One of my favorite events in the women's Olympic gymnastics is the balance beam (my other favorite is floor exercises). I was watching it for a little while last night and noticed how the gymnasts were great when it came to the really hard stuff, but they kept messing up the easier moves. One even fell off just trying to get onto the beam. The commentator was saying how, when it comes to the balance beam, the most important thing is to believe in yourself. He said as soon as you have doubts, that's when you mess up doing things that you really know how to do and that you've done thousands of times before.
It's always so frustrating to know you can do things but your nerves hold you back. With the balance beam, it's completely obvious how damaging nerves can be. In a lot of ways, there's not much you can do about it. Feeling nervous is natural and normal. But on the other hand, it's a great skill to be able to push those nerves aside and not let them hold you back.
Even on the floor exercises, each gymnast from the American team stepped out of bounds - even Shawn Johnson who is a world champion at that particular challenge. The commentator said about one of the girls (Alicia something-or-other) who actually fell while competing, that she seemed so afraid of stepping out of bounds, she ended up causing herself to lose her balance and fall just so she wouldn't step out.
Fears like that are the kinds which hold us back. We may not all be gymnasts, we may not all know how to perform on a balance beam, but the skills needed on the balance beam are the same needed in life. Determination, confidence, and trust.
And, oh yeah, go Team America!
(And Israel, of course, but I haven't seen Israel compete in anything yet)
Make it onto the Wheaties box!