Back when I took up the sport of luge, one of my Olympic coaches used to tell me, “Ruben, you’re only six inches away from massive success!” I wasn’t sure what he meant. He explained, “Six inches is the distance between your ears. Your success depends on what you feed your mind.” He was talking about the “Inner Game.” It would be years before I really understood what he meant. Today, I realize that he was 100% right.

You always hear about the mental part of sports being more important than the physical part. I have to admit that I was always a bit skeptical. I was skeptical until a cold morning in October 1998.

I took up the sport of luge in 1984 and I retired from the luge right after the 1992 Albertville Olympics. After Albertville, I didn’t take a luge run for six years.

However, during those six years I read hundreds of books on success and listened to thousands of motivational tapes. I didn’t realize it, but by doing that, I was becoming mentally tougher.

In 1998, six years after retiring from the luge, I decided to begin training for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

My first day of training was unforgettable. I was at the start of the Calgary luge track ready to take my first run in six years. Surprisingly, I was feeling cool, calm, and confident. Believe it or not, my first four runs were personal bests! I felt I had more control of the sled than ever before. Four personal bests after a six year break! Unbelievable! That day I stopped being a skeptic. That day I became a believer in the power of the human mind.

Olympic athletes use several mental training techniques to sharpen their competitive edge – techniques designed to keep them hungry, confident, and mentally tough so they will do what it takes to win – techniques anyone can use to get better results in their personal or professional life.

One thing we all do is read our goals on a daily basis. We write our goals as a series of positive affirmations that help program ourselves for success.

We also use subliminal techniques. The walls of my office are covered with Olympic memorabilia. I surround myself with pictures which constantly bombard my mind with where I want to go. Doing this helps me become unstoppable on the way to my goals.

Something top achievers have in common is an attitude of constantly looking for new tools and techniques that can be used to get an edge. They are always on the look out for ways to improve. Anything they can use to win. Well if you look for something long enough, eventually you find it.

Because success doesn’t just happen. Success requires massive action. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration.” The key to success in anything is getting ourselves to take consistent and persistent action.

What do you want to accomplish? Better sales? A promotion at work? Better grades? How bad do you want it? Do you want it bad enough to get the tools that will help program yourself to take action?

Remember, you’re only six inches away!


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez