Thursday, January 31, 2013

How To Win A Tournament

'Success', it has been said, requires two things-skill and luck. And, according to that view, in order to be highly successful, all you need is a bit more skill and a lot more luck. This view neglects to take into account an essential ingredient - HUNGER.

Suppose, for example, you'd like to win a major event, say the Australian Open tennis title. One of the must-have qualities is 'hunger', and, as you would expect, some players are hungrier than others. Take, for example, one of the recognised best of them all, Roger Federer. Based on his performance at the recent Open, Federer seems to have lost the hunger that once propelled him to years of being ranked the World's Number One player. He's now taking 5-sets to either beat or be beaten by opponents he once would have, as they say, 'had for breakfast'. I guess, after more than $75 million in prize money alone, staying hungry is tough-going. Skill plays its part, so too does luck; but without hunger, an abundance of skill and luck will account for very little.

Few would doubt that Tiger Woods has an abundance of the necessary skills and has been blessed with loads of luck. His many fans are waiting for the return of hunger to his diet.

One day in Gaborone (Botswana's capital), a sociologist was interviewing one of the famed Bushmen of the Kalahari. The sociologist asked the Bushman, 'What makes a hunter? Is it the skills you have developed? Is it the skills passed-down from your father? Is it good luck? Or what?' The Bushman replied, 'Hunger makes a hunter'.

There's a lesson here for living a longer, better life. We've known for thousands of years that living longer without a similar increase in life-quality is a waste of time. We also know that quality requires remaining hungry, and hunger is helped by making sure you always have something to look forward to-some reason to get out of bed and get moving each day.

Something to look forward to need not be a major, life-changing event. It could be a holiday, a family outing, cleaning-up after the flood, or whatever. All that the event needs is to have meaning for you: what gets the hunger-juices going for one person might mean nothing to another. More than 10 years ago, The Berlin Aging Study' identified the one universal characteristic of people who lived to be 100 was that they had projects-some reason to get up the next day.

Beware, however, labelling 'hunger' as 'motivation', 'goal-setting', or whatever. The important message is that we must use all available resources to remain hungry. Some people decide that retiring retirement helps to maintain their hunger, others resolve to stop acting their age, and so on. Whatever the interest and endeavour, hunger prevents the onset of rust, so we need to do whatever is required to remain hungry.

As the Bushman told us, 'Hunger makes a hunter'. Even Yogi Berra's 'Baseball is 90% mental-the other half is physical' could be adapted to fit this message. Or, perhaps you prefer Vince Lombardi's, 'Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who thinks he can'.

No comments:

Post a Comment