What does it take? The question is related to Football success however it can be anything in life which requires climbing the ladder of production and achievement. I’ve been asked this question many times, I’ve asked this question myself many times. I often have this discussion with young kids, teenagers and adults. When I ask them what do you think it takes most people will give you a solitary word or a simple verb such as hard work or sacrifice. If you probe the majority will continue onto desire, motivation, passion e.t.c. So most if not all have a very good idea of what it takes! We all know that hard work or “Grit” as authour Angela Duckworth calls it in her book “grit, The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, is an essential element of any type of success. Yet whilst most people know and understand these actions most people will never apply this to the level required and the consistency in actions that correspond to years and years of disappointment, pain, frustration, boredom and hardship that comes hand in hand with success. They may start but once the excitement of the said goal wears out, once the monotonous boredom of repeating the same thing a million times starts to set in most people never follow through. Today more than ever it has become harder for children to reach the heights required. Not because kids have changed, kids are kids they are the same as we were the only thing that has changed is us and the technological advancements that exist today have created a new and unique environment of constant stimulation. Today boredom is a thing of the past. I recently asked one of my 8-year-olds if she gets bored and her reply was whats boredom. With so much stimulation available from so many fronts, it’s not a wonder that many children who cannot concentrate at school are then labelled with ADHD. In Sir Ken Robinsons TED talk he discusses this very point.
All kids are different some are academic some are not and we have a system where children with good academic traits are favoured to those without. The ability to memorise is so much more important for ATAR than the ability to work in unity and solve problems. In our time we were told to keep a journal it would help us reflect and have an appreciation for all things good and bad and that sometimes when one door closes another opens, today for kids nothing is private, if you have a thought you share it online and wait to see how many likes you get!
So apart from the ability to understand what hard work actually means, there is also a mountain of other variables, however by far the most important is the environment that your child is in, I have spoken about this before in my previous blogs that for many individuals environment and circumstance played a big part in one’s success, I was in that category. Firstly the environment that my family created to nurture and love the game and a specific ideology or philosophy of how the game should be played, my culture also contributed to this and secondly circumstances that I was in during a critical time of my development helped me put in the hours the time and effort needed to raise my skills to a level above others.
At a later stage settling down and finding a partner also helped me, she gave me and my children the confidence and support we needed and in many cases the push to get through some difficult times. She was the catalyst in all of our good fortune and many times was vilified for fighting for us, she has sacrificed a lot throughout the last 28 or so years so that we could attain our goals and achieve our dreams. So based on my own perspective and that of the research that I have done it is clear and evident that no one does it alone. A child needs the guidance and support from their family, and for that to happen parents need to understand the odds and they need to know something about the activity or goal that the child is enthusiastic about. Whatever that may be, find ways to increase your exposure to the world of that activity, learn read and study all you can for it is the support mechanism that plays a crucial role, create an environment and the circumstances needed for your child to be encouraged to train hard and consistently. If you don’t have the financial means then you may have to give up your own time to help them get to a good level of skill. Ultimately their success is your success and sacrifice, this is an element of humanity that sets us apart, the ability to sacrifice one’s own needs for the needs of others. A trait that is becoming less and less obvious in today’s world of consumer and profit-driven dystopia.
The other variable is luck. Luck plays a big part but in some ways that luck is also a culmination of creating the opportunities that lead to some lucky circumstances. These are generally moments that a door will open for you and if you hesitate you may not get another chance, the key is to follow your omens, your heart will lead you in the right direction, for when you do something that gives you purpose and joy the universe conspires to help you achieve it.