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Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday

By Apolo Anton Ohno.

“Zero regrets. It’s a philosophy not just about sport but about life. School, business, academics, love—anything and everything. It’s complicated and yet not. You have to figure out who it is you want to be. Not what you want to be—who. There has to be a vision, a dream, a plan. Then you chase that with everything you’ve got.”

Over three consecutive Olympic games, Apolo Ohno has come to symbolize the very best of the competitive spirit—remaining equally gracious in victory and defeat, always striving to improve his performance, and appreciating the value of the hard work of training as much as any reward it might bring. In Zero Regrets, Apolo shares the inspiring personal story behind his remarkable success, as well as the hard-won truths and strategies he has discovered in good times and bad.

Raised by his single father, an immigrant from Japan who often worked twelve-hour days, the young Apolo found it difficult to balance his enormous natural gifts as an athlete with an admittedly wild, rebellious streak. After making a name for himself as a promising young speed skater, his career was almost over before it began when his lack of preparation caused him to finish last at the U.S. Olympic trials in 1998. A life-changing week of solitary soul-searching at the age of fifteen led him to recommit himself to his training, and at the 1999 world junior championships he won first place overall—one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sports history. From that moment on, the world of speed skating had a new champion and Apolo was on his way to legendary status.

Much more than an account of races won and lost, Zero Regrets is a compelling portrait of a father-and-son relationship that deepened over time and was based on respect, love, and unshakable faith in each other. For the first time, Apolo reveals what he knows about his long-absent mother; he makes us feel what it is like to face the best competitors on the planet with the eyes of millions of fans upon you; and he shares his secrets for achieving total focus and mental toughness, secrets that can be applied in situations well beyond sports. We learn the details of the unbelievably intense workout and diet that he endured while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics, a regime that literally reshaped his body and led to some of his most thrilling victories.

In this deeply personal and entertaining book, Apolo shows how we can all come closer to living with zero regrets. While Apolo’s own journey may be unique, the insights he has gleaned along the way have the power to help us all feel like champions every day.


“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”    
—Japanese Proverb.

It doesn’t matter who we are (or think we are), what we do for a living, how much wealth we have amassed, what incredible achievements we have accomplished, and on and on; we continuously have room to work on growth and development.  Never give up your Journey of Self Improvement; there are always opportunities for progress.  Those who believe they have nothing to work on happen to be the individuals that require the most in depth work.

Real Life Application
Honestly assess your inner world and define a part of you that you would like to improve.  This inner quest must be sincere and complete.  The first step is to shine light on those areas of darkness that we may be hiding from and acknowledge there presence.  From there we can finally accept these aspects of our beings and begin working on transformation.  This internal work is the core of the spiritual life.


One of the most effective ways to stop dragging your heels and turn your dreams into goals is to ground your thinking with the "5 W's & 1 H" method. Ask relevant questions that begin with:  Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Here's a model to help you get started, based on your desire to advance your career aspirations:
•    Who might assist me in my goal?
•    What type of position do I desire?
•    When will I be able to search for such a position?
•    Where would I want to work?
•    Why do I want to change careers?
•    How can educational courses help my career aspirations?
This exercise is designed not only to help you turn a vague dream into a solid step by step action plan but also to prompt you to examine a task from a number of different mind-sets. By doing so, you start doing instead of just wishing and hoping.

Do not stand on a high pedestal and take 5 cents in your hand and say, here, my poor man, but be grateful that the poor man is there, so by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world, and thus become pure and perfect.
—Swami Vivekananda.

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