Joseph Schooling shows us the way to success
August 13 2016 was a historic day for Singapore. On this day, at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a true blue Singaporean Joseph Isaac Schooling won the first Gold in Singapore history and set a record time of 50.35 secs, for the 100M Butterfly for men.

At that moment, I was in a coffee shop for breakfast, and as Schooling’s hand touch the walls, the spectators around me broke out in cheers and shouting for joy. Such a scene broke out in countless homes, coffee shops, and all kinds of places all over Singapore. Truly a momentous occasion for a small country like Singapore.

The Singaporean culture focuses on excellence and achievement, and Schooling’s achievement reflects the kind of values which all Singaporean aspire to. On a national level, Singapore has to a large extent achieve that. It’s economic growth and its achievements in many fields of endeavour are recognized worldwide and is a testimony to the underlying Singaporean virtues of commitment to hardwork, self-sacrifice and excellence. You see it in all fields of endeavour from education, to scientific research, from engineering to banking, from airline services to transport services, from a relatively incorrupt administration to transparency of governance at all levels.

As details of Schooling’s road to success becomes known, it turned out that Joseph was exposed to swimming from very young. At 6 years, he met his granduncle, Lloyd Valberg, Singapore’s first Olympian and immediately told his father that he wanted to take part in the Olympics. In 2008, at the age of 13, he met his idol Michael Phelps on whom he modelled his progress and performance. His parents had a major part to play in this. They sought out opportunities for Schooling to learn and to compete, and took courses themselves in swimming instruction. Eventually, they sent him to the US to attend the Bolles School, a swimming powerhouse in the US both to study and to train in swimming. Currently, Joseph attends the University of Texas in Austin and a member of the Texas Longhorn Swimming Team. His parents sacrificed both time and money, having invested in full S$1.35m to fulfil this dream to be the best in swimming.

Reflecting on his victory, this is what Schooling said:

“I went for it and I didn’t look back. I had some doubts. Everyone has doubts. It’s all about how you turn those doubts into positive moments. And I’m really glad that I could do that.”

Indeed, winning has to do with the mind. The greatest obstacle to success lies first in our mind. And the way to conquer failure, challenges of any kind is to first conquer your own fears, and doubts in your mind first. It is the positive and supportive mindset, actualized in focus and action that leads to the discipline and commitment which will realize what you are passionate about.

So you are in business because of some passion, serving some people, practising some skill or craft, innovating and creating, whatever it may be. Being an entrepreneur is about PASSION.

So what is it that you are passionate about? Your business, helping people to achieve, a skill as in music and the arts or some other endeavours?

Commit yourself to it. Don’t look back. Focus your energies and your action and with discipline practise your craft until it is near perfection. The time will come when the world will see what you are capable of.

Believe in yourself. If you say you can do it, you CAN. Conversely, if you have doubts, you will not succeed if the doubts take over your mind.

It is not time to believe in yourself NOW? Invest in yourself NOW.

Follow that dream, realize what you want to do in terms of achievement, practise that skill and you can surely WIN, one day!

PS. In case you miss it, here are the ingredients in the making of a champion: Joseph Schooling

  1. Passion and a strong desire to pursue it.
  2. Focus, commitment and discipline.
  3. Investment in training, lots of it.
  4. Surround yourself with those who have succeeded.
  5. Support of family and loved ones is critical.
  6. Always aim for the best.

Will you invest in your passion NOW!

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Dr Douglas Kong is a Certified Executive and Life Coach specialising in helping individuals, teams and organization to function optimally with peak performance in the workplace. He helps people by assisting them to overcome their personal performance barriers and by increasing their social and interpersonal functioning and communication skills. He is a retired psychiatrist whose past training and experience are focused on Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Developmental Psychiatry and Group Dynamics.

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