Arsenal Football Club were the Champions of the Premier league in English soccer in 2004. In 2005 they did not do as well and were only in third place.
The manager of Arsenal is Arsene Wenger. He is the French coach who brought Arsenal to the top of English football. He found out the hard way how quick people are to write you off even if you recently achieved a huge success. He commented:
“People are always quick to put you in your coffin.”
Arsene admitted that Arsenal had little chance of retaining their title as Champions but they were still third in the league and as such would be able to take part in the European Champion’s league next year.
Arsenal, in fact, reached the quarterfinals of the first great soccer competition in the world -the FA Cup. They were in form.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal football club had not given up. They knew that they had not reached the pinnacle of English football but there were several other smaller mountains they were still busy climbing. They were not yet ready to climb into their coffins.
Too many people, at the first sign of criticism or the first hint of failure, meekly get into their own coffin and die before their time. This can happen at any age.
The great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas told people not to die meekly but to “rage, rage against the dying of the light!”
Quite a few people retire from life when they retire from their job. They potter about and waste their valuable time because they accept the verdict of society that the elderly have little left to offer the community.
Retirement is a chance to try learning some new skills; a chance to grow in character and knowledge. An hour’s study a day can help us achieve new skills and new knowledge. Let’s not give up the ghost too soon! Let’s not get into the coffin before our time.
Soccer managers live on the edge of life. They are always on the knife edge of success or failure. They are sacked when their teams fail to perform.
I enjoy listening to them especially after their teams have lost! Their comments usually have a motivational tip or two in them.
Jose Mourinho won the European soccer champions league with Porto in 2004 and then moved to Chelsea in West London where his team won game after game.
Eventually, he had two poor results and was soon asked if the honeymoon with Chelsea was over. He looked glum after two unaccustomed losses but denied that he was worried. He had retained his confidence and motivation:
“Our mood has changed but not our confidence or motivation. When you lose you don’t smile so much but the confidence is still there”.
He was asked about the Carling Cup final (one of the two main knockout competitions in England) and pointed out that his team had reached the final by a harder road than their rivals in the final – Liverpool. However, he said: “When you arrive in the final you have to forget how you got there and concentrate on the final.”
Jose knows how to focus on what is important. A reporter asked him how long it would be before his injured Dutch star Arjun Robbin could play again. Jose replied in typical fashion.
“I want to be fair with you. I have no idea and to be fair I don’t want to have. I’m just interested in the players I have and the doubtful ones that might come and give you a hand. Robbin is not in either of these groups and I just prefer to forget!”
Jose knows how to concentrate on what he can do and not on what he can’t! He doesn’t want to waste time on sentimental talk about how Arjun is doing!
He claimed to have a relaxed attitude to the nemesis of soccer coaches – the threat of the sack:
“My life is easy. When I am not happy with my club – Goodbye! When my club is not happy with me – Goodbye”
Jose’s confidence is astonishing. In fact he does not need to worry about the sack. A hundred clubs would ask him to be their coach if he was sacked. However I think he could still say ‘Goodbye’ without hesitation even if this was not the case.
Mourinho is a man of decision and not one to wait around for things to happen. He is the type to make things happen his way or he’ll head for the highway.
Alex Ferguson at Manchester United is another great soccer manager who never gives up. In 2005, he was trying to catch up with Chelsea. He looked for any signs of hope: “Chelsea are not playing as well as they were four or five weeks ago. They don’t have the form to fall back on.”
United were ready to pounce if Chelsea slipped up. Sir Alex is a ferocious competitor.
All three of these managers are great leaders and motivators. They maintain their confidence and motivation and put a brave face on things when games go wrong. They never give up and they are decisive proud men who know their value.
They teach us not to get into the coffin before our time; to climb smaller mountains if we fail to climb the tallest; to focus on what we can do something about; to concentrate on what we have available and not on what we haven’t; to move on if we are not happy; to compete ferociously even when we are behind – we can never know when our competitor might slip up!
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