And the winner is...

How to achieve your "personal best"

Many years ago, a young athlete and his teammates were training for track and field competitions. His event was throwing the shot. During preliminary trials, he consistently came in first. Not surprisingly, he was part of the team that represented his country at the Olympic competition in Amsterdam. On the day of his event, with only one throw left and no real competition from other teams, our track star appeared to have the gold medal wrapped up.

Meanwhile, one of his teammates was having a pretty rough go of it. Overcome by pressure and the elite surroundings, he just couldn't get his head into the competition. Our friend took his teammate aside and told him to relax, forget the crowds, and pretend that he was back home on the practice field, throwing the shot in front of his parents. The teammate went out and threw his personal best, a throw that won the gold medal. Our friend took home the silver. Still a "winner"? Of course—but now in more ways than one.

Fresh perspectives on aging
July 17, 2000

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