Living Your Life as an Adventure

Deep down in every heart is the desire to be somebody, to do something great.

In the third Grade I had the call, the beckoning, an inner longing to go to the Olympics. To strike out on an adventure. I refused the call out of fear, out of a low self image, out of lack of belief that I could ever be an Olympian. At age 21 I overcame my fears and I accepted the call.

What was the difference? How did I change? What gave me courage? The books I read and the people I consistently associated with.

Refusal of the call would have been devastating. Those who refuse the call can never be heroes. They are destined to live with regret. A life with no peak experiences. A life of quiet desperation.



Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Ruben’s Olympic Photo Album

 motivational speaker Rube Gonzalez

Ruben’s Olympic Photo Album

Journey with Ruben on the Road to the Olympics and Learn the Timeless Principles of Success that will Help You Succeed More in Life


Not being a great athlete, I was always the last kid picked to play sports in P.E., in this picture, I’m warming up the bench of Houston Baptist University Soccer Team 1984. I played about five minutes a game for three years! But I was grateful to be on the team.

No matter what part of the team you are, be grateful that you ARE on the team and always have the attitude that you are willing to do whatever it takes to help the team out. If you have a great attitude and work hard, you will be noticed and new opportunities will appear.

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Seeing tiny Scott Hamilton competing at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics filled me with hope. All of a sudden I knew in my heart that if Scott could make it to the Olympics, so could I.

We all have the seeds of greatness within us. Sometimes it takes seeing someone else achieving greatness to help us believe in our own power.

Three months after seeing Scott Hamilton on TV, I was taking up the sport of luge at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid – 1984.

Don’t wait for the time to be right. Don’t wait to get all your ducks in a row. When you see an opportunity to realize your dream, take swift and bold action!

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Luge training started that summer at the old Lake Placid Bobsled track                 from the half mile point. Hurtling 50 MPH down a concrete track.

All we wore was tennis shoes, shorts, a T-shirt, and a helmet.

If you crashed, you were going straight to the hospital.

That’s the weeding out process in the luge. Coach makes it hard in the beginning because he wants to see who really wants it. By the end of the first year 14 out of the 15 people in my beginners class quit.

How badly you want something will determine what makes you quit. If you want something bad enough, NOTHING will make you quit. As long as you don’t quit you still have a chance…

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If you want something bad enough, the facts don’t count. Here I am, Training for the Olympics, in the closest thing to a luge track we have in Houston, Texas… The local skating rink!

Do the best you can do with the resources you have right now. If you wait until everything is perfect, you will never accomplish much. Done is better than perfect.

The view from the Men’s Start at the Igls Luge Track in Austria sends shivers down lugers backs.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is acting in spite of your fear. Do what you fear and the fear will disappear.

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End of Luge Run Lake Placid 1984. Scared out of my mind, out of control most of the way down, not even wearing proper luge shoes (I’m wearing tennis shoes). But I was taking action and getting closer to the Olympic Dream.

Take action. Bold Action. Jump and the net will appear. If you get into the action habit, every day in every way you’ll be getting better and better, closer and closer to your dreams and goals.

My Coach Gunther Lemmerer. Four time Olympian, three time World Champion, and tough as nails!

 Surround yourself with winners. Make sure your mentor has fruit on the trees. Make sure they have already done what they are teaching you to do. Remember, a “C” student can’t teach you how to become an “A” student and a poor person can’t teach you how to be rich.


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Walking down the Sarajevo Track to learn the best lines that will give us the fastest times.

The will to win is important but not as important as the will to prepare to win.

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Hours of sled work every night…  Every stroke of sandpaper on our steels makes us faster.  And every stroke of Diamond Paste after hours and hours of sanding makes us even faster. We are willing to do whatever it takes to be our best!

Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.

Bad day at the track. Broken foot, broken hand, totaled sled, and an early end to a luge season.

Life is tough. The road to our dreams is a long hard one. So we must do everything we can to become mentally strong so we can quickly rebound from our setbacks.

I had a pity party for three days. Then, because of the success books I had read the personal development tapes I had listened to and the people I associate with, I was able to pick myself up, dust myself off and make a speedy comeback.

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Opening Ceremonies Calgary 1988

You will have many personal victories before you can have a public victory.

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Competing in the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Dreams do come true if you believe and are willing to do the work. 

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Calling home from Europe. While training for the Calgary and Albertville Olympics I had a stretch where I missed seven Christmases with my family in a row!

You will always have to give up some things in order to reach your dream. There is always a price to pay if you want to enjoy the prize.

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Ruben and Pablo Garcia from Spain Preparing to Compete in Albertville 1992.

Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people. Ninety percent of success is a result of those with whom you associate.

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Ruben, Pablo, and Hershel Walker (bobsledder) in Albertville 1992.

When you start achieving your dreams, you’ll start meeting other achievers. When you talk to them you’ll realize that they are just ordinary people with extraordinary dreams.

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At the end of the Albertville 1992 Closing Ceremonies the crowd got to storm the field and dance with the athletes. It was a blast!

Remember to celebrate your victories.

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Ruben and Prince Albert of Monaco (bobsledder) at the men’s luge start house in Igls, Austria.

You never know who’s going to walk into your life… always have your camera ready!

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Doubles luge sled after a crash! All you can still see are four tangled feet. But they came back and were winning races later in the season!

Winners are willing to crash and burn on the way to success. The first two years in the luge I was crashing 4 out of 5 times. Then the third year I finally figured out  how to drive my sled and started crashing only 1 out of 100 times. But by then all the wannabees had quit.

Ninety percent of people quit EVERYTHING – sales, medical school, business, professional speaking, EVERYTHING! If you refuse to quit, constantly try different approaches, and surround yourself with winners, 90% of your competition will quit from under you and you’ll be in the top 10%. Guaranteed!

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Sigulda Track in Latvia with my brother Marcelo.

Involve your family in your dreams.

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Marcelo and I at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics. We made Olympic history by becoming the first brothers to compete against each other in the Olympic Men’s Luge!

Once you reach your dreams, help other people reach their dreams. 

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Carrying Olympic Torch on the way to Salt Lake City.

One peak experience leads to another.

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Opening Ceremonies Salt Lake 2002.

The feeling of pride, joy, and utter happiness was definitely worth the work, sacrifice, blood and tears. Go for your dream. Make your life a masterpiece!

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When the Children of Light sang for us at the Opening Ceremony, the moment was so emotional that there was not a dry eye in the whole stadium.

Going for your dream is a very emotional thing. All along the way you vividly imagine what it’s going to be like what you get there. When you encounter setbacks you feel terrible, but when you finally taste the sweet taste of success, you know that it was all worth it. 

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Men’s Start Salt Lake City.

Finish what you start.

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Ruben 84 MPH Salt Lake City Olympics 2002. Four years of training for four luge runs that take less than a minute each. But you’re an Olympian forever.

Pursue your dream, persevere, and when you realize your dream, no one will be able to ever take it from you. The person you become on the way to your dream is the real prize.

You have a responsibility to pursue your dream because if you don’t go after your dream, you’re depriving the world of the best “you” you can be.

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Torino Winter Olympics 2006.

If I could make my dream come true, so can you! Dream it, Believe it, Work hard, and Achieve it!

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My children Gabriela and Gracen surprise me at the end of my Olympic race in Vancouver (this is by far my favorite picture in 27 years of luging).

Involve your family in your dreams.

Even though I didn’t even take up the sport of luge until I was 21 years old, I was able to become the only person to ever compete in four Winter Olympics EACH in a different decade (1988, 1992, 2002, 2010).

That doesn’t mean I’m good. It only means I’m old.

I don’t believe I’m special. I simply followed some timeless success principles consistently and persistently. You can realize your goals and dreams as well if you follow these principles. Discover them below.

Ruben’s Rules

Ruben’s Beliefs

How to Achieve Your Goals

Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez


A Dream Team will Help You Achieve Your Goals

This is a guest post by my good friend Ces Guerra. Ces and his lovely bride Laura climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with me a couple of years ago. They just got back from a two week trek to the Mt. Everest Base Camp.


Ruben often talks about creating a “Dream Team.”  A team of supporters, confidants, coaches, and mentors that will help you achieve your goals. In May of 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to summit Mt Everest, and a key member of his Dream Team was Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. Without Norgay, Hillary would never have accomplished his goal.   Flash forward 60 years to May of 2013 and I’m proud to announce that my wife, Laura, and I reached Mt Everest Base Camp on May 23rd. For novice trekkers, this was a significant accomplishment to be sure. Hiking at elevation for two weeks for flat-landers is a pretty tough challenge that required us to develop a Dream Team.
The key individual of our Dream Team was Dean Cardinal our lead guide, owner and founder of World Wide Trekking/Human Outreach Project. His expertise in the Nepal and Khumbu Valley Region is second to none. What we did was to rely on his knowledge and experience to help us reach each successive destination along the trail to the Base Camp. In addition to Dean, we had a team of local sherpas to assist us with equipment, meals and daily preparations. One can not accomplish such a goal with out the selfless assistance and commitment from people like that. The challenge is to open your mind to receiving help and support. Set aside your ego and your pride, and to realize that someone just might be a little more experienced or a little smarter about certain things. We certainly did open our minds and set our egos aside to absorb everything Dean and the sherpas were advising us to do.
Back home in Houston, we surrounded ourselves with our team of personal trainers, nutritionists, and supportive friends. It is amazing how important and helpful each individual member of the Dream Team can be, when you have organized and surrounded yourself with those that are enthusiastically behind you achieving your goal.   The old saying that “No man is an island.” has never been more true!  Focus on your goals and your dreams, surround yourself with the people that are interested and committed to your success and you will certainly be “Unstoppable!”
Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez

What Goes Around Comes Around

This is an incredible story about how a man’s dream came true.

One Man’s Journey From Los Angeles to Real Madrid

by Grant Wahl,

Abel Rodríguez is a 41-year-old Mexican-American who waxes floors in Los Angeles for Metro Transportation. Real Madrid’s José Mourinho is one of the world’s most famous managers. On the face of things, the two men have nothing in common. Yet recently they became the central figures in a surreal but true buddy story that took Rodríguez behind the scenes as a member of Real Madrid’s team in the biggest games of world soccer against Barcelona and Manchester United.

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Rappelling with the Houston SWAT Team for Special Olympics


Getting briefed by the Houston SWAT Team

(Nov. 2010)

I was just in Houston where I spoke for the American Orthodontic Society. I was staying at the InterContinental Hotel and on the way out I found out that you could rappel down the 22 floor hotel with the Houston SWAT Team to raise money for Special Olympics.

I didn’t have to think twice. I signed up and scaled down the hotel.

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