Two Different Sochi Lessons

While watching the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, two different concepts came to me.

  1.  The quote attributed Albert Einstein:

    The definition of insanity – Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  2. Comments often expressed by the NBC Olympics commentators and athletes themselves, to paraphrase:

    There is a lot of stuff swirling around the top athletes they need to ignore and block out in order to stay  focused on their own performance.

At first, these two ideas appear contrary to each other. If you are focusing on what you have been practicing over and over again, why would you want to do anything different? You want the same successful results as before. This is the essence of the issue. If you have practiced and practiced and you still mess up, not the result you want, maybe something needs to change. Could be your practice routine, could be your program, could be your inner desires, could be your mindset, could be your expectations, could be any number or combination of things. But something needs to change for your success to be consistent.

Hand in hand with the change goes risk. What you change to is not as important as your willingness to try something different. All change contains risk. All risk contains change. They are partners in creating different results. The new snowboard sports are a good example . More than one snowboarder tried a trick they just learned at Sochi or never did before in competition, gaining points, medals and kudos. Even the sport itself is all about trying different.

Different is important to success in every sport, skill and endeavor. It can be different for different’s sake, but usually different is about trying something new, another way. In essence, practice is just experimentation. Try, try again and again until it works. Try one way, fall down, try again in another way and have a different result.

The different way may be big, or just a slight adjustment, like how you take off or place your arms or land on an edge in a triple axle. It is practicing experimentation, trying a new thing over and another new thing over again, that produces the different results and leads to the wins for Olympic Athletes, the new discoveries of science, the accomplishments of great artists and musicians,  and the formation of a different business ideas into new and successful businesses. Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientist of modern times, knew this and practiced it to accomplish his winning ways. Try different ways, over and over again to get the different results you expect.

Here’s another Einstein quote:

“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

— Albert Einstein — Quoted by William Miller in Life Magazine, May 2,1955