Olympic champion Scott Hamilton wasn’t born a winner — nobody is. But Hamilton believes we can all learn from failures, ditch fears, and become winners in life.
Scott Hamilton became famous for his remarkable skill on ice, winning four consecutive U.S. figure skating championships, four consecutive World Championships, and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. While those accomplishments earned him a place in sports history and countless accolades as a winner, Hamilton is quick to point out something else — all the times he failed.
“When I skated, I estimated on the low end that I fell 41,600 times,” Hamilton says. “But the really cool thing about that is I got up 41,600 times.”
Getting back up after experiencing failures and working harder to rise above challenges and improve yourself, as Hamilton did, is not just advice for athletes. After all, everybody falls down at some point in their life — whether we literally crash while attempting a skating feat, feel devastated when we lose a job or a relationship, or are thrown into turmoil by a health crisis that seems insurmountable.
But getting back up after life’s obstacles, whatever they are, and using what you’ve learned from the experience to improve yourself does something positive to your psyche, Hamilton explains in his new book, “Finish First: Winning Changes Everything.”
Embracing competition (with yourself and others) and striving to be a winner comes with an important and life-changing prize — odds are you’ll become a better, stronger person than you ever thought possible.
Get off the bench and into life
Hamilton explains he wrote “Finish First” as a wake-up call for people who may be coasting along instead of living as productively, joyfully, and enthusiastically as they could be, often because they have postponed or given up on their dreams. But it’s never too late, as long as you are alive, to change that attitude, he says.
“A dream unfulfilled can turn into a nightmare. It becomes toxic if we don’t follow our authentic path,” Hamilton says. “The whole person is spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically connected, and how well you achieve your dreams is being authentic about who you are supposed to be.
“You know what’s good for you, you know what’s healthy, you know what’s right. It comes down to taking those steps forward to accomplish what you’ve been either putting off or have been afraid to start,” he adds. “A lot of success is just getting off the bench.”
Pursuing a winning life involves competition, which can seem daunting to many people. But competing to win doesn’t mean you are a loser if you don’t always come out ahead. Instead, competition is about striving to be your best, Hamilton explains.
“People say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to compete.’ But competing is more of a competition with yourself,” Hamilton says. “You want to see what you can do to strengthen and fortify yourself to be able to meet your own goals and reach your life’s expectations. The more you try and repeat something to improve your performance, the more confidence you build.”
Hamilton frequently speaks about the importance of his faith, and he believes overcoming weaknesses and learning to do something well can help people spiritually. “It’s building muscles in every part of your being that allows you to rise up and be aspirational,” he says.
April 23, 2018