I’m a man, so I like soccer. Don’t even try to challenge this affirmation, it’s hard wired in my genes. Just like women are born with the natural ability to give birth and nurture their children, men are born with the soccer gene in their DNA. It’s just the way it is.
But I’m not a fan. I’m not tied up to any team, I don’t worship any player, nor do I paint my face in a specific color combination every time there’s an important game going on. I kept my devotion resources for something else, so when it comes to soccer, I just enjoy the game, the competition, the show.
There is one team, though, that stands out for me. It’s F.C. Barcelona, or Barca (pronounced like “barsa”). During the last 5-6 years, Barca became one of the most important teams out there. If not the best on the planet, to say it out loud. I thoroughly enjoy every game they play, and I do my best to squeeze some time in my agenda to see them, as often as I can.
As time went by, I realized that there are a few things in what Barca does, as a well oiled machine, that can benefit other people who want to replicate their insatiable appetite for success. Without further ado, let’s go.
1. Even When You Play Bad, You Win
One of the most surprising things about F.C. Barcelona is that they win even if they play bad. I will try to be fair here and confess that they’re not the only soccer team that does that. Pretty much every top 10 soccer team in the world wins even if it plays bad.
But it’s a very important point and it can be translated as “be way better than what you think your opponent will be”. If you do that, in time, you’ll be able to overcome pretty much any obstacle, even if you have a bad day.
It’s like training to lift 50 kg every day. Now, even if you have a bad day, you will still be able to lift 20 kg. And that 20 kg will keep you in the game. But if you only train to lift 20 kg, that’s your ceiling, you’ll never be able to lift 50 kg.
2. Do Your Own Thing
Sometimes I can watch a soccer game, and even if the teams are wearing identical teeshirts, and the sound is off, I can recognize Barca. Not by the faces of the players, but by their style. They invented something called tiki-taka.
It’s a specific way to pass the ball from one to another, to draw a web of passes in which the other team, eventually, gets lost. It’s their thing. It’s what they are doing best. And nobody else can do it better then them, because they invented it.
Be yourself, everyone else is taken, they say, and they say it for a good reason. It’s what you do differently that can push you forward. Whatever you have that makes you identical with other people, will help you blend in, not stand out.
3. Do, Or Do Not, There Is No Rehearsal
One of the latest players in the team is Cesc Fabregas. After he joined Barcelona, he said the every training is unbelievable. The magical moments they are creating when they’re playing are nothing compared with what happens at the trainings.
And this is one of the most important things about their ability to succeed almost every time: they treat each and every game the same, being it a training or an official game. As a matter of fact, the whole notion of training is obsolete. They just play.
Each and every action counts. Don’t think in term of “rehearsal” and “real thing”. It’s “real thing” all the time. Grow the habit to be better regardless of the context. And yes, I know this was a master Yoda famous quote, slightly modified.
4. Ignite The Spark In Someobody Else
Lionel Messi is arguably the most valuable soccer player on the planet. And it plays for Barcelona, of course. When you hear this, seems like an obvious thing. Best player for the best team.
But it wasn’t like this every time. There was a time when the best player in the world wasn’t Messi. Still, the people in charge at F.C. Barcelona believed in that young guy from Argentina and promoted him.
If you have the opportunity to see the spark in somebody else around you, ignite it. Help them become the best of what they can be. You will both benefit form this.
5. A Team Is Better Than An Individual
Even when Messi doesn’t play, Barca still gets ahead. It’s closely related to point one (they win even if they play bad) but with a different twist. Now it’s about the value of the team over the value of an individual.
No matter how good you are, how much do you know, how many skills do you master, you will always be overpowered by a team, even if the individual value of all the team members is lower than yours.
Don’t even try to fight this evidence. Instead, try to connect and see how you can build your own team. It may be easier than you think.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.