaysian diver Pandelela Rinong, who has once again done her country proud on the world’s biggest sports stage.
At the tender age of eight, Pandelela was picked out by a diving coach who saw something special in the youngster from Sarawak.
In the years to follow, she would embark on an incredible journey, notching up several achievements, the most notable of which came during the 2012 London Olympic Games. It was during the London Games that she became the first Malaysian female athlete to win an Olympics medal, and the first Malaysian athlete to win an Olympics medal in a sport outside of badminton, landing a bronze medal in the women’s 10m platform.
In this year’s Olympics, the dauntless diver clocked up yet another first, as she and her diving partner, Cheong Jun Hoong, put Malaysia on the medal table in Rio by winning silver in the women’s 10m platform synchronised event.
There’s much to admire in the 23-year-old Olympian. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Pandelela to discuss her journey following her success in the 2012 London Games.
Watch our interview below:
During her interview on The Leaderonomics Show, and again after her spectacular success in Rio, Pandelela’s story provided me with some fantastic insights into not only how winning is done, but also how it gets cultivated along the way to success.
I’d love to share a few of these insights with you.
1. The most important quality is grit
Talent is important to have in any field, but unless you have a powerful combination of passion and endurance, talent on its own can only get you so far. Pandelela talked to me about missing out on spending time with her friends and family so she could practise eight hours every day in order to become the best – and it’s a habit she continues to this day. Many people have the will to win, but to become a winner, you also need to be willing to do whatever it takes to win.
2. Find the lessons in the losses
Being the best means being able to beat the competition and maintain your edge and focus – but even winners go through the pain of failure. Where some people would give up after falling at the first or second hurdle, it’s vital to use failure as a learning tool and look for the lessons it provides. The motivational speaker Brian Tracy believes nothing worth having comes to us on the first attempt of trying – but it’s important to persevere. This is a sentiment echoed by Pandelela, who says:
“Even if you lose, you gain something very valuable that can keep you going.”
3. Don’t worry about the odds
Many of us can sometimes feel overwhelmed when taking on a particular challenge or goal. When she was eight years old, few people would have thought Pandelela would be capable of the successes she has achieved to date. But, like she says, even if there’s just a one per cent chance of succeeding, it’s still a chance.
In order to be a winner, it’s not enough to wait for the right moment, the right circumstances, or the right opportunity. Instead, you have to push yourself to create your success, regardless of the number of obstacles standing in your way.
As the late American professor Randy Pausch said in his famous ‘Last Lecture’:
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”
Food for thought
Pandelela Rinong is certainly someone who has smashed through the brick walls every time they’ve appeared in front of her. Congratulations on your latest achievement, Pandelela! Plenty more to come, I’m sure. You’re an amazing example to us all, and Malaysia is incredibly blessed to call you one of her own.
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Article first published on LinkedIn.