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The Importance of Running Your Own Race

The 2016 Rio Olympics delivered a spectacle that transcended the boundaries of sport, encapsulated in the gripping race between Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos. Beyond the strokes and the splashes, this duel serves as a poignant reminder of the profound significance of navigating life's lanes — of running our own race with purpose and determination.

Picture the scene: the Olympic pool, a battleground for the world's greatest swimmers. Michael Phelps, the American legend, and Chad le Clos, the South African contender, were set to clash in the 200m butterfly. But this race became more than just a swim; it became a testament to the importance of staying true to your own goals.

As the race unfolded, something fascinating happened. Chad le Clos, seemingly caught in the undertow of the Phelps phenomenon, took his eyes off his own lane.In the now famous picture- you can seee Le Clos peaking into the lane next to him to compare his position to Phelps'.  Le Clos had beaten Phelps in races prior, but instead of focusing on his stroke, his rhythm, and his strategy, he couldn't resist the gravitational pull of the greatest swimmer in history.

Phelps, on the other hand, was in his own world and focusing on his own goals. Despite the dramatic theatrics of Le Clos, Phelps maintained his composure, sticking to his game plan. The result? A powerful surge in the final stretch that catapulted him to victory. Phelps recieved Gold for this stunning performance, while Le Clos missed the podium completely coming in 4th place. Amazingly, he was only seven thenths of a second behind Phelps! Doesn't it make you wonder what would have happened if Le Clos had kept his eyes forward and focused on his own work instead of watching someone else?

The Takeaway for Us All:
In the pool of life, we often find ourselves surrounded by others, each with their own strokes and speeds. The Phelps vs. Le Clos race teaches us a crucial lesson: the importance of running our own race.  Here are some ways we can continue to focus on our own success below!

1. Define Your Goals:
Before diving into the race, take a moment to define your goals. What are you aiming to achieve? Understanding your destination is crucial for charting the course ahead.

2. Stay Focused on Your Lane:
Distractions are inevitable, but like Phelps, keep your focus on your lane. Don't let the achievements, pace, or expectations of others divert your attention from your own journey.

3. Trust Your Training:
Phelps didn't win that race on a whim. Years of relentless training, dedication, and commitment paved the way. Trust the process, the skills you've honed, and the lessons you've learned.

4. Embrace Your Unique Style:
Just as each swimmer has their unique stroke, you have your own way of navigating challenges. Embrace your strengths and quirks, for they make you who you are.

5. Prepare for the Final Stretch:
The final stretch is where races are won. Be prepared to give that extra push when it matters most. It's not about the start; it's about the strong finish that defines your journey.

Phelps vs. Le Clos in Rio 2016 was more than a race; it was a metaphor for life's challenges and the triumph of running your own race. As you navigate your own journey, remember the wisdom of the poolside drama. Define your goals, stay focused, trust your training, embrace your uniqueness, and be prepared for the final stretch. Your victory, much like Phelps', lies in the commitment to your own race. So, dive in, swim your heart out, and let the world witness the extraordinary spectacle of you running your own waves.