Question: Are love of sport and natural talent enough to win, or must an athlete develop a 'killer instinct'?

Sri Chinmoy: Natural talent and love of sport do help us considerably, but they are not enough. We need special Grace from God to be successful. Otherwise, many times various forces come and stand in our way, preventing us from being successful. So God’s Grace is of paramount importance. God’s Grace is like an unseen Hand, but when we get the result, it becomes seen and visible.

Carl Lewis is an example. He has unparalleled talent, talent in infinite measure. His love for his sport is also absolutely genuine. But what happened? Before the Olympics in 1992, some illness or some force attacked him and he did not do well at the Olympic trials. Outwardly we have no idea why he could not qualify in some of his events at the trials. On the one hand, we can say that it was because in this particular case God’s Grace did not come. But, on the other hand, who knows? It is true that God’s Grace always helps us considerably, but in some cases the help that we get may not please us in our own way. Who knows what kind of lesson God wanted to give Carl Lewis in the Olympic trials? We can say that God’s Grace is absolutely necessary for us to be successful, but our way of success may not be God’s Way of success.

We have to abide by God’s Decision in our success and failure. We are so happy and proud that Carl Lewis took his failure in a very divine way. Many great athletes do not take the right attitude when circumstances do not favour them, but Carl Lewis accepted his defeat in a very spiritual way.

So along with our natural talent and love of sport, we also have to invoke God’s Grace through regular prayer and meditation. Only then can we succeed, not only in athletics but also in our inner life of aspiration and outer life of dedication.