Friday, 24 August 2012

'You Don't Win Silver, You Fail to Win Gold' -How Realistic is this Approach?

This was the famous Tagline of Nike which I admired years ago.

Is this a realistic approach to Success, Winning or Life itself?

Individual Sports at the Highest level does demand a high level of Mental Toughness, Psyching up before any major Event, Visualisation techniques and Self affirmations to achieve the Pinnacle of achievement one seeks.

Michael Phelps, who created History at the London Olympics by taking his career haul of Oly Golds to 20 is an example. He has often shared his gruelling Mental preparedness methods for such Events.

However, Life is a different ball game altogether. Even within the realm of Sports, Team Sports is an example.
For the best part of the late 1990's to 2007 Sachin Tendulkar was the undisputed Champion Batsman of the Cricketing World. However in that Era the Indian team rarely came up with stunning results because of lack of quality support from his team mates. Our weak bowling attack was an obvious hindrance, besides until the flourishing of the Dravids and Laxmans on the batting front, he was a often a lone warrior in difficult batting conditions overseas.

As the legendary Imran Khan says, it is Bowlers who win Matches, not batsmen, especially in Test Matches (the real stuff). Critics even made unfair digs at Sachin 'He's not a Match Winner'. As an avid follower of the game I know this to be ludicrous! Another fan of Sachin, the all time great Sir Viv Richards rubbishes such claims:
'Cricket is a Team game played by 11 players. What are the other players in the team for?'

He happened to represent arguably the best side in history (the Windies of the 70's and 80's). The dictum of his team then was if the batsmen did not put runs on board, the bowlers stepped in: a relentless juggernaut of ELEVEN World Champion players!

So how can an Individual player's performance decide outcomes games after games? I picked Sachin as example because a man who is considered the best ever to played the game has been part of a less than great side for a major part of his career.

Outside Sport, let's look at something radically different:
Let's say, a Farmer.
Now, how on Earth can he set himself a Goal that he's going to reap a record harvest this season. In India, for example, he would be at the mercy of many elements: the Monsoons primarily: droughts at times or inundation by floods at other.

The point is, except for certain controlled environments, results of most activities such as Business, Profession or the Arts are dependent on so many uncontrollable variables.
If that is the case how can be the result be anything but Variable?

I'm not a pessimist or a fatalist at all, just pragmatic.
A more realistic approach to Life, Success, Goals is to definitely aim high but with a modification in expectations:

If your Satisfaction or Joy hinges only on results, in my opinion it is a recipe for disaster.

Haven't we seen enough of the aftermath otherwise? Lifestyle illnesses, premature Deaths, Mental disorders, Relationship breakdowns, to name a few...The pressure on Students in India to do well in their Exams (Parental as well as self-imposed) has often had tragic consequences: Suicides are commonplace.

Enjoying the Process, Strong belief in your abilities, excelling because you enjoy it..that's the Path to a Stress-Free Life.
Coming back to my favourite Sport, Cricket, which by the way has many lessons for Life, I quote another Legend, my Icon, Aussie Steve Waugh.

He was responding to the barrage of questions at the Press Conference after England stunned his Team in a historic Ashes Series win. No doubt it had hurt his pride no end, because as subsequent results showed, it signalled an end of an era of record dominance of World Cricket.

I can almost visualise him chewing gum while replying nonchalantly,

'Nobody died, this wasn't war'
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