Another Inspiring Story from “The Habit of Winning”
Karoly was a sergent in the Hungarian army. In 1938, the 28 year old was the country’s top pistol shooter, having won most major national and international championships. He was – by a mile – the favorite to win gold at the 1940 Tokyo Olympic games.
Then disaster struck.
At an army training session, a hand grenade accidentally exploded in Karoly’s hand. And blew it away. His shooting had. Not only did his entire Olympic dream crash, he also lost a limb.
“Why me?” Karoly could have been excused for asking the question most of us would have asked. You would understand it too if he wallowed in self-pity, an understandable reaction for someone after such a tragic turn of events.
Oh no, not Karoly. He was made of sterner stuff.
Instead of focusing on what he had lost – his right hand, his potentially gold medal-winning shooting hand, he chose to focus on what he still had. He had mental strength, the mind set of a winner, the determination to succeed and yes, a healthy left hand. A left hand which he thought, he could train and transform into world’s best shooting hand.
After his discharge from the hospital, Karoly went away from the world and the nay Sayers, began practicing to shoot with his left hand. Despite the pain his body still reeled under, despite the strain the left hand had to undergo to also do all that the right hand had earlier done, he stayed focused on his goal: to make his left hand the best shooting hand in the world.
One year later, in fact, Karoly won the championship. Just one year after losing his right hand. He won with his left hand. In 1948, the Olympics came to London. Karoly was chosen to represent Hungary in the pistol shooting event and he won gold, shooting with his left hand.
Imagine being a gold medal favorite, losing your best shooting hand in an accident, yet picking yourself up from the shattered mess, training your left hand to shoot as well or better, and going to win the Olympic gold.
4 years later Helsinki Olympics. Pistol Shooting event. Who own gold? No surprises here. Again Karoly Takacs.
We all have moments in our lives when we seem so close to glory but suddenly lose every thing. when that happens, don’t worry about what you’ve lost. Focus on what you still have. Remember Karoly Takacs.