“Prinčevi i žablji bataci” | Andrija Geric | TEDxKarlovackaGimnazija

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Translator: Mirjana Čutura
Reviewer: Tijana Mihajlović Many of you have probably heard
the story of the Princess and the Frog. A prince misbehaved and offended a witch, so the witch decided
to put a spell on him. She turned him into a frog. To break the spell, the prince had to find a princess
who would kiss him while he was a frog. He hopped around, and one day,
a princess appeared. He talked with her and persuaded her
he was actually a prince and that a princess had to kiss him. So the princess kissed him,
and they lived happily ever after. What’s wrong with that story in real life? How many princesses are there in reality, and how many times does a princess
decide to kiss a frog? In sports, we all start out as frogs. Some start out at the age of 6,
some at 9, some at 12. Then you try hard, work hard,
get into a minor league team. Then you try even more, and with a bit of luck,
you get into a youth team, then a junior team, and then you work and train
and maybe get into a club team. And then again, if you’re good,
if you work hard, you get into a national team. And then, if you’re good and work hard,
you sign for a club abroad, and you start making a living
by playing sports professionally. If you’re once again good and work hard,
your national team may be successful if there’s a group of people
similar to you. You may make it to a big competition, you may make it to the Olympic Games, you may eventually win
a gold medal at the Olympics. I had the honor of playing
at the Olympics four times and even winning a gold medal once. However, a career in sports
can look completely different. In many cases, it looks
something like this: you start training, you try hard, get into a minor league team,
then a youth team, then a junior team, and then you get injured. And you stop training. On the other hand, at around 35, since your body cannot take the pressure,
unless you play golf or chess, you stop training,
and you can no longer do sports. Simply put, prior to this,
it looked something like this: TV, interviews, people followed you,
you did what you loved, and then one day, you wake up,
and all that is gone. Then you think, “Okay, so, I’ll have plenty of time
to do things I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time.” Then you visit your friends
and do all the things you couldn’t before, and after two months or so,
your body simply yearns sports. Then you join a gym,
start watching matches, maybe get called to coach a junior team. However, that isn’t as interesting as
when you played and had great success. And then you start thinking,
“Okay, what am I going to do now?” Many athletes get lost thinking about it. You probably heard about
a basketball player Lamar Odom, who was found barely alive
a few months ago. They saved him, but his kidneys are no longer functional. Or about Paul Gascoigne,
a well-known soccer player, who’s fighting an alcohol addiction,
who’s on a verge of death on daily basis. Why do they get lost, so to say? Because they think
they can’t do anything else. Because their whole life
until then was sports: breakfast, training, lunch, napping,
training, dinner, sleeping. And they simply
can’t break out of that world. When they find themselves
in an ordinary life, they don’t know what to do next. You may have heard about Momčilo Tapavica,
the first Serbian Olympian from this area. The first Olympics was in 1896,
and Momčilo competed in three disciplines. He came in third in tennis. He competed in wrestling
and weight-lifting, and came in fifth and sixth respectively. However, after that, Momčilo Tapavica
became an architect. Matica Srpska, a building in Novi Sad
that you’ve probably heard of, was designed by Momčilo. He also designed a bank in Cetinje,
the National Bank of Montenegro, and a lot of buildings
on the coast of Croatia. At first, he was good at sports,
and later he became a superb architect. Or for example, Rebecca Romero, who took part in a rowing
competition in Athens in 2004 and won a silver medal, later competed in cycling in 2008
and became an Olympic champion. Throughout history, you all heard
about Leonardo da Vinci, who had different talents
and was a painter, sculptor, and inventor. He’s considered one
of the most intelligent people to have lived on the planet. However, there are many people
who are good at many things. Anthony Hopkins, who was a musician
before becoming an actor and whose waltz was recently performed
in Vienna – and it is a fantastic waltz – was embarrassed
to have his music performed at the time he composed it. I strongly believe that all people
are talented for a number of things, not only one. If you ask me, a great thing in life
is when you discover your talent and achieve your full potential. But there’s a problem. Not everyone is willing to put in
the necessary work, time, and effort in order to develop that talent. At a certain point after ending my career,
I decided to coach junior athletes. And when I asked those kids, “What would you like to be
when you grow up?” they all said they wanted
to become professional athletes. However, I didn’t notice any of them
investing enough time, work, and effort to be able to actually achieve that. Some research show that if you want
to be great at anything, you need to put in
around eight years of focused work, you need to improve on annual basis. And when you do something,
you really need to be fully dedicated. Otherwise, achieving success is unlikely. With a lot of luck, someone
may reach a certain level, but that doesn’t actually last. I think that today’s generations
and education in general are designed in such a way
to prepare you for an academic career or to provide you with certain skills
needed to work in a company. A long time ago, a literate person
was an educated person. Then, if you finished
an elementary school, you were an educated person. Today, even when you graduate
from university, your education doesn’t end there. You continue your education. Your whole life, you improve yourself
in one way or another. Today, almost all the jobs
in the job market are related to some projects
and certain timelines, which not only require
sufficient academic skills but also many other things. Improving yourself and your skills in other fields is needed. A turning point in my life happened when I sustained
an arm injury in 2004. Actually, a blood clot
formed in my right arm, and my arm turned pale and cold. When I went to hospital,
the doctors determined that two arteries supplying blood
to the arm were clogged and that I had to stay
in hospital for treatment. That night, I was told that they
might have to amputate my arm because if the blood
doesn’t flow, gangrene occurs. I was in a room with six other people
at a cardiovascular department in Perugia, and that night, in my head,
my career ended. That was the first time
I really asked myself, “What am I going to do if this happens?” and this was very likely. After this, luckily, I worked a lot,
saw many doctors, did therapy, and one artery unclogged. The other one remained clogged forever. However, the arm was functional. That same year, 2004,
we went to the Olympics and finished fifth through eighth. But since then, I started thinking
about what I could do. As a kid, I dreamed about becoming
an astrophysicist and working for NASA, and I’m sure that if I’d taken that route,
I would’ve been a good astrophysicist. I am also sure that I would’ve been
a good marine biologist because that interested me
after watching the Big Blue. At that time, I read something in a book that moved me and opened my eyes, and that was: if you read
two best books from any field, you’ll know 90% more about that field
than all the people on the planet. If you read three books, you’ll know
98% more than all the people. Today, we have the Internet. You can find many things on the Internet,
both good and not so good, but it’s enough to type in the search bar
whatever interests you, and you get the results so that you can learn a lot
about various topics. Today, knowledge and education
are much more available. Consider what it was like 200 years ago when books were a rarity and when people who could read
and write were a rarity as well. Today, everything is at your fingertips. A few months ago, there was a window draft
in an apartment I’m renting out. Since I didn’t want to hire a contractor,
I decided to fix it myself. I didn’t know how to do it. I typed in the search bar,
“How to fix a window draft?” and I watched three videos that day. I saw how to work with silicone, I saw how to apply
that tape to avoid mess, how to correctly apply the soapy water, and I went to the apartment,
where I was greeted by my tenant. I pulled out all my tools, arranged them, masked off the surface,
and fixed the window, and he looked at me and said,
“Do you do this professionally?” “Well, yes. I’ve done it many times.” But that morning, I heard about it
for the first time and watched three videos. So my message to you
is to use the Internet, use anything you can because in life and career,
you never know what you might need. At first, I was into science,
and I thought my life would go one way. Today, I practice psychology –
after my career, I became a psychologist – and I help young athletes
reach their dreams. I’m a mental sport coach. The greatest happiness doesn’t come from money or material goods. If you ask me, the greatest happiness comes from
helping someone achieve their goals. I see it as food for the soul, and once you discover it,
I think you’ll enjoy it too. It’s important to know that our brain
actually creates a mind trap. You think that things will remain
the way they are now – in my case, I’ll always be 38, or in your case, 18 or maybe 40, and the circumstances
will remain the same. But the circumstances change every day,
and you don’t know what’s ahead. That’s why it’s good to learn
and be prepared for anything because we never know what’s ahead. Well, let me finish
our story about the frog and what that may look like in reality. Our frog heard that an enchantress
lived at the top of a mountain and that she was the only one
who could help him. However, when the frog reached
the foot of the mountain, it looked huge. The frog started to climb up, but after only five meters,
he fell crushing down. Then he started climbing differently. He used his front legs more. The rain started, so he slipped
all the way down again. The frog kept trying, and he reached
the enchantress after some time. On the top of the mountain
stood the enchantress’ house and a well with a note that read, “Drink from this well,
and your problems will be fixed.” The frog jumped in
and turned into a prince. After climbing out of the well, the prince
started going down the mountain. The enchantress opened the door,
looked at him, and said, “Just so you know,
you may turn into a frog again.” Thank you very much. (Applause)

 

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