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The interview of  Kosuke  Kitajima, Gold medalist at Beijing Olympics for breast stroke and Daisuke Takahashi, Bronze medalist at Vancouver Olympics for figure skating reported on May 21 on Nikkei Shimbun inspires me and hopefully, many young (at heart, included) generation.  They discussed how “special” the Olympics are, completely different from other tournament, so much so that the nervousness and tension they felt almost choked them.  They also emphasized the importance of always  going for No. 1, of not giving up no matter what, and never becoming defensive, in order to compete with the world’s greatest.   Coming from them who have experienced the “real” thing, their words mean so much.  It gave me the little glimpse of the tough, but inspiring nature of competition at the level of Olympics.

They also talked about the value of having confidence in yourself.  It was interesting to find them talk about how much confidence the foreign athletes have in themselves.  I sometimes came across with people overseas who are so together, no matter what they do.  It is you that has to trust your own ability and your effort, as nobody else can give you the confidence.  It was also quite encouraging to hear that the more exposure they have to the world-class environment, and the more experience they have  performing in that environment, they can build the confidence in themselves.  It means that anybody, if you are willing to get exposed to the world-class  environment, and to try, can build confidence.  i.e. The more you try, the more confidence you will have.

I recall that my mentor once told me, when I was struggling to finish my doctoral dissertation, that I have to trust my own ability to finish it. It is then I felt that nobody else but I could trust my own will and ability to finish through.  It is one thing to have people who will give you  encouraging words, but after all, it is nobody but you that can cheer you up.

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