In The Race Of Life, which medal do you want? 🥇🥈🥉

As most of you must be aware, Tokyo Olympics 2020 just came to an end recently followed by the Paralympics, where the best athletes from all around the globe competed to win the much coveted medals and make their countrymen proud of their heroic efforts and achievements.

When I was a kid, I loved watching the Olympics. So many different events. So many people from all over the world competing. To this day, I am quite an avid follower (although I am hardly a sportsperson myself. Maybe I would be, if being a couch potato was a sport 😂😂). I may not have the time to watch all of it anymore, but I do check the highlights every day. It’s not just the competition that appeals to my heart. Its always been the burning fire in their eyes, the passion to bring all their years of hardwork and dedication to fruition and also some exemplary acts of sportsmanship, friendship and respect for each other. Any form of sports can really teach us a lot about all such virtues which we can learn from and try to inculcate in our own lives, even off the field.

I particularly like reading about the winners and their journey. The many obstacles and hurdles most of them have managed to overcome to come and compete on this global level. Whether it’s physical disabilities, poverty, discrimination, exploitation, racial and gender biases, each one have their own struggles and their own journeys, each of which is absolutely inspirational and really admirable.

During one such reading spree, I came across a very interesting article about a rather bizarre sight quite often seen in the Olympics as well as in other sporting events. It’s called something like ‘Sad Silver Face’ or ‘Sad Silver Syndrome’

In the various pictures taken of the medal winners, it was seen that the Gold and Bronze winners had the brightest smiles while the Silver winners are often seen sulking, brooding or frowning. They have a look of disdain, disappointment, dejection or even anger in some cases. Isn’t it wierd that this person is being awarded the 2nd best position in his/her game and yet somehow they’re not happy or satisfied? And right next to them, is another person, who has achieved lesser (bronze winners) but is still so much happier.

This is because the Silver medalist actually Lost the match to the Gold medal winner. That’s why they look so disappointed. Because in their minds, they keep going over their own mistakes, analysing where they went wrong. They keep wondering how different and wonderful things would be, if the game had ended in their favour. If only they had not made that tiny mistake, if only the opponent had conceded a point. This constant comparison with the one who fared better, really depletes any joy of their own victory. They are so preoccupied with the what ifs, that often times, they don’t value the precious and historic moment that they have actually created for themselves. And hence the ‘Sad Silver Faces’. 🥈😩😖😟😡😭

Examples of Sad Silver Face

On the other hand, there are the Bronze medal winners. They achieve a spot on the pedestal by WINNING against their opponent. Unlike the top 2, securing a medal is not guaranteed for them. It’s either a medal or no medal. Either they get to kiss a medal and secure their place in the history of the sports or they go home empty handed with so much regret and disappointment. So when they defeat their opponents to secure the Bronze medal, their happiness understandably knows no bounds. And that’s why they are often seen to be smiling from ear to ear, celebrating and enjoying every moment of it. 🥉😊😄🥳🎉

Happy faces of the Bronze winners

I guess we can also relate this to our own lives. Its all a matter of perspective. Just like the silver medal winners, most of us are so busy looking and comparing to those that have more than us, that we forget how far we ourselves have come, how much we have achieved. We forget to appreciate what we have and be thankful for all the good in our lives. Constant comparison with someone who has more or has it better, only diminishes the quality of our lives. It takes away from our own accomplishments, contentment, happiness and peace of mind. For the few wise ones who adopt the bronze winner mindset, they will definitely be happier, be more in the moment, savour every minute and celebrate every little accomplishments along the way. Be thankful that at least they came this far.

Look at the dazzling smiles on the Gold and Bronze winners and the disappointed look of the Silver medal winner.

So, in this race called LIFE, which medal winner do you wanna be? Do tell in the comments. 💖💖

Christmas..A Season Of Celebration and Gratitude.

Whether we like it or not, we are running a rat race with super busy and hectic lives. Thankfully, Christmas is that time of the year to connect and reconnect with friends and family. This gives us an opportunity to catch up with those who we may not get an opportunity to talk to as frequently as we would like. And trust me, it’s really wonderful, reminiscing the good ol’ days or just making all kinds of plans to meet soon. Whether or not that materialises is a different matter altogether. But no harm in planning exotic vacations or a much needed reunion. And sometimes during such conversations, some things come up that really force you to think long and hard about things.

One such thing happened when last night I had a long chat with my cousin sister. She lives in San Jose, California. During the hour long call she gave me updates about how their skiing trip was cancelled due to the lockdown enforced in light of the second wave of the pandemic. How for the first time in a really long time, they are celebrating Christmas at home all by themselves. How my niece who was so excited about experiencing college life is now forced to do online classes and is so bored at home that she is picking up new hobbies everyday. How my little nephew is inventing new games to play all by himself. She also mentioned that every year they raise money and buy all kinds of supplies like groceries and blankets and take them personally to the nearby shelters for the poor and less fortunate ones. Over the years, it’s become like a Christmas tradition for them and they make sure their kids help out and in the process know and appreciate how blessed they are. But this year, she mentioned how things were so different.

This year there were far more people queueing up outside the shelter…some had walked for miles to reach the venue, some had been living on the streets for days as they couldn’t find beds in any of the nearby shelters. This time she saw far more homeless families than usual. And upon talking to them, they came to know that most of them were in such dire straits due to loss of employment as many shops/factories/businesses had shut down due to the pandemic and the lockdowns imposed thereafter. Their limited savings were spent, now they were unable to pay their bills, house rent, school fees and were thus on the streets. Homeless. At their wit’s end trying to figure out their next meal. The plight of these families was so overwhelming for my sister that she decided to cut down on their own Christmas budget and extend some more help to these families. Even while narrating the incident, I could hear her choke up.

As for me, well for one, I couldn’t be more proud of her, as her little act of generosity surely would have gone a long way in helping someone in need. But it also got me thinking, if things are as bad as this in the world’s largest economy, then the situation is bound to be much much worse elsewhere. I just couldn’t get the thought out of my mind, of all these families who are jobless, homeless, penniless, with nowhere to go, nobody to turn to. How helpless they must feel. How hopeless the world must seem.

It really made my problems seem silly and inconspicuous in comparison. Made me realize how, so very often, we take things for granted. How ungrateful we are for the things we have. How much we complain and crib about not getting things that we don’t even need.

Yes, this year has been different. It’s been a year like no other. Life has been hectic, chaotic. Life has been mundane, unpleasant. The world out there is unsafe. We are in the grips of an unknown, invisible enemy. We are all living in fear, uncertainty, anxiety. In short, in the past year, life has been difficult and not much has happened to be thankful for.

But we must remind ourselves, that if we have a roof over our head, food on our plate, a warm bed to sleep in, enough money to pay our bills and the love of our near and dear ones, then that’s enough and more reason to be grateful and thankful this Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all 🎅☃️🎁🎄❤️😀

Christmas is forever,
Not for just one day.
For loving, sharing, giving,
Are not to put away.
Like bells and lights and tinsel,
in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others,
Is good you do yourself.

Norman W. Brooks