The World Cup in Brazil commenced last week Friday (12th June) and will run through to Sunday (13th July). It has been a terrific time of football thus far with teams upsetting some big teams (sorry Spain and Portugal fans..lol) while surprises are springing up everywhere. While watching some of the matches, I discovered these life lessons that football teach us.
1. Everyone is chasing one thing: I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine about football. She obviously knew my love for the game but what puzzled her was the fact that 22 grown up men would be chasing after one ball. According to her, the ball was the real star not the players. In her words “if 22 men are chasing a fine girl like me, please whose the star; me or them?”. In football everyone is after one thing; victory so they chase after one thing; the ball. In life everyone is after one thing; success so they chase after one thing; their dreams. If you don’t have the ball, you can’t score in football. In life, if you don’t have dreams then you can’t succeed. No one in his right mind wants to be a failure, no one wants to be poor, no one wants to be disrespected. What are your dreams and what are you doing to make them a reality.
2. Be a team player: If you know a little about European club football then you would know that Real Madrid won the Champions League in May this year. During their run to the title, one player stood out from the rest and that was Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored the most goals with 17 goals in 11 matches (the highest goal tally in the competition ever) but who won the cup? Cristiano Ronaldo? No! The whole team.
In life especially in business, we can’t work alone. We need to be embed in a team with people working with different strengths for the good of the team. The team might have a star man but without other men he can’t function properly. Learn to be a team player, its not all about you. Someone has something to teach you. Be open minded and learn.
3. Everyone is a leader: A football team is made up of group of leaders. The coach is the number one leader. He trains the team, disciplines them when he deems fit, chooses the players for each match, determines the tactics deployed in each game etc. Another leader is the captain of the team. He’s the leader on the pitch. He fights for the right of the entire team with the referee and gives out instructions. But for me the most important leader in the team is the player with the ball. When a player is with the ball, he becomes the leader because everything that happens with that ball at his feet is dependent on him. If he shoots the ball over the post, it affects the whole team. If he scores the goal, it affects the whole team. In life, you are your own leader, don’t let anyone control your life, tell you what to do and how to dream. You need advice from people from time to time but don’t live life by their rules but yours. Be a self-leader.
4. Be prepared always: Football is far more than what we see on the pitch during the game. The preparation put in before each game is even more than during the game itself. Before a team comes out to play 90 minutes of football, they have had to endure over 500 minutes of training on the training ground. They endure hours in the gym to build their physique. They endure hours watching previous matches of their opponents. They wake up early to undertake various exercises. So even when a player is called from the bench during a game, he is fit and ready.
How prepared are you in life. If you are faced with an opportunity, are you prepared for it or are you waiting for the opportunity to show itself before you prepare. Have you spent countless hours on the training ground (your room/office/library) preparing your self for the opportunities ahead. According to the Roman Philosopher Seneca “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Be ever ready.
5. Fight for your right: In football, you don’t get the ball from an opponent because you asked for it, neither do you get the ball from an opponent because you deserve it. You get the ball from an opponent because you fought for it. You collected the ball from him, you didn’t plead with him for it, you didn’t cajole him, you didn’t bribe him with a smile. You knew you wanted the ball and you went after it until you got it.
Life works this way. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you desire. You don’t make it because you are beautiful or handsome, you don’t make it because you have the best degrees, you don’t make it even because you are smart. You make it because you are determined to fight for that ball (your dream) and no one is gonna stop you from achieving that. Not the economy, not your family situation, not circumstances. No one I say!
Continuation: 20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 2 of 4)