Seth Kahan
Author, consultant

Seth Kahan

Change expert and author who has advised executives in 50-plus organizations, including Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps and NASA. He can be reached at visionaryleadership.com

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Our inner gold

Q: The Washington Post and other media outlets are keeping careful count of the number of medals the United States and other countries are winning at the Winter Olympics. Should so much attention be focused on the medal count? Is winning gold, silver or bronze a fair measure of Olympic success? What about the athletes who work for years to get to the Games, yet have no shot at winning a medal?

Should so much attention be focused on the medal count? Is winning gold, silver or bronze a fair measure of Olympic success?

Absolutely the medal count matters -- it is the "score" in an international competition, a source of pride, concern and great consequence. And, yes, the gold, silver, or bronze is not only a fair measure -- it is the fair measure, the official result of the Olympics to be recorded for all time in our civilization's history.

What about the athletes who work for years to get to the Games, yet have no shot at winning a medal? This is no small achievement. These people have every right to use it to their advantage. This includes the successful evolution of their career as a champion.

This type of recognition -- earning a medal -- is a legitimate part of society, as is the inevitable impact on those who do not make it to the top echelon. That said, medals are achieved in one very narrow set of circumstances, and do not limit those who do not make it into the very top ranks.

Whenever one engages in such a competition, it calls forth a part of our being that enables us to transcend normal limits. It gives us a taste of the ideal we strive for in our innermost beings. It is spiritual in the truest sense.

Nothing in this world can stand in judgment of our spirits. It is our inner gold, and once touched it has the ability to set our life on a completely different path -- a path that is fueled by the soul and transforms our relationship to the world. This accomplishment cannot be judged, only embraced.

By Seth Kahan  |  February 25, 2010; 12:02 AM ET  | Category:  Medals and meaning Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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