“He’s so lucky” my 9 year old exclaimed while watching a documentary about a British football player who drove a Ferrari and made an insane amount of money each year.
Perhaps he is lucky to some extent in being found among the millions of young players who never got the chance to show their skills and avoided injury at critical times in performance.
We watch our Commonwealth Games athletes doing their best out in their field and we don’t see how much hard work, preparation and training went in to getting them to this prestigious stage. The medal tally climbs and we are excited.
Why is it that we honour the strong, the spectacular and the wealthy in our society but often ignore and avoid the more logical and normal steps that led to their success?
We may have big dreams, which is a good thing, especially in areas of endeavour we are gifted. Few are prepared for the mundane times of building a good foundation for those dreams or are prepared to weather the storms and setbacks along the way. We need time to reflect upon and determine what is of real value and who and what is worthy of the most of our attention and effort and then set our compasses for success.
Many successful people have confided that sometimes persistence alone was the cause of their breakthroughs when inspiration and vision had long disappeared. Also shared is how success is the combination of their preparation and an opportunity and the two ingredients peaked and combined at just the right time and place.
“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation” – Robert Schuller
I find it interesting that young people are often encouraged in such a way that they are told that they can achieve anything they want to and that one person can change the world. I do not agree that one person can change the whole world alone.
I do believe, however, that we can achieve great things that we are built for in talent and ability and one can have a profound effect on their ‘personal worlds’. Our personal worlds I define as our sphere of influence, with all the connections it entails in the community and environment around us. This personal sphere of influence can grow to include a neighbourhood, a city or even a country.
We all have gifts and talents that should be nurtured by those around us to develop our abilities. However, we cannot spend our time just longing to be great in things we are not good at. Ultimately this will leave us leave us as average at that thing at best. When abilities are encouraged and developed, the sky is the limit.
A great example of resilience amplified by the encouragement of people around him is legendary All Black kicker, Dan Carter. Dan kicked footballs continuously as a child and his father bought a piece of ground next door to encourage his son who had broken a few windows in the process. He erected full size rugby posts when his son was only eight years old. Even at that age, Dan was able to clear the full size posts easily.
At 12 years of age, Dan decided he wanted to be an All Black, with his father telling him that he needed to be a‘self-motivated’ individual, and encouraging him to put in the ‘the hard yards’. Few remember the times Dan missed his target. But when he pulled off those un-believable points from seemingly impossible angles, it was the eight year old just doing what he always did, rain and shine.
Dan went on to become the incomparable All Blacks playmaker, Vice Captain and top points scorer. He set a new international point-scoring record during Rugby World Cup 2011 and became the most capped All Blacks first five-eighth in his first Test outing of 2012.
This week as we watch our sporting heroes of all codes and the 2018 Commonwealth games athletes, may it encourage us to be the best that we can be and to put in the preparation and groundwork to make that happen.
Remember that being different is your biggest asset and you don’t have to be like everyone else.
About the Author:
Dave is an Adult Educator, Speaker and Youth leader living in Western Sydney, Australia where he teaches the Electrical Trades at the Western Sydney Institute. He has Diplomas in Business and Training, a Bachelors Degree in Adult Education, Vocational and Workplace Training and a Masters of Education with a major in Career Development. He has lived with Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders since an early age. He is married with 6 children. He is a passionate coach and mentor to young people especially in the vocational guidance and career development areas. Dave is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia and has authored a course on Living with Tourette’s which you can study and purchase online through his website – www.davebrebner.com.