Where does the motivation to excel come from? {Michael Phelps on 60 Minutes}

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 7, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

Michael Phelps on 60 Minutes.

Skipping practices, out of shape, depressed, staying inside all day, partying all night.

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“I didn’t know if the passion or the fire was still inside of me. It took awhile to realize it myself. [They] couldn’t tell me.”

What brings us back to our path? Where does our inner fire hide?

Incredibly important bonus:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


One Response to “Where does the motivation to excel come from? {Michael Phelps on 60 Minutes}”

  1. oz_ says:

    Wow – really?

    Mom, in response to picture of son doing a bong hit: "What were you thinking? C'mon Michael – get with the program here."
    Son, abashed: "I don't ever want to tell Mom something bad like that that happened…it was just stupid."

    Not sure which is more disturbing, the overtones of political correctness, or the overtones of childish submission in the face of inappropriate parental scorn. I think any psychologist worth their salt would find that exchange really interesting, not to mention the rest of this piece.

    Whose 'program' was it that he wasn't getting with, one wonders? His Mom's? His coach's? Could it be that 'the program' is comprised of meeting parental and authority figure expectations, which revolve around their egos, and don't factor in his own wants and needs? Tough to shake that impression.

    For example, the Vegas trip sounds like healthy, youthful, irresponsible spontaneity – his coach, though, is aghast. And, later, treats Phelps like a child, with derision and sarcasm: 'it's cloudy'.

    And his Mom – well, I'll let Jung say it for me: 'the greatest burden on the child is the unlived life of the parent.' What a piece of work. Can't help but wonder whose needs are paramount in that relationship? Inverted parenting structure, anyone?

    Textbook case of the harmful distortions in the family structure and in personal development that so often manifest in these athletes, who wind up unidimensional as a result.

    Sure hope that – at some point – Phelps chooses to begin to live his own life unabashedly and authentically. Maybe do a vision quest. Looks to me like he's got quite a ways to go to get there.

    I came away from this feeling a tremendous amount of sorrow for Phelps. He has everything the world says should make him happy, but my impression was that his internal universe is orbiting closer to misery than happiness.