From Russia with Love

Love, Self

What Viktor Ahn’s Gold Medal Win Can Teach You About Rejection and Post-Valentine’s Day Reflections

Every year on February 14th it’s hard to miss those who are taking rejection very hard on or close to the most romantic day of the year. Whether the rejection was recent or many years ago, Valentine’s Day, for some, can reduce their emotions to puddles … literally.

Luckily, this year offered a surprising lesson on handling sweethearts who went sour came complements of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics when Viktor Ahn won Gold for Russia. To put it in context, a meme that circulated on social media close to the 14th stated: Never let your self-worth be defined by those who fail to see your value. The best example of this piece of wisdom came from the Olympic speed skater, formerly of South Korea who now belongs to Russia.

Ahn's victory close to Valentine's Day is a pivotal lesson in handling rejection. Rejection in itself is not a bad thing. Rejection doesn't mean defeat either. You see, Viktor Ahn went from being rejected for the 2014 Olympic team in his native country of South Korea to winning Gold for his adopted homeland instead.

What is bad about rejection is how you respond to it. Do you internalize it and make it part of a defeating identity? Or do you assess the situation objectively and make your move based on what you choose to create? Ahn did the later in my humble opinion because when the South Korean skating officials rejected him for a spot on their Olympic team, he didn’t let it stop him. Instead, he choose to accept the chance to compete as an adopted citizen of Russia who offered him an Olympic spot as a Russian national.

The miracle ingredient behind Ahn’s historic victory was his confidence and commitment to doing what it took to emerge as the champion. Along the way on the road to Sochi Gold, he took a Russian name to acknowledge his adopted homeland. Viktor meant winner. Even after what seemed to be the ultimate rejection, Ahn's identity remained in the winner's mentality, and he trained hard to win Gold at Sochi. What began with an act of rejection was turned in to a victory when Ahn became the first Olympian to win Gold for two different countries in one lifetime and century.

Moral of the story: If you don't have true confidence and the work ethic to back it up when going after your goals, then you're at the effect of other people's definition of you. If you do have real confidence, their rejection, doesn't define you. Ahn’s story demonstrates how rejection can either crush you or propel you to better outcomes. It all depends on how you respond to it.

Confidence really is King. So when it comes to romance, dating, and Valentine’s Day, the advice of dating coach Matthew Hussey is worth remembering every time you think something outside of you will change your relationship luck when it comes to handling rejection. Hussey said that one can have all the best dating techniques in the world but if they lack the confidence, none of them will work. Viktor Ahn's victory is an example of how far confidence can take you in the face of what seemed to be ultimate rejection.

Congratulations again Viktor Ahn for turning a rejection into an ultimate triumph for the world to witness. South Korea’s rejection of Ahn for an Olympic spot is now their loss and skating officials have some explaining to do. Meanwhile, Ahn celebrates his newest Olympic Gold.