- In 1938, Karoly Takacs of the Hungarian Army, was the top pistol
shooter in the world. He was expected to win the gold in the 1940
Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo.
Those expectations vanished one terrible day just months before the
Olympics. While training with his army squad, a hand grenade exploded
in Takacs’ right hand, and Takacs’ shooting hand was blown off.
Takacs spent a month in the hospital depressed at both the loss of his
hand, and the end to his Olympic dream. At that point most people
would have quit. And they would have probably spent the rest of their
life feeling sorry for themselves. Most people would have quit but not
Takacs. Takacs was a winner. Winners know that they can’t let
circumstances keep them down. They understand that life is hard and
that they can’t let life beat them down. Winners know in their heart
that quitting is not an option.
Takacs did the unthinkable; he picked himself up, dusted himself off,
and decided to learn how to shoot with his left hand! His reasoning
was simple. He simply asked himself, “Why not?”
Instead of focusing on what he didn’t have – a world class right
shooting hand, he decided to focus on what he did have – incredible
mental toughness, and a healthy left hand that with time, could be
developed to shoot like a champion.
For months Takacs practiced by himself. No one knew what he was doing.
Maybe he didn’t want to subject himself to people who most certainly
would have discouraged him from his rekindled dream.
In the spring of 1939 he showed up at the Hungarian National Pistol
Shooting Championship. Other shooters approached Takacs to give him
their condolences and to congratulate him on having the strength to
come watch them shoot. They were surprised when he said, “I didn’t
come to watch, I came to compete.” They were even more surprised when
The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled because of World War II. It
looked like Takacs’ Olympic Dream would never have a chance to realize
itself. But Takacs kept training and in 1944 he qualified for the
London Olympics. At the age of 38, Takacs won the Gold Medal and set a
new world record in pistol shooting. Four years later, Takacs won the
Gold Medal again at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Takacs – a man with
the mental toughness to bounce back from anything.
Winners in every field have a special trait that helps them become
unstoppable. A special characteristic that allows them to survive
major setbacks on the road to success. Winners recover QUICKLY.
Bouncing back is not enough. Winners bounce back QUICKLY. They take
their hit, they experience their setback, they have the wind taken out
of their sails, but they immediately recover. Right away they FORCE
themselves to look at the bright side of things – ANY bright side, and
they say to themselves, “That’s OK. There is always a way. I will find
a way.” They dust themselves off, and pick up where they left off.
Next time you get knocked down, DECIDE you will act like a winner.
DECIDE to act like Takacs. Get up quickly, take action, and astound