1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, Silver Medal, Sh...

1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, Silver Medal (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

In the 2012 London Olympics, the Australian athletes have claimed one gold medal and 12 silvers so far.

That’s a lot of second places!

Some in the media have been very negative about this result, claiming that such a low return of gold medals is unacceptable compared with past accomplishments, but it’s unrealistic to expect that we will win everything every time and some of these results have been very close, with very little between second and first.

Personally, I think that a silver medal in the Olympic games is an extraordinary achievement and one to be proud of.  However, some of the athletes haven’t helped themselves with reactions of disappointment to coming second that have attracted criticism from the public.

Of course, sporting contests aren’t the only areas of life where we can come second.  Job applications, business tenders and academic results are just a few examples of occasions when we can fall short of our goal and where there can only be one winner.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

We all want to win, but coming second is inevitable at some stage of our lives.

So, if you’re going to come second:

  • Make sure that you acknowledge the winner.
  • Make sure that you acknowledge all of the other competitors as well.
  • Thank those who have supported you along the way.
  • Learn from the experience so that you can continue to improve.
  • Stand tall and proud in your achievements, not slumped with disappointment.
  • Remember all of the people who would be happy to swap places with you and be grateful.
  • Make sure that you push the winner to their personal best or a world record in order to beat you.
  • Don’t make excuses or complain about elements that you can’t control.
  • Be gracious.
  • Don’t give up on your goal.
  • Know that you’ve done all that you could to prepare yourself for the event.
  • Resolve yourself not to finish second twice in a row.

Nelson Mandela once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

You can’t win every time, but you can keep trying, you can keep improving, you can maintain your composure and you can remain motivated to achieve your goals.

Have you ever come second before?

If so, what did you learn from the experience?

What’s been your favourite silver medal performance from these Olympic games?

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