In front of the eyes of audiences from all around the world, the 20-year-old Korean fencer is putting a spell on himself. Sitting in a white uniform, the youngest competitor in the competition, Park Sang-young is murmuring something under his breath: “I can do it.”
After several times of whispering to himself, Park stands up for the last few strokes of his epee. Before the break, he was losing against the veteran Hungarian fencer by 10-14. However, within a few minutes, this South Korean player startles the world by scoring five consecutive points, becoming the first gold South Korean medalist in the men’s individual epee.
The dramatic come-from-behind victory reminded me of what has long been forgotten: the positive attitude toward myself. The strongest encouragement, the most powerful cheer a person can receive would be the one from oneself. It is also the very first step to respect oneself as well as to be respected. Who would appreciate a person who always put oneself down?
However, this self-reliance is truly potent when massive efforts are behind it. Thousands times of simply saying “Trust yourself. You can do it” to myself is worthless if there is no effort that can support the belief. From the last year of surgery, Park had to strive much harder for the recovery as well as development of his skills. When he first went to the doctor after the injury, he was almost unable to walk. This is why this young fencer expressed gratitude to his knees after becoming the gold medalist. Perhaps “I can do it” was not a magic spell but the fact that he wanted to remind himself.
Of course, endless effort does not always end with a wonderful result as expected. Especially when things do not come out well even after putting the best effort, the disappointment is beyond any explanation.
Sometimes there are moments of finding myself constantly doubting my own value. No matter how hard I try, there are times when things do not go as I wish. This is the easiest moment when a person can fall in the trap of degrading oneself. On the other hand, even though today was not the day of the very achievement, the efforts I put is still remaining which will lead to tomorrow’s victory. This is what I had overlooked.
As I got older, it was not as easy to say “I always try to find the good side of everything” as it used to be. Realizing that there is someone always ahead of me, sometimes I was driven to despair. In this situation, it was almost impossible to have courage to try one more time. I was on the verge of giving up.
Then one day, I had lunch with someone I always have admired. When I slept only three hours for something, she was sleeping an hour for the same goal. In other words, I was not the hardest working person. As much as my endeavor is precious, others are also invaluable. It might be true that I am doing my best. However, it is also true that others are putting a lots of effort, which is what we tend to forget.
In fact, while the result is important, the progress itself is worth just as much. Enjoying each moment of the process with the belief that I am able to do everything is much more valuable that the successful result. This is why Lee Dae-hoon, South Korean taekwondo player, could praise the opponents with a smile even after losing. Since he knows how hard the other players would have tried for the game as much as he did, I think, he could embrace the result with a smile.
Respecting and trusting myself is the best gift to myself. At the same time, appreciating others’ efforts is crucial. Meanwhile the most vital fact that we should not forget is believing ourselves with our own heart. As Park had faced many failures and hardships before winning the gold medal, we also need to have patience to wait for the golden day. Until that day, we need to trust ourselves.