‘I fear not a man who has practised how to throw a thousand kicks, i fear he who has practised one kick a thousand times’
~Bruce Lee ~
In the quest to quench my thirst for the knowledge behind the success of the world’s finest sportsmen & women, i went out on a research mission, listening to both die-hard fans of various world champions and also reading extensively on any material that i could find about the game. Whether football, golf, athletics or any other kind of sport, any written script i could get, i could read.
I was anxious to know, how one could break records and maintain such best position for more than two or three years consecutively, I was also concerned about knowing how one would hold their heads high in this competitive games and still emerge at the top.
To my ultimate surprise, there was no such great secret to their winning ability. Vinci Lombardi once said, ‘ to be a winner you must have the heart of winning, you must work hard, you must prepare and you must endure’. I had read of this before and thought it was too shallow to define a winner but the truth dawned on me when indeed upon such thick research, all answers i got were still summed up in the same old Vinci’s statement. Although all the people i met and the books i read talked about different sports & games, all what these participants had in mind was to emerge victorious in whatever they did.
From their different stories i was able to draw some great but common lessons about life which i would like to share with you:
1. Never give up
Mohammed Ali, the living world-boxing champion who once staged the famous, ‘The Rumble in the jungle’ in which he beat his opponent with great margin said, ‘I hated every minute of training but i said,don’t quit.Suffer now & live the rest of your life as a champion’. I know in our life there are moments when we feel like letting go, times when we want to throw in the towel but like any other contestant you need to understand that this world is our stage-our battlefield in which those who give-up too soon can never match up. The world we are in only recognises the tough competitors-those who can climb up the ladder & get that which they set out for. Once you put on an enduring spirit & have that winning mentallity in your game plan on your mission to success then there is no mountain you can’t climb nor a lane that you can’t run through to the end. ‘Keep on keeping on & if your going through hell, keep on going, never give in‘, Winston Churchill
2. Your attitude
Those of us who were born in the late 80s or early 90s would resonate with me that whenever you went to a barbershop and luckily your hairdresser happened to cut-down all your hair & left your head bald, your peers would tell you umenyolewa Jordan (Meaning you cut all your hair). But did you know that such hair-style was spotted by one basketball legend Michael Jordan before it became a moniker for any bald-shaved guy? Anyway, i wasn’t into the name or the hairstyle of this basketball champion who netted many balls than any other during his time but the character in which he attributed.
Michael Jordan was quoted in New York sports magazine some years back and this is what he had to say, ‘ My attitude is that, if you push me towards something you think is a weakness, then i will turn the perceived weakness into a strength’. What an attitude? I must ask. From him i am able to learn of a man who had mastered his weaknesses and instead of dwelling in lamentations for the same, he had rose above them by ensuring that he could turn them into strengths. No opponent could use his weakness against him. It is therefore my call that as you manoeuver through life, learn to master your weaknesses and learn how to turn them into your strength.
3. Believe in yourself
The undisputed boxing champion of our current time, Floyd Mayweather, who prides himself for having won the toughest matches ,the latest being,’ The fight of the century’, as it was branded by reporters and journalists accross the world in which he went against an equally competitive opponent Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather emerged victorious thou by a unanimous decision of the judges, i remember before the match while being interviewed he said, ‘ I want to be able to seperate the avarage from the good & from the great. I want to seperate the ordinary from the extra-ordinary’. This was a great show of confidence, a believe in one’s ability. It tells us that in whatever course we choose to undertake we must always believe we can. We should always believe in ourselves, for of we don’t, no one else will.
4. Staying focussed
Ezekiel Kemboi,the steeplechase world record holder also put forth some insights about his secret of winning and he said,’ My ultimate goal is to break records’. With such spirit he has proved to sustain his record & this is matched up by his focus and his discipline through training.
I had read quite alot about many others of whom i would have liked to share their personal input but what i can authoritatively share with you and which is chiefly important is that, all this sportsmen & women who have been there and have continued to break their own record and that of others,from Usain Bolt, Messi to Serena Williams & others, their story touches on different spheres of sport but their winning ability is singled out in one thing-The Game Plan. They all have a particular game plan. Each one of them goes out in the field with their own plan and they execute it with all their strength hence we celebrate them.
In general, every person in this world has an area in which they play. In our day to day life we have different endavours to accomplish and destinies to fulfill…And just like all other champions mentioned, we need to identify our strengths & weaknesses, we need to identify that which we are passionate about or talented on and develop our own ‘game’ plan based on it. It is good to note that as an arrow is able to aim at a certain direction and hit a well-calculated target, a person without clear plans cannot achieve his/her goals. Be wise, develop a success-game plan.