Being successful in life is a bit like being successful in team sports:
- Experience is your attack (UK) / offence (US). When you know what you’re doing, you can get in the zone and you can strike fast and win.
- Intelligence is your mid-field. Sometimes you’ll encounter situations you’ve never encountered before. You don’t get the benefit of experience. But if you’re smart you can work things out. This is your mid-field, and it can still score a lot of goals.
- Persistence is your defence. Sometimes a situation is so complex or uncertain that no matter how smart you are you won’t be able to figure it out. Trial and error is problem solving’s last line of defence. If you never give up, you will never lose. Persistence is also the only trait out of the three that is fully within your control.
None of the above will guarantee success on their own. Only when the three are combined will you become a force to be reckoned with.
Winning is great. But’s it’s also important to recognise that you simply won’t win every game. Learning how to lose well is an important trait both in team sports and in your personal and professional success. The widely touted ‘growth mindset’ puts more focus on failure than it does success. Failure can provide many great opportunities for reflection, learning, adaptation, and growth. Don’t let your losses get you down – learn to reap their rewards. If you can do this then you can never really fail.