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The Power of a Focused Mind 08/15/2008

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps focuses on winning.


U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps' performance at the Olympics is truly amazing. He has already accumulated more gold medals than any other athlete and he's breaking world records every time he hits the pool. Those who know him credit his success to his remarkable focus on his sport. Sure, he's naturally talented, but he also works hard to do one thing: win.

We've seen this type of focus in other athletes; Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, Cal Ripkin and Lance Armstrong come to mind. They all illustrate the potential for individuals to excel beyond normal expectations to achieve greatness.

Interestingly, most great athletes attribute much of their success to an influential person in their lives. Earl Woods and Archie Manning were both father and coach to their sons. Phelps was recently quoted by ESPN as saying, "I don't think I could be where I am today with any other coach. He's so intelligent in this sport and cares about every one of his athletes. He's so thorough. He's always on top of things. I'm fortunate to have a coach like him."

He's talking about Bob Bowman, the American swimming coach. Another swim coach explained, "Bob teaches him, advises him, guides him, pushes him."

All of us can achieve remarkable things in life if we are focused. Granted, it will likely be on a smaller stage than the Olympics or The Masters, but we can truly be who we were created to be if we will set positive goals, work to achieve them and refuse to be distracted by the obstacles in our way.

To do this, it often takes a coach -- someone to teach us and guide us. Yet, coaches are not always there for our comfort. Like Bowman, they will push us to be better. Personally, I have always looked to Jesus Christ as my "life coach." His words constantly challenge me. By focusing on His principles, He has enabled me to become far more than I could have on my own. Any success I have had in life is directly attributed to His "coaching," as well as the encouragement and support of family and friends.

We also have the ability to function in that role in the lives of others. We can be that father figure or personal coach in order to inspire and guide others to greatness. In the case of Archie Manning, he achieved his own greatness in football before passing it on to his sons. Now, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning have won a Superbowl, both being named MVP. In the case of Earl Woods, he never won any major golf tournaments. He was a decent baseball player and dedicated military man (a Green Beret in the US Army), but he never excelled in golf. Still, both fathers were able to inspire their sons to amazing feats through hard work and a focused mind.

This is significant because you need to understand that no matter what you have been through in life, whether it has been a rocky road of defeat or a string of glorious victories, you can still focus on a new goal and also impact someone else's life in an incredible way. Like the great athletes, it requires a willingness to strip away the hindrances in life and concentrate on the task at hand. It requires discipline, commitment and focus.

Take inspiration from Michael Phelps. Dreams can come true. Once you have the right vision and the right motivation, you can succeed. So set your goals, whether it's to achieve something personally or to encourage someone else in their endeavors (or possibly both) and focus your mind on success and victory over personal challenges and weaknesses.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 635

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.