Glenford Smith, Career writer
Eighteen-year-old Calabar student Javon Francis has been described in superlative terms for his 'gutsy and determined' anchor leg of the 4x400-metre relay in the recent IAAF World Athletic Championships in Moscow, Russia.
After receiving the baton in fifth position, Francis valiantly fought his way into silver-medal position. It was Jamaica's first medal in the event in 13 years.
Francis later revealed that the source of his drive and determination was a promise to his mother and father to bring home a medal from the championships. As I watched, I realised that many people would miss the deep significance behind his words.
To them, those were merely touching words, signifying the affection between a young rising star and his parents. The fact is, however, that Francis' words reveal a critical success factor, namely, motivation.
According to some estimates, human beings use less than 10 per cent of their potential. In other words, you and I are only scratching the surface of our potential; we are capable of far more than we have achieved thus far.
level of motivation
What ultimately determines how much of our potential, skill, or talent we utilise is how motivated we are. Motivation derives from the idea of 'motive' or 'why' one is driven to do a particular thing.
Dr Viktor Frankl, celebrated concentration camp survivor, shared his poignant and inspiring account of his torturous experiences, in his book Man's Search for Meaning. He underscored the crucial importance of motivation in overcoming setbacks to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Says Frankl: "Any attempt to restore a man's inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche's words, 'He who has a 'why' to live for can bear with almost any 'how',' could well be the guiding motto for all efforts regarding prisoners."
Frankl continues: "One had to give prisoners a why - an aim - for their lives, in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible 'how' of their existence."
This, I believe is a most critical lesson to learn from our outstanding Olympic and World athletic champions.
The young usain BOLT
Long before his international legendary status, Usain Bolt applied the power of motivation to beat his erstwhile athletic superior, Ricardo Geddes, at primary school. His coach, Devere Nugent, bet him lunch as incentive, which was all the motivation he needed to vanquish Geddes.
His subsequent athletic prowess has been driven by his desire, first to make money to help out his family, then to be the best in the world. To fuel him for the 2012 Olympics, he set his sights on achieving legend status.
Now, to sustain his motivation, he has declared his goal to defend his Olympic title in 2016, the first-ever athlete who would ever accomplish this feat.
You have untapped potential to attain fantastic things that, right now, might seem impossible. You, however, have the power within you to make the seemingly impossible, possible.
What the phenomenal feats of our world-beating athletes tell us is that it's simply a matter of motivation.
Discover your 'why' and you become unstoppable.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of "From Problems to Power" and co-author of "Profile of Excellence". firstname.lastname@example.org