Adam Rippon has made history this year by being the first openly gay man to qualify for the U.S. Winter Olympic team, and now all his hard work and years of gruelling training has paid off, as he has become a bronze medal winner and Winter Olympic champion.
Currently we’re divided over how much we love Rippon on the ice, and how much we love Rippon behind the camera. The internet is exploding over his now infamous ‘xanax and a drink’ interview and he’s fast becoming the Olympic champion that we all feel we can relate to.
Quite frankly, as far as we’re concerned: he’s won the Olympics.
Besides all that though, Rippon is an inspiration for us in so many ways, and the way he has succeeded in his Olympic career is something we can emulate to become a champion in our own lives. Six years ago, he was so broke that sometimes he couldn’t even afford groceries, and so used to steal apples from his gym. He said that he took a gamble and put all his efforts into achieving his Olympic ambition. And now? Now he is quite literally living his dream.
By following his example we can make some changes to the way we tackle our own problems, be they financial or otherwise.
1. Have a focus
When it comes to saving money, it’s easier to have an end goal to focus on. There was an interesting study conducted, where test subjects were taught to think of time in a cyclical way, not in a linear one. Ie. Our lives consist of small and large cycles, much like seasons in a year. It was found that when the test subjects understood that what they do in this cycle, affects what they will do in the next cycle, that the probability of them saving money actually increased.
In other words, once we understand how making savings now, will help us in the future, we are more likely to make those savings.
By setting a focus, it’s easier to keep that future benefit in mind on a daily basis.
2. Have discipline
We’re not talking about Rippon’s daily ‘100 doubles before training even starts’ morning routine, but the discipline it takes to stick to such a punishing schedule is what we’re looking to emulate.
Saving is a discipline, it’s so easy to say ‘oh not this month, I can’t really afford it’, or ‘oh God, I really want that dress, I’ll just dip into my savings and pay it back next month’. By having the discipline to not let yourself give in to the little spending temptations, and making sure you keep to your saving plan, you are making huge strides towards saving success. The more you make saving an unbreakable habit, the easier it will become.
3. Try, try, and try again
Not only taking into account the aforementioned ‘stealing apples because he was so broke’ thing, but Rippon famously missed out on both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics teams. He said that in 2014 after he missed the bid he was eating In-N-Out Burgers, rooting for his team mates and crying at the same time. To be knocked back not only once, but twice, makes this Olympic bid an incredible feat of mental and emotional strength.
It’s something to keep in mind when you feel you’ve been knocked down and it’s too tiring to start again. Maybe you were hit by a massive bill you weren’t expecting, or your roof collapsed and you needed to spend alot on getting it repaired, or maybe you got a huge parking fine that just clean wiped out all your hard won savings. Don’t be disheartened. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again.
And, whilst you’re doing it, give yourself a pat on the back for having accumulated those savings in the first place; because you had them in place you had created yourself a little financial cushion against disaster.
4. Accept help and expertise of those around us
No one gets anywhere alone. Rippon has openly posted tweets in recent years about his progress, thanking his mom, friends, coaches and others. Similarly, you don’t have to carry your financial burdens and worries on your shoulder alone.
If you are struggling, or need advice, there are plenty of experts who are willing to help. Try talking to your bank, or the independent money advice service. There are people who can advise you on the best way to achieve your goals, and help you with financial choices that you may need to make. Embrace the assistance and make use of the expertise of others.
There are plenty of ways to be a champion in your own life! Most importantly you just need to know what is it that inspires you to make great savings and begin your journey of financial independence.