Recipe For Unhappiness

Have you ever noticed the expressions of the silver and bronze medal athletes on the podium? Or listened to the interviews that take place shortly after the medal ceremonies? Take for example these amazing athletes, Aussie swimmer Emily Seebohm, who was tipped to be the favourite to win the 100m backstroke and Team GB’s very own men’s gymnastics team — Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Sam Oldham and Kristian Thomas. When interviewed about the results, Seebohm expressed disappointment in her performance and felt like she had let her fans down. But Team GB’s gymnasts were excited and proud (as they should be) to win the first medal in a century for Great Britain.

As the Olympics continue, I think you’ll see a lot more of this. Whether gold, silver, bronze, or even no medal, I think every athlete should be proud of their accomplishments. Do I even have to spell out how phenomenal each and every single Olympian is? That said, people, especially those in competitive environments tend to compare themselves to others. They don’t quite know how to critique themselves without comparing their performance to others.  So from a silver medalist’s perspective, if they had only done better (than the gold medalist) they would have been, well, first. Whereas the bronze medalist is likely thinking that it’s just nice to be on the medal stand and grateful that they made it there. They generally seem happier than the silver medalist who placed higher than them. I reckon this is because the bronze medalist is infinitely happier when they compare themselves to all the others that simply didn’t medal.

We are our own worst critics. The last thing our athletes need is a bunch of knob-head ‘fans’ tweeting or facebooking insults about them letting their country down or whatever other nonsense fan-atics like to spew out from their keyboards. Are you the one that’s under ridiculous amounts of pressure from yourself, coaches, your parents and country? If not, give over!

It’s moments like these when I really hate social media and what the digital age has done to us (and yes oddly enough I’m sat here blogging about it).  The way we have been programmed to see ourselves, paired with added reinforcement from social media can be a total recipe for unhappiness.  That said, with all the pressures and distractions that these athletes have, I think it might be in their best interest to stay away from social media until each race is over. Because ultimately, no matter what people are buzzing about, they need to stay focused.  As Seebohm later stated in an interview, social media was to blame for her ‘loss’ to USA’s Missy Franklin. There might be some truth behind that statement but erm…was she tweeting from the pool?

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2 thoughts on “Recipe For Unhappiness

  1. Good analogy for the British class system. The silver medalist middle classes have plenty to be pleased about, but seem to be the most miserable and moany of the bunch.

    However, just because the bronze medalists are smiling, doesn’t mean they’re content. Perhaps it’s just a façade to show that all is well with the world, even if they have brief desires to move up a notch.

    Act One, Scene Eight

    Rita: I went into the pub an’ they were singin’, all of them singnin’ some song they’d learnt from the juke-box. An’ I stood in that pub an’ thought, just what the frig am I trying to do? Why don’t I just pack it in an’ stay with them, an’ join in the singin’?

    Frank: And why don’t you?

    Rita (angrily): You think I can, don’t you? Just because you pass a pub doorway an’ hear the singin’ you think we’re all OK, that we’re all survivin’, with the spirit intact. Well I did join in with the singin’, I didn’t ask any questions, I just went along with it. But when I looked round me mother had stopped singin’, an’ she was cryin’, but no one could get it out of her why she was cryin’. Everyone said she was pissed an’ we should get her home. So we did, an’ on the way I asked her why. I said, ‘Why are y’ cryin’, Mother?’ She said, ‘Because – because we could sing better songs than those.’ Ten minutes later, Denny had her laughing and singing again, pretending she hasn’t said it. But she had. And that’s why I came back. And that’s why I’m staying.

    • I suppose you could say that. In fact, you’re spot on! And now I’m trying not to cry because it’s true, isn’t it? No matter how hard we try to fool ourselves, we’ll always either be like the silver or bronze medalists. Unless of course you’re like Rupert Murdoch. I reckon he’s a true gold medalist. But those at the top also have their fears, like Apple who are trying to sue Sony. So to transcend all this medalling nonsense we have to all become Buddhist and renounce all desires!

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