Learning From The Battles We Lose

As Albert Camus once said “After many years in which the world has afforded me many experiences, what I know most surely in the long run about morality and obligations, I owe to football.” This is such a great quote, one of my  favourites. Soccer coaches often have the ability to use soccer coaching as a way to help young players understand many important aspects of life such as teamwork, the importance of sticking to your role, the need to watch out for each other, the need to support those who are struggling or slipped up, and the need to direct, or ask for help.

A game of soccer has so many moving parts, so many possibilities, tactics, angles, challenges, opponents, and a whole ton of trust in those around you. There is so much that happens outside of the plan and so many outside possibilities that are not just obstacles, but are actively working against you that we can learn a great deal about adaptability and being goal-focused from the beautiful game.

Sometimes life throws these challenges at us and we have choices on how we respond. However, there are times when we are able to see an opportunity open up and we take it, like this (OK, this is a gratuitous video of Messi, just because it is amazing):

…but sometimes, in the greater scheme of things, we are more on par with Celtic than Messi, and we have to go back to the beginning and start again to achieve our goals. Sometimes we have to accept that we can lose battles in order to win wars. Why? Because if we are able to take a knock back for what it is, an opportunity, we can learn from it. However, if we are unable to see past our plan we can find ourselves unable to adapt our process, and we will only experience disappointment. It is those with resilience and adaptability who will win the day.

So if life seems to be handing you challenges right now, take some time to think about the things you can learn and the new directions you can take. Sometimes pushing against the obstruction can work, but often we are better served by finding a route around it. If there is no way forward maybe we can reevaluate what we want to achieve and rethink the direction we are taking, and we may even need to take a few steps backwards. We don’t have to change the goal, just adapt the plan and start again from a new starting point.

Here are the three takeaways for today:

1 – Know your skills and abilities – sometimes we’re Celtic and sometimes we’re Messi. Our ability to achieve our goal is a critical factor to consider, and knowing our ability level helps us to determine when to take risks and when to play safe.

2 – Always be looking to learn. No matter what the situation is, there is an opportunity to learn and gain new experiences we can use in the future.

3 – Life comes at us fast and there are many moving parts. Sometimes we can’t factor everything in and things go wrong. As long as we are aware things may go wrong, we won’t get rattled when we have to change our path a little. Stay flexible and open to reevaluation.

Above all else, support other people.

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