This year the Olympic’s most decorated athlete will be traveling to Rio to compete for the 5th time. Over the years he has become a role model for determination and success. But despite 22 medals and numerous other accomplishments, Michael Phelps has had his own set of rough times.
Not long after the London summer games in 2012, he declared his retirement. He had become sick of swimming and the negative press surrounding his 2014 DUI scandal. It caused Phelps to became incredibly depressed. At one point his thoughts spiraled so badly that he started contemplating suicide.
Phelps believed the bad press had ruined his reputation and that he was now prone to major mistakes. He couldn’t see how things could get better. It was then that a fellow athlete, Ray Lewis, who has had his own share of personal struggles and legal issues, reached out to Phelps with a lifeline that he clung to for dear life.
Lewis gave Phelps a copy of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. An extremely popular work of literature, that takes readers on a spiritual journey through the five purposes for life on Earth. It has changed many lives over the years, but Phelps says it literally saved his.
“It’s turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself, and there is a purpose for me on this planet … It helped me when I was in a place where I needed the most help.”
It may be hard to imagine how a decorated and well loved athlete could wish to end his own life. But it just goes to show, without deep inner purpose, life can quickly become meaningless.
Watch his redemptive transformation in the video below.
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