Before Olympian Shaun White took to the slopes in 2010 men's halfpipe, an NBC correspondent asked how he thought his gold medal performance four years ago in Turin would stand up to the competition today. White acknowledged that given how much other snowboarders have worked to raise their games, it might only be good enough to make the finals.
White successfully defended his gold medal in Vancouver, not because he is as good as he was four years ago, but because he's better. Over the last four years, he's been innovating new tricks like the 1260 degree "Double McTwist" spending hours each day flipping and spinning into a pool of foam cushions.
Are you constantly improving in your career, developing new skills and meeting new challenges? Or are you running out the clock, hoping that what got you through the last year will be good enough to get you through the next? If the latter, you might be in for a rude awakening.
In addition to the 15 million people currently unemployed, the labor force is expected to grow by about 1 million a year according to a report from Rutgers University. This vast supply of workers is likely to outpace demand, greatly increasing competition in the job market.
In the Olympics, not every top-level athlete who wants to compete can qualify, and often the difference between making the team and not making it can come down to just hundredths of a second. If you expect to have a job in the next decade, prepare for a lot more competition, and learn from Shaun White that if you're not pushing yourself up, there will be no shortage of folks working hard to push you out.