Why Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners


A FASCINATING study on the psychology of Olympic medalists produced an
unexpected result – that less can sometimes be perceived as more.

Before the research, the psychologists assumed silver medal winners would
be happier than the bronze medalists. Not so.

The bronze medalists, who came in third place, were found to be more
contented than the second-place silver medalists.

Silver medalists were generally more frustrated and felt like losers
because they had missed the gold medal, while the bronze medalists were
simply happy to have received any medal.

Psychologists described it as counterfactual thinking.

Perception is a powerful thing. So many of our actions are determined by
how we perceive things to be, not how they really are. How we perceive is
based on what we think we hear or see. Yet, our perception of happenings,
situations and people can be wrong.


7 thoughts on “Why Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners

  1. Bryan, Part 1.
    A recent quote of yours. “You can be in the position of not knowing whether God exists and not caring. That’s not the same as calling yourself atheist. That requires choice.” Hmm, hmmm.

    A very close friend of mine, and business partner here is an honest and decent fellow, lives a rather atheistic attitude in his thinking. Some several months back, we were chatting, and in questioning him, I discovered that due to his observations and philosophy he turned out to be a Pantheist. He really had no concept of just what that meant, and was quite intrigued. Now, he is quite content to be seen as a Pantheist, but it simply cannot be stated accurately that he has ever made any decision to be or become a Pantheist. He made no CHOICE at any time.

    Now a second close friend like me grew up in a traditional Methodist family, but found that the theistic sort of faith carried no conviction for him. He is a beautiful and naturally spiritual sort of guy, and is really a Deist; but he cant say that he has ever made a CHOICE to be like that. He has had a couple of profound experiences in his life, one at least of which was a powerful NDE and these confirmed for him the spiritual nature of things, but nothing Christian. I don’t think that at any time he tended towards an atheist philosophy.

    Now for me, I grew up as a full believer in the tenets of Christianity, though I was never touched by any sort of Christian revelation or contact with the Christ. Neither have I ever been an atheist. From my late teens I pursued all sorts of lines of study, and I have to admit that it was with the greatest shock or surprise that I eventually found that I was no longer a Christian, -my own faith remained and was powerful enough, but was not to be conceived of as Christian. And this was during my forties I think. It was a natural development, but not in any way a CHOICE.

    However a long time ago, I did have a powerful and beautiful experience that just convinced me for all time that we ‘live on’ after the grave. It was not in the NDE type, nor was it in any sort of Spiritualist context. The joyous and quiet conviction has never faded from my mind. That conviction was not any sort of CHOICE for me. BUT the interpretation and context that I was left with, were readily embraced within the theory and unorthodox faith that was developing in me and not within the milieu of Christianity. I didn’t choose the experience or the conviction, but I did choose to explain it in a particular fashion. No sense of Christ’s presence or the ‘love of God’ came to me through that wonderful moment.

    Rian. (Part 2 coming up)


    • Part 2 Bryan,

      When in a recent blog discussion of yours, we had the testimonies of no less than three including your own good self, describing the amazing experience in the shower, or on a fence (!!!) of the Love of God, it was noticeable that none of you stated that the experience was specifically Christian. You may perhaps correct this impression for me; but on the surface perhaps a couple of you simply associated your epiphany with Christian truths, because Christianity is the predominant faith that is known and recognized in our culture. So presumably you each interpreted it as a Christian thing. (Maybe the atheist lady you told about, didn’t become specifically Christian??? Deism or Pantheism are both rather popular for ex-atheists.) But the conclusion that you reached with this experience brought total conviction and changed your life, but it appears that you simply had no CHOICE.

      A Lutheran friend of mine here in town, told me how, at the (symbolically significant) age of 33 had a most overwhelming spiritual experience, which is called the ‘Oceanic’ experience or as some have described it the ‘Cosmic Consciousness’. He admitted to me that there was nothing at the time which identified it as specifically Christian. But quite naturally he applied it to the Christian tradition since that was all he knew about; and my mate has been a profoundly ‘saved’ or ‘twice born’ Lutheran Christian ever since; and has devoted himself to Christian Evangelism ever since. He had not CHOSEN the experience, nor his course or his Christianity. It was the natural outcome.

      So the moral of my sermon here is that I cant see why you keep stressing (the way that dear old Prophet HUP used to do) that atheists only get to label or describe themselves as atheists when and as they CHOOSE. So, if you will pardon the allegory here – They didn’t actually have any great experience of seeing two or three titles spread across the sky reading THEISM, CHRISTIANITY, or ATHEISM – CHOOSE FOR ALL TIME , and thinking them over, made the fateful decision or CHOICE to pick out atheism for themselves. No! Rather, atheism simply represented an appropriate word or label for the conclusion that they had come to.



    • I was once only nominally Christian, Rian, having no indoctrination, just cultural ties. I said to a minister once, “You wouldn’t even call me a Christian.” He had known me for some time and reassured me that I really was.

      Although I don’t fit the bill for many, I think I could be classed as a ‘Red Letter Christian’, one who follows the supposed words of Jesus. But then again, perhaps not all his words, as some are contradictory! We do know that ‘reported’ is the operative adjective, of course.

      Although I may not be Christian, neither am I Deist nor Pantheist nor any of the faiths of other cultures. Christianity is part of my culture now, and the Man who inspired it could well be all that his worshipers claim. If that is indeed a fact, it stands to reason that the same Spirit that was in him is within other faiths too, albeit that all faiths become somewhat degenerate, even in a relatively short time.


  2. I can remember reading a good book on sports psychology many years ago, it pointed out that in any given event most of the field have no realistic chance of winning.

    Most of the time there are only 3 or 4 competitors who actually can win (sometimes even less).

    Many atheltes who compete have the goal only of beating their own personal time (or effort)


    • Really why ? What if the person who came last only had the goal of making the Olympic final and finishing. Then they’d have to be pretty happy.


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