Success Secrets

Success Secrets of a Three-Time Olympian

Everyone reading this article is six inches away from experiencing huge successes and breakthroughs in their life. Six inches? Sure! That’s the distance between your ears.

What I’m saying is we are designed with all the resources needed to make our fondest dreams come true. We only need to learn how to program our brain properly. Ninety percent of the input we get in the world is negative. And ninety percent of the things we tell ourselves are negative. So it is critical to learn techniques to replace the negative with positive.

In life you don’t get what you want. You get what you are. The best way to improve yourself is to change what goes into your mind. We are a product of what goes into our minds. What you think determines what you do. What you do determines what you accomplish.

Olympic Athletes understand this. We know that what we put in our mind will ultimately determine how well we do in our competition. Think of each thought as a computer “bit”, the smallest unit of information possible. Many thoughts add up to become beliefs. What we believe determines how high we will go. The good news is there are ways to raise your belief level.

Beliefs are extremely important. For example, in April 1954, the belief in the world was that no one could run the mile in less than four minutes. Then along came Roger Bannister. Bannister did what nobody in the history of the world had ever done. He broke the four-minute mile barrier! The phenomenal thing is that later the same month, several other athletes did it too! And since then, over 20,000 people have run the mile in under four minutes. What changed? The BELIEF changed. All of a sudden athletes knew “If Roger can do it so can I”.

Most people never attempt to do something they don’t believe they can do.

Ever since I was in the third grade I wanted to be an Olympic Athlete. I respected the Olympians because they were an example of what I believed in – they are willing to commit to a goal, willing to risk adversity in the pursuit of it, willing to fail and at the same time keep trying until they succeeded. But it was not until I was in college and saw Scott Hamilton compete in the Sarajevo games that I made a decision to train for the Olympics.

How did I raise my self-belief level between third grade and college? Two ways – through what I read and through the people I associated with.

I read countless biographies of great people. Before long, I realized that the common denominator in the success of those great people was the fact they had a dream they were passionate about and they never gave up. Perseverance is the best trait you can have. But how do you keep yourself going when the going gets tough? It comes back to your beliefs.

The other thing I did to raise my self-esteem was to regularly associate with people I respected. When you hang around people that think big, you start to think big. And when people you have respect for believe in you, you start to believe in yourself.

Four years after making a decision to begin training for the Olympics, I had the honor of competing in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics in the luge. I went on to compete in the 1992 Albertville Olympics and I just competed in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics at the age of 39.

How does someone who did not even take up the sport of luge until he was 22 become a Three-Time Olympian? As I tell thousands of people in my speeches, I’m not a big shot. I’m just a little shot that keeps on shooting. I’m proof that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things if they will just put the right things into their minds.

Olympic Athletes consistently and persistently use specialized techniques to program their minds to achieve peak performance. The following simple techniques performed consistently over a period of time will change your outlook in life and ultimately your outcomes.

Write your Goals Down!

Magic happens when you put your goals down on paper. Your subconscious mind starts trying to figure out ways to make your goals become a reality.

In 1960, Harvard Business School did a study of their graduates 20 years after they had graduated. They found the top 3% moneymakers made as much money as the other 97% put together. The only difference between the two groups was the top 3% had always written and regularly read their goals. As a result, everything they did on a day-to-day basis was focused on reaching their goals.

When Tiger Woods was a young boy, he wrote down on a 3×5 card that he intended to break all of Jack Nicklaus’ records. Jack Nicklaus agrees that Woods can do it if he stays on the track he’s on.

The most effective way to write your goals down is to take a 3×5 card and on one side write:

“I intend to . by (date).”

On the other side of your card write why.

“I intend to accomplish this because”

Then write at least three reasons why you will do it. The reasons increase your belief.

Read your card first thing in the morning EVERY DAY to stay focused on the objective. Then read your card EVERY NIGHT before turning out the lights so your subconscious can work all night on ways to make it happen.

Vividly Imagine the Desired Outcome.

Several times a day close your eyes and for a couple of minutes vividly imagine what it’s going to feel like when you achieve your goal. Really get into it. Feel it as if it were really happening. Get excited! Your subconscious does not know the difference between imagining it and it really happening. By doing this, you become passionate about your desire, your belief becomes unshakeable and you become unstoppable.

The luge team is taught to visualize their sled runs every day. Especially right before practice. We “run the mental tape” in our minds of each twist, turn and body movement so when we’re hurling down the track at 80+ MPH, we instinctively know what to do in all situations.

I constantly visualized what it was going to be like when I walked into the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremonies. I could see the crowds waving at me. I could see the flags and the balloons. I could hear the roar of the crowd, the fireworks, the Olympic Hymn. I could feel the cold wind blowing snow onto my cheeks. I could feel the tears of joy streaming down my face. I could feel the goose bumps running up my back and over my shoulders. I thought about it all the time, even while jogging, while lifting weights, in the shower, etc. It was my dream! And when I finally entered the Olympic arena, it was just the same only 100 times better.

Find a Mentor

The “Why?” is always more important than the “How?”. Don’t worry how you will make your dream come true. The dream gives you the energy. Find someone who has already been successful in doing what you want to do, not just someone who talks the talk. Ask them to be your mentor and teach you how to be successful as they are. If you are serious and committed to achieving your dream, they will see the passion in your eyes and will be honored to be asked.

As soon as I decided to take up the luge and train for the Calgary Olympics, I contacted the U.S. Luge Association in Lake Placid, NY. I asked the USLA if they would teach me how to luge and prepare me for the Olympics four years away. They said they had a plan in place and that if I would follow the plan and not quit, I would have a good chance of making it. Without knowing what the plan was, I humbled myself to my new mentors and let them know I would do whatever they said I needed to do.

That is the ideal mentor-mentee relationship. A hungry, driven, eager to learn, yet humble mentee together with a giving, knowledgeable, successful mentor.

Setting goals, visualizing the desired outcome, and finding a mentor are basic yet critical steps to succeeding in life. Every Olympic athlete I’ve ever met does all three consistently. It’s just a decision. By consistently and persistently following these steps , you will reach your goals and dreams faster than 95% of the people in the world.

Chase your Dreams, Go for the Gold, and Never, Ever Give Up!

A peak performance expert, Ruben Gonzalez speaks on the principles of success he followed on the road to the Olympics. Ruben inspires and equips his audiences to “Go for the Gold” in life.