Five Key Lessons from Football
03 Mar 2015
The world of football is characterised by the glitz, the glamour, and emotion bursting adrenalin. The cheer of victory and the agony of defeat are known all too well in this sport. Millions of fans from all over the world watch every football game that is played. While the cheer of the winning fans is music to the winning team it strikes the opposite chord with the losing team, it is simply heartbreaking. The love for football stretches across the globe and many travel around the world to watch their favourite teams with many millions staying glued to their television sets. At any given time there are twenty-two highly skilful athletes demonstrating skill and passion for football. But for all the attention it receives, football could teach us a few lessons that we can use to enrich our own lives. Let us consider a few lessons.
- Change is not to be Feared
Football players and coaches respectively find themselves going through numerous changes throughout their careers. At the opening of every transfer window there is a myriad of transfers going on, money changing hands and players moving from one country to another, from one city to another. While for players it is often their level of skill that makes them such precious commodities, the movement of managers if often a result of one being let go usually due to poor results. The drama Manchester united in the 2012/3 season comes to mind as I recall MR David Moyes having a nightmare experience after such an illustrious career at Everton. For Moyes the ups and downs were quite dramatic, from the huge success he was at Everton, to a major flop and United he finds him rather comfortable at Real Sociedad enjoying a significantly better spell that he had at United. Here’s the key lesson. Change is forever happening, but it is how you respond to change that determines whether you become a person of success or otherwise. David could have given up and retired from football but simply took a step back and went back to the drawing board and crafted yet another move to revive his career. Football players and their managers are always conquering a new mountain. It is not secret that in life change is always happening. Like the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus put it, “Everything changes and nothing stands still”. Therefore I recommend that in our day to day lives we face change with confidence and positive interest, seek to work with change and not against it for life simply involves change and as you grow and prosper you will have to go through many changes. Learn from the footballers and embrace change.
- Failure is never fatal
Every game that is played results in either a win or a loss, that is, a success or a failure. Every pass of the ball turns out to be either a failed pass or a successful pass. Every shot at goal is either on-target or off-target. Though many successes and failures are experienced in a single game football players have developed their mindsets not to give in after one failure. They keep coming, attacking until they make it. As I am writing this Olivier Giroud has just scored the winning goal for his club Arsenal in a premier league match against Everton and the commentator showers him with praises for managing to put the failures of the past week behind him and to keep playing and getting into the best positions to score. In the previous week Giroud had been substituted after missing many chances in a champions league game but his best quality is that he keeps coming, game after game, and chance after chance. Because of his consistency and persistence the law of averages plays in his favour and often he finds the net in the most spectacular ways. As you work towards the goals you want to achieve, it is often the case that you encounter failure but hey remember the football players. Once you fall, rise back up, once you strike and miss come back and try again. If it doesn’t happen today it doesn’t mean it’s over. Tomorrow is another day. The failure of today is only preparing you for the success of tomorrow. Keep Going
- Play for the team.
Some of the greatest football players have their mark not only by scoring goals but by providing assists. Cesc Fabregas in the current 2014/5 premier league season is one such player. Not many scores for himself but he has established himself as a great provider of the ball to the strikers who then finish off by scoring from a great passing. Defenders protect the backline while strikers possess the firepower that is required upfront. Altogether the team performance is what matters. In fact selfish players do not last very long even if their talent is unquestionable. One part of the team cannot function well without the cooperation of the other. Teams always strive for balance, that is why every striker’s role includes a bit of defending and every defender’s role includes a bit of attack. Every player’s effort is to ensure that at the end of the day the team is successful. They win as a team and lose as a team. Sometimes businesses fail due to poor team management, or not having the right mix of skills. Sometimes it is as a result of some team members being selfish and not playing for the team. It is an important lesson that we get from football. At the end of the day, our efforts should contribute to a bigger vision, the vision of the group, the company, the department or the family.
- Past successes should not cloud future aspirations
Strive for success everyday. To get to the top of the mountain you should be climbing everyday taking steps towards your big goal. If you succeed today that should not be the end of it all. Every win is simply a milestone towards success. I remember Christiano Ronaldo’s words and the 2014 Ballon d’Or ceremony after being asked what his most important goal was. He simply said “To me the most important goal is always the next one.” I found that to be quite profound and it sums up his success mentality as a footballer. If a team wins today it doesn’t dwell on the success. They begin preparing for the next game, for the next milestone to overcome, the next goal to be scored. The same should apply to life situations. Once a student passes their college exams, they should not assume that they have arrived. It is all well to stop for a moment and enjoy the moment’s success but it is more important to begin to think about the next move, it could be the degree they will now pursue(in the case of the student), it could be the next customer to sell to(for the salesmen), the next innovation(for the scientist), or the next profitable deal(for the entrepreneur). I have come across many folk who are so proud of what they have done in the past but I would like to contend that if the end was to come for me let it find me conquering a new mountain, taking on a new challenge, moving from success to success. I challenge to do the same. Do not ever marvel at today’s success so long that you forget that tomorrow is another day to be conquered.
- The importance of gratitude
I recall Mesut Ozil, the Arsenal and German midfielder, facing serious criticism after failing to acknowledge fans at the end of a football match when he was playing for Arsenal. One would be tempted to feel sorry for him because at the time he was not having the best of times, the papers were awash with Ozil criticism and sometimes angry comments were uttered by supporters. It is however widely known that professional football clubs require their players to salute their fans after every match whether they had a good game or a bad game. These are people who pay money to watch their favourite clubs and the clubs would not be so successful if they had no supporters. The key lesson here is that with every challenge you face or success you achieve. On either side success there is always something to be grateful about. It is important to always remember to be grateful even though the chips are down, there are those who still cheer for you and stay on your side believing in you and wishing change of fortunes for you. For these and many more take some to acknowledge them and show your gratitude. Alfred Whithead sums up our gratitude lesson with the famous saying ”No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude” And so there we are. The next time you are watching a football match or any sport for that matter, stop for a moment and pay attention to what key lesson such recreational activities can teach you in your own life. If you like this article please share it with your friends.