Learning from failure, mindset and find a greater purpose.

“It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Randy Pausch

 Sports is back. The battle for the remote control is back. And what a record-breaking two weeks we’ve had. 

The excitement from millions of fans at home and on location revelling to have our favourite pass time back is palpable. Sport is probably the only universal language of peace and unity. Or so we would like to believe. There was a welcoming respite from news on politics, wars and natural disasters. Bring on the greatest of all time (GOAT) debates that permeate all athletic disciplines.

    On the “most sacred” tennis courts of Wimbledon, Novac Djokovic sent statistics tumbling with a record equally 20th grand slam title. Novac had this to say during his semi-final post-match interview:

    “I am trying to take out the maximum of my [own] abilities every single match and see what happens. Giving up is never an option.”

    In football (soccer), Lionel Messi lifted his first and probably the only major silverware with his beloved Argentina – the Copa America (South America) Championship. The English football team reached the final of a major competition after a 55 years hiatus, although they lost out to Italy on penalties. They broke this deadlock with the second-youngest (25.27 years) team in the tournament of 24 teams.

    Sadly, the revolting subject of racism reared its ugly head yet again with a flurry of racial abuse directed at the three young black players who missed their spot-kicks. The abuse is disappointing, sickening, and disgusting. If I were writing this piece in public view, I would have done so in the players’ stance before kick-off – on one knee.

Having helped England to the final in their tender teenage years makes them champions in my book – hands down, heads up high.

    And Rashford showed maturity beyond his years and a mindset of a champion when he said:

“I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from. I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands.”

    That is what sets you apart, your mindset. A champion knows losing is not failure, and winning alone does not make you are champion.

    “It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Randy Pausch

    While the racists and cyberbullies are trying to taint the three cubs who stepped up to be the real three lions of the English football team, I salute another true champion who happens to be black.

    Can South Africa’s Nicholas Dlamini please stand up!

    Dlamini made history by becoming the first black (South) African to participate in the world cup of cycling, the Tour de France. Unfortunately, he failed to make the cut-off time on stage 9 of the 21 stages tour. He suffered a terrible crash 199KM into the race and had to complete the remaining 25KM of climbing under pouring rain. He finished the 144KM ride 85 minutes after the winner. Dlamini was one of 10 riders eliminated on the day. Most of them gave up along the way, opting to hitch a lift to the finish line. But not, Nicholas. He chose to ride his bike to the end. An effort Sport24 called “heroic.”

Dlamini missed out on the special occasion of riding the final stage of the tour on Nelson Mandela Day, but his remarks about his heroic ride summed up the seven philosophies of a champion.

Seven philosophies of a champion.

1. Finish what you start.

2. Don’t take the easy way out

“It would’ve been easier to get in the car for the final 25km with the heater on but I wanted to respect the sport and my team and honour my dream of trying to finish the race even though I was an hour and a half over the time limit.”

3. Be positive and learn from your experience

“I enjoyed the other stages; it was a good experience. I’ve learnt quite a lot, and I am excited to come back and finish the job.”

4. Follow your dream to inspire others

5. Be grateful

“It’s been an incredible two weeks. I’m really happy to be granted the opportunity, and I hope it doesn’t stop here. I hope to encourage and inspire a lot of youngsters back home and in Africa.”

6. Never Give Up

“I always wanted to become a role model and lead by a good example. They can see that giving up is not [really] an option; you have to keep going and that there are many opportunities.”

7. Find a greater purpose in whatever you do

“If you ride your bike for a greater purpose, you find motivation in what you are doing.”

To leave a positive, lasting legacy, you need to have the mindset of a champion. 

“Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude. Don’t complain; just work harder. Never give up.” – Randy Pausch

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